Motorola’s “success” is due to lack of competition after LG’s release, not real effort

Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

Let me start off by saying that I was a huge LG fan. And I’m still bitter enough that we won’t see another LG smartphone. The loss of LG left a void not only in my heart, but also in the mobile industry, with Samsung and Apple continuing to bring their perceived duopoly under control. At the same time, smaller ones like Motorola are struggling to recover the crumbs of market share in the United States. go to great lengths to attract consumers.

Each business seems to go about it in different ways, with varying results. OnePlus vying to be the alternative to Samsung’s Galaxy phones, Sony’s content to carve a niche with expensive phones targeting content creators and Motorola focusing its efforts on the budget segment.

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Still, while I respect Motorola’s desire to create a phone for everyone, I can’t help but be disappointed every time the company announces a new smartphone for the US market. Even on Black Friday, when Motorola’s phones are even more affordable than ever, I have a hard time recommending their devices to anyone.

In fact, if you’re looking for some great deals on Black Friday Android phones, you’d better spend a little more money on other guys who seem to be straining their devices.

I say this because it’s hard not to feel like Motorola is doing the bare minimum when it comes to the mobile industry. Motorola showed off its 2021 lineup at a recent launch event for the new Moto G Power (2022), and absolutely none of the devices look interesting from a distance. You can hardly tell that the Motorola Edge (2021) is the most “flagship” device among them.

I recently had the unfortunate pleasure of reviewing the Moto G Pure, and it was purely a boring phone that I struggled to find anything nice to say about. And even with the recently announced Moto G Power (2022), I can’t help but think that this is a downgrade from the 2020 model despite the higher refresh rate. Motorola also missed the opportunity to include 5G, which you are starting to find in more devices at the same price.

Then there’s the horrid update policy, with most of its phones only being promised one major OS upgrade. Even LG, which wasn’t known for its one-off updates, left the mobile industry this year with a promise of three years of updates for its latest smartphones. And of course, we haven’t seen it play out in any way yet, but at least it’s there in writing.

Motorola can’t even commit to putting NFC in its phones, which is ridiculous to the point that even the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has refused to support its phones for mobile ticketing due to “experiences inconsistent with Motorola phones ”. That doesn’t bode well for the company if it wants to be taken seriously as the new # 3 Android OEM in the US – and it doesn’t look like Motorola really cares.

According to Counterpoint Research, while Motorola took advantage of LG’s release to the market, OnePlus took advantage. Much of this is because of its affordable OnePlus Nord N200 5G, which is one of the cheapest 5G smartphones you can buy in the US, and the only one real competition to Motorola. However, with only a handful of models available in the United States, OnePlus is taking a quantity-quality approach to the US market, as opposed to Motorola’s strategy, which has turned into a huge mid-range sludge.

Counterpoint's US Smartphone Market Share ShipmentsSource: Counterpoint research

And then there’s Sony, which mostly sticks to what it knows by targeting the premium market, so it’s not really here to compete with Motorola.

“Sony has refrained from damaging its balance sheet and continues to offer high-end devices, which are more in line with its brand image as a premium ‘quality’ manufacturer,” said senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, Hanish Bhatia.

Sony doesn’t expect to sell much, but because it is focused on its target audience, Sony can ultimately afford to stay under the radar in the smartphone space while iterating and improving on what it does. better.

Nick Sutrich of Android Central recently interviewed Doug Michau, Executive Director of North American Business Development at Motorola, which made it clear that Motorola is only third in the US market. However, this “slow and steady” way of approaching market risks allows companies like TCL to catch up with and exceed it.

The interview highlighted how Motorola is leveraging its long-standing brand to boost sales, a point echoed by Bhatia.

The company’s heritage as a brand of communications devices dates back decades, when American consumers first experienced a wearable device in the 1980s. Motorola has built on its decades of experience in the US market to reach a broader consumer base through distribution partnerships from urban centers to suburban and rural areas. It enjoys a good market share in prepaid channels such as Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile, while also having a strong presence in Target, Walmart and other retail channels.

However, he noted that Motorola’s attempts at the next level with devices like the new Motorola Razr series have failed to stick with consumers in a market that is “heavily biased in favor of Apple and Samsung.” This is due to different demographics and a postpaid presence that Motorola just doesn’t have.

Perhaps that’s why Motorola seems reluctant to put its weight behind a real flagship phone in the US, and why we haven’t seen a follow-up to the Motorola Razr 5G yet. Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) said the company is delaying release until the second half of 2022, which could be attributed to the chip shortage, but also the company trying to “reinvent its foldable design.”

However, Motorola could risk falling into the same trap as LG. Bhatia explained that prior to LG’s release, the company “was constantly trying to redefine the brand and find a bigger share in the premium segment” while delivering passable flagship phones that undermine Samsung’s Galaxy devices and trying also to go its own way with foldables.

It’s time for Motorola to really invest in its phones. All.

This led to some pretty awkward dual-screen attachments, even more awkward hand gestures, and the interesting but ultimately disappointing (and underpowered) LG Wing, which drove R&D and marketing costs up. . This amount of experimentation made it seem like LG was just throwing things at the wall to see what got stuck, which ultimately led to the company’s demise.

We’ve seen from Samsung before that the clamshell design is the one customers love, so there’s no reason Motorola should try to reinvent the wheel, especially if it wants to bank on the Razr moniker. If Motorola plans to release another foldable next year, it needs to refine what it already has, give us some really flagship specs and a price to match or beat the Galaxy Z Flip 3. However, it also needs to deliver a good deal. better value not only its flagship offerings, but also its budget phones, and improve the update policy on all of its smartphones, lest it fall victim to the same criticisms that have hit LG. And for god’s sake, put NFC in your phones.

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