Google is in the midst of “reinventing Motorola [Mobility]” – a company it recently finished acquiring – according to a report in the New York Times. An estimated 4,000 jobs will be cut (approximately 20% of the staff) in order to help Motorola return to profitability. The smartphone manufacturer used to be a major player in the industry, but Apple and Samsung have rapidly ate away at its market share and, therefore, profits. Nokia, RIM, and others, of course, are in the same boat.
In addition to the job cuts – one third of which will be in the US – Google plans to shut down one third of Motorola’s 94 offices located around the world and concentrate on Research & Development in three cities: Chicago, Sunnyvale, and Beijing. Google plans to focus Motorola’s efforts on a just a few high quality handsets with long battery life and other “cool” features. This is in sharp contrast to the 27 devices Motorola released last year and it follows a similar move by HTC a few months ago. Even Motorola’s ads are being reimagined with a more emotional, historic, and somewhat nostalgic approach.
With a parent company like Google, Motorola doesn’t have to be too worried about its financial future at the moment. But everyone involved no doubt hopes to return Motorola to its former glory – without upsetting Google’s other Android OEMs, of course.
[The New York Times via Pocketables]
It’s down now—to no one’s surprise, since there was never an official announcement that we know of—but yesterday Motorola released a full product page on the Motorola Atrix HD. The Atrix HD is the latest in the Atrix line, following the Atrix 2 and the Atrix 4G. It is a 4.5-inch phone that is apparently set to be released on AT&T’s LTE network in the near future.
The Atrix line has historically been something of a performance line, and this one isn’t bad either. Processing is handled by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, tucked behind a 4.5-inch HD LCD display with ColorBoost. Strangely for Android ICS, on-screen navigation keys are featured, along with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, an 8MP rear camera, and a 1.3MP front camera. The battery is an average 1780mAh, and an external microSD slot is provided.
Styling for the Atrix HD—part number MB886—borrows heavily, darn near exclusively, from the RAZR. Side and back profiles are uncannily similar, aided by a Kevlar backing and 8.4mm of thickness. The Atrix HD is staying true to its roots feature-wise. With Smart Actions, “Government-grade encryption,” and Motorola’s Webtop accessories, the Atrix HD looks to be Motorola’s latest offer for business types.
With the page pulled down and still no official announcement, pricing and release date are anybody’s guess. But since Motorola’s marketing is clearly ready—and somewhat over-eager—I think it safe to assume that we will be seeing this phone sooner than later.
[The Verge | Droid Life]
If you have a Motorola DROID RAZR or a Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX, prepare to receive an update to Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich.” Verizon has begun sending customers with these devices a text message alerting them to the impending update and warning them to re-download the Verizon Wireless Mobile IM app once the update process has been completed.
Free Verizon Message: Your phone will soon be upgraded to Android 4.0. At that time we will remove your Verizon Wireless Mobile IM app because it is not supported in Android 4.0. Please download a new instant messaging app to use IM on your phone. Thank you for using Mobile IM!
DROID RAZR and RAZR MAXX owners have had to wait a long time for their Ice Cream Sandwich update. Thankfully, that wait is nearly over. The update was originally rumored to be pushed out to compatible devices on June 12, but that ended up not happening. As usual, if you’ve rooted your smartphone, you’ll be ineligible to receive the update.
Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a deal more than nine months in the making, has finally been approved. The Mountain View-based search giant announced its plans to acquire Motorola’s smartphone and tablet business last August, and just recently promised to keep Android free and open for at least five years in order to secure regulatory approval from China.
Google CEO Larry Page announced the news in a post on The Official Google Blog on Tuesday morning. Page also revealed that Sanja Jha, the CEO of Motorola Mobility, has stepped down, handing over the reins to Dennis Woodside. Until today, Woodside was Google’s President of the Americas region. He was also responsible for building the company’s business in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
As SplatF notes, “Motorola will be Google’s most interesting project yet.” The company is known for its search and advertising business–which paved the way for its popular ad-supported online services–but it is new to hardware. The deal also potentially puts Google at odds with its other Android manufacturers. It will be most interesting to see how things play out.
[The Official Google Blog]
Motorola’s first-quarter numbers are out, and they aren’t exactly pretty. In the initial summary, the word “loss” was used six times. The word “gain” wasn’t used at all. This is not really a large surprise, as Motorola didn’t manage to break into the black for all four quarters last year, and is currently incurring extra costs associated with being purchased by Google.
On the positive side of things, Motorola still has $3.5 billion in cash, and it’s home division—cable boxes, anyone?—did manage to turn a profit, though it’s revenue is down 2% from Q1 2011. Other bright notes include the relative success of the RAZR MAXX, MOTOLUXE, Motorola DEFY MINI, and MOTOACTV, all of which were mentioned by name in the report, as if to remind us that Motorola is still relevant if not yet profitable. A 2% net increase in total revenues from Q1 2011 was posted, and 5.1 million smartphones were shipped, with a total of 8.9 million mobile devices world-wide.
Frankly, considering the drain that the sale is providing—including all the market-affected intangibles—I would say Motorola’s ability to hang in there as well as it has is impressive. Once the merger is approved by China—what the heck is taking so long, anyway?—I think Google has a strong chance of turning things around and continuing Motorola’s competitiveness.
How this will happen, I’m not entirely sure. But considering Motorola’s patents and Motorola and Google’s combined capital, I think something good will come—eventually. That or everything will fall to heck, Google will absorb the patents, and Motorola as we know it will cease to exist. I give it two more years of limbo.
[Motorola via FierceWireless]
The DROID RAZR MAXX is currently among the very best available smartphones. With its 3300mAh battery pumping out enough juice to talk from midnight until almost midnight again, it has the best single-charge life by far. “You’ll drop long before this phone ever does.” Or so says Frank Meng, Corporate VP and President of Motorola Mobility China. And it finally hit China, as the RAZR MAXX XT910.
It’s worth noting that the Chinese version does not have an LTE radio, at least not one that was mentioned. This should give the phone considerably more battery life in the real-world, but as the 21 hour figure given by Motorola is no doubt measured under best-case scenario conditions, the lack of LTE probably won’t mean 36 hours of battery life, unfortunately.
Another conversation that nobody seems to want to have is price. I have scoured the web, and cannot find any mention of price, or of the device itself, save for Motorola’s announcement. Motorola’s Chinese website doesn’t even have a Maxx variant listed. If you’re in China, I’m confident that Motorola isn’t lying to us, and that you will be able to pick on up from a retail outlet. Unfortunately, all I’ve been able to come up with for sure is the name and the date. According to Motorola, the RAZR MAXX XT910 is “available now” as of March 23.
[Motorola via DroidMatters]
Nextel, Éclair, Push To Talk (PTT)—did we time warp to Y2K somehow? No? Good. What we do have is a new Android phone from Motorola that utilizes NII Holdings’—under the Nextel Brand, separate from Sprint—iDEN network in Brazil. The i867 is about as low-end as you can be while still holding the title “smartphone.”
Featuring a 3.1-inch touchscreen, a 3MP camera, and with no mentioned internal storage other than an included 2GB microSD card—the slot is able to handle 32GB though, thank goodness—the specs make me wince. Other touted features include a 3.5mm stereo headset jack, Bluetooth, and a music player. Even though we’re looking at Android 2.1 Éclair, Google Play will still work, so at least you can still download a few games and apps. It may not be the brightest and best here, but it sounds like a potential step up from what is currently available in Brazil.
Pricing is set at $595 USD—$899 in Brazilian Real—and that is off-contract. With a data contract you’re looking at “only” $275 USD—$499 Brazilian Real. This pricing may seem absurd in the States, but consider that in Brazil dumb phones are still going for more than $200 USD each, with a pair of other Android Éclair devices priced at $716 USD. Suddenly $275 and a contract don’t sound too bad. And I cannot tell a lie: having PTT on my ‘Droid would be very nice.
[Motorola via Android Central]
Verizon has given us every last detail about an upcoming DROID Pro update. Every detail except for a release date that is, as per usual with Verizon. This update does not change the OS much—no Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich—instead it focus on fixing several major user complaints that are common to much of Motorola’s DROID lineup.
The new features/fixes that are most important will vary from user to user, but the headliners are:
- Device will no longer automatically power on after it has been powered off.
- Pressing the spacebar key will no longer cause the device to lockup.
- Device will no longer lockup or reset after an Over the Air update.
Having a device lock up on a regular basis or refuse to turn off is pretty darn annoying. Thankfully these issues are becoming a thing of the past. The rest of the list is comparatively mundane, with a security patch for the DigiNotar certificate system, enabling of the Wireless Alerting System, improvements to the backlighting of the physical keyboard, and a fix so that Smart Forwarding will no longer cause forwarded messages to remain in the Outbox.
Also included are updates for V CAST Apps, which is now version 2.00.54, and VZ Navigator, which is now version 18.104.22.1681. As is the case on most all Android phones, you can either wait for an eventual OTA rollout notification to pop up, or you can hit Menu Key > Settings > About phone > System Updates > Download. This update is much lighter than one might think, rolling out at only 19.9MB. Download “should” take about 20 minutes, with another 8 for installation.
[Verizon via TechnologyTell]
Motorola’s website lists the DROID Bionic as starting at $199.99. This is not entirely true. If you are willing to sign a new 2-year contract with Verizon, Costco will give you a DROID Bionic by Motorola for just $59.99. And until this deal ends on April 1, you will also get an extra battery, battery charging dock, a vehicle navigation mount, and a car charger for no extra cost. This is a very reasonable package, especially considering that combination of accessories could easily run you $150 by themselves. If you’re already a Verizon customer who just wants to upgrade, you’re looking at $89.99, which is still a killer deal.
The DROID Bionic was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread. And then it was released, bugs abounded, and in the wake of the DROID RAZR it has been nearly forgotten. Now it seems relegated to the back shelf, which is a shame because the bugs have been fixed and the awesome hardware is still pretty awesome.
The Bionic runs on Verizon’s ever-expanding 4G LTE network with a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a microSD card slot good for 32GB—16GB is pre-installed. The operating system is Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, but it is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgradable. If you want 4G LTE from Verizon, but don’t feel like emptying your wallet for a RAZR MAXX, this is an excellent deal—there’s even free shipping!
[Costco via Android Community]
Verizon today announced a list of its devices that are set to gain Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) “this year.” Unfortunately, the most surprising thing about this list is not the devices that are present, but rather the devices that are absent. Only 14 devices are listed from HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung combined.
- HTC ThunderBolt
- DROID Incredible 2 by HTC
- HTC Rhyme
- HTC Rezound
- Motorola XOOM
- DROID BIONIC
- DROID RAZR
- DROID RAZR MAXX
- DROID 4
- DROID XYBOARD 8.2
- DROID XYBOARD 10.1
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
We do not know if this list is complete and definitive, or whether or not it trumps lists already released by manufacturers such as HTC and Motorola. For example, the DROID 3 and X2 are both on Motorola’s last-released upgrade list, but are conspicuously missing from Verizon’s list. My guess would be that, despite Verizon not saying so, this is the list of devices set to get ICS first, and eventually more will be added. If that is not the case, Verizon will have a horde of seriously unhappy customers.
[Verizon via DroidMatters]