Bye Bye Motorola.
Yesterday Motorola announced it was splitting itself up into two separate divisions. This signaled the beginning of the end for Moto. I personally don’t find this surprising at all, in fact I am amazed they lasted so long.
Out of all mobile phones I have ever encountered or owned, Motorola have been the worst. The worst UI on the market, but strangely very well built handsets. This is because Moto based it’s entire future on one single rule: To try to be the ‘thinnest’ handset on the market. This worked four-or-five years ago, as everyone was trying to be the thinnest, and with the RAZR Motorola managed to grab attention as a very nice looking, extremely thin and light handset. But times change, and other manufacturers stepped in with ever thinner and lighter devices (Samsung kicked Moto’s ass with its ‘Ultra’ series of handsets a few years ago), so eventually the rules changed. Software (UI) started becoming the focus of manufacturers, forced in no small part by the ever-growing ‘smartphone’ market share. Most other mobile phone companies started to pickup the pace, adding to an ever-growing list of what is expected of a mobile phone’s UI. But not Moto. Nope. They just decided to carry on milking the basic RAZR design, giving it gaudy new colours, new abbreviations (RIZR, ROKR, PEBL, ETC) and generally pretending that it’s still 2003. The UI for the most part never changed. And it started to suck harder and harder with every ‘new’ model Moto released. Of course, Moto ‘dabbled’ with things like Symbian’s UIQ/S60 OS, and in the far east Moto released some very nice looking Linux-based models (MING) that had potential…but alas Moto’s heart wasn’t in it.
Jump to present-day and the situation looks dire for Moto. They are STILL advertising the RAZR on TV. Tired adverts espousing how ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ the RAZR still is, to an audience that doesn’t care anymore. You get RAZRs inside christmas crackers. It’s hard to give them away. The sad lack of understanding from Moto became apparent to me the other night when I watched TV: Apple’s iPhone advert was on directly after Moto’s RAZR advert. The difference was so clear. Apple is the NOW, and Moto is the THEN. Even the absolutely lame ROKR with it’s hanging-off-Apple’s-apronstrings could not save it. It’s over. Really. They had years to develop something that could compete with other manufacturers, but they pissed it all away with the one-trick pony: RAZR.
Goodbye Moto, and close the door on the way out. You will not be missed by me.