Thursday, 29 June 2017 15:36

Motorola wants to radically reshape the Australian smartphone market

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Motorola will cover all bases and price points from pre-paid to flagship with four new smartphone ranges – C, E, G and Z, the last having support for the growing range of Moto Mods.

Sridhar Ramaswamy, director of Marketing Asia Pacific, said it was time for Motorola to capitalise on its past brand strength. “There is a lot of awareness in Australia and elsewhere, a lot of nostalgia, and a lot of brand recognition. We are growing rapidly – 20% quarter-on-quarter. We are the number one challenger brand right now. Our aim is to be number three global player and we will get there.”

The strategy is simple. Lenovo, owners of the brand, will focus its smartphone business on the Motorola brand. It already claims to be now number two in Brazil and India. “To do this we must make Motorola for everyone and we will do it by offering Pure Android, models addressing the whole market, and supply the quality and reliability our brand has been built on,” Ramaswamy added.

Danny Adamopoulos, senior director of Product Operations, said, “Our smartphones are amazing, they let us capture, listen, watch, play and connect in ways we never imagined. We are further redefining the possibilities of smartphone usage with Moto Mods as we believe it’s time to disrupt the market and re-imagine what’s possible.”

The announcements were for:

  • Moto Z2 “Play”  at $699 (Play is the value end of the Z flagship range and its price falls into the mid-market range. The Moto Z 2016 flagship has been reduced from $899 to $764.15 presumably to make way for a Z2 2017)
  • An expanded range of Moto Mods
  • Moto G5 ($299) and G5 Plus ($399)
  • Moto E4 – mass-market at $249
  • Moto C – essentials at $149

Rather than confuse the issue with lots of comparative smartphone specifications, Motorola has tried to cover all bases and each comes with a quality build, Android 7.x, a guaranteed upgrade to 8.x, a 90-day maximum period for security updates, and all Pure Android feature updates. Plus, you get Motorola’s Australian support.

These handsets come with “best of breed” features for the price. For example:

The “C” uses a Mediatek four-core processor, 5” 854 x 480 screen, 1GB/16GB ram/storage, 4G LTE, and a 5/2MP rear/front camera. But at $149 that is somewhat above the specifications of this category.

The E4 also uses a MediaTek four-core processor, 5” 1280 x 720 screen, 2/16GB ram/storage, 4G LTE, 8/5MP rear/front camera.

The G5 (iTWire G5/Plus review here ) uses a Qualcomm 430 eight-core processor, 5” 1920 x 1080 screen, 2/16GB ram/storage, 4G LTE Cat 4, 13/5MP rear/front camera.

The G5 Plus uses a Qualcomm 625, eight-core processor, 3/32GB ram/storage, 4G LTE Cat 6, 12MP/5MP rear/front camera.

The Z2 Play, the value end of the Z2 series that supports Moto Mods, uses a Qualcomm 626 eight core, 4/64GB ram/storage, 5.5” 1920 x 1080 AMOLED screen, 4G LTE Cat 12, and 12MP/5MP dual pixel rear/front camera.

The replacement for the Moto Z 2016 has not been announced but it is likely to have the latest Qualcomm 835, 5.5” QHD AMOLED, 4/64GB ram/storage and the latest class-leading camera.

Why the range?

Because less than 10% of the world buys a flagship phone costing between $800-$1600. Motorola is banking that, when faced with the choice of a lesser known brand or a Motorola at a similar price, they will win in all categories.

Moto Mods – not a flash in the pan

“Australia has had the second highest attachment rate of all APAC countries,” said Adamopoulos. While he could not reveal numbers for each item, he said that users were buying multiple mods – perhaps a power pack extender and speaker. Even the more expensive, a Hasselblad True 10X Zoom camera at $399, was doing well.

“You will see more and more Mods – this week it’s the new turbopower pack for fast battery charge, a style shell with wireless charging and a beefed up JBL SoundBoost speaker ($159). But more importantly, the new Z2 is 15% thinner and 12% lighter and all Mods have a guaranteed three generation forward and backward compatibility to protect your investment,” he said.

Different models will be variously available from Harvey Norman, JB H-Fi, Officeworks, and new outlets including Woolworths, Coles, and Australia Post. All models will also be online for purchase.

Moto Z2

Moto Mods

Moto Mods JBL SoundBoost

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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