Of course, it never lost it, nor abandoned Australia, as Danny Adamopoulos, senior director of Product Operations APAC/India, said in an exclusive interview with iTWire following this morning’s launch of its new Moto Z, Moto Z Play, and MotoMods.
Adamopoulos has been with Moto since 2002. He said, “We were one of the first companies to focus on Android back in 2008. We saw the future and set up a dedicated mobility division that was subsequently acquired by Google in 2010 that enabled us to get closer to Android. We were one of the first to run 'Pure' Android. And Lenovo, the world’s largest PC maker acquired us in 2014 – it is a great owner as it understands hardware.”
But that is all history. Moto today is the beginnings of the Moto brand going forward. And that Moto wants to be a cool, aspirational brand, with a solid heritage. The Moto Z and Z Play and Moto Mods are a great start. iTWire has a pre-release article here that covers most of the ground.
Essentially the concept is that all “Z” phones can use magnetic clip-on backs called Moto Mods that help extend the smartphone past a glass slab. Reviews of the Mods will follow shortly.
- You may need better sound: the JBL SoundBoost will give eight times the volume in stereo for $159.
- Or a real Hasselblad True Zoom (10x optical) camera and Xenon flash for $399.
- Sales people will love the PICO projector for $429.
- Or my favourite is the Incipio offGRID power pack that gives an extra 2200mAh battery. It is available with wireless Qi charging at $139 or without for $119.
Adamopoulos said that the initial release in the US and later Europe had proven the value of the Mods. “Typically you will see a 10-15% attachment rate [purchase of a Mod], but we are seeing amazing take-up. The battery pack is running at 80% take up, the JBL speakers at 50%, the camera at 9% and the projector at 7%. These are incredible statistics and show that people want a phone that can do more than be a glass slab.”
Moto is taking the unusual step of initially having a “retail only” strategy with Z series. “You will find them at Office Works, Good Guys, Harvey Norman and online at Motorola.com. We are convinced that when people to see these items, play with them and talk to people who are trained in how to use the Mods, sales will flow.”
Adamopoulos stressed that the initial Mods were just the beginning of a new ecosystem that would carry forward to next year’s Moto Z phones. “We released the software and hardware development kit — it is an open standard — and will soon be announcing three more third-party Mods. Can’t tell you what just yet but imagine that the Moto is the computer and the Mods extend its usefulness.”
Adamopoulos was upbeat about the challenge to popularise Moto again. “In 2015 we were actually number four by volume in Australia. We can do that again. Our strategy is to have phones from $279 to $999 to cover the market – all with Moto’s street cred and quality.”
The Moto Z Play costs $699, and the Z is $999.
If the Z and Moto Mods are as good as they appear they will be the contender for the best smartphone of 2016.