For Motorola, the past twelve months was about consolidation and a year in which Motorola wanted to lay the foundations for a new future. At the Mobile World Congress 2019, we had the opportunity to talk to Antony Barounas, European Head of Motorola. His motto for 2019 is clear: We want to attack!
It's a very ambitious statement by Antony Barounas, but Motorola's General Manager for Europe is hungry and determined. Barounas does not see the new Chinese competition in European such as Xiaomi, OnePlus and co. as a threat. Instead, in 2019 he wants to show major smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei that Motorola is reawakening its old strength.
We want to be disruptive!
The basis of the plan to attack the giants from Korea and China was already laid out last year - or to put it in the words of Barounas: "We did some housekeeping". As part of the spring cleaning, costs were reduced and a great deal was optimized internally. But these measures are not limited to Europe, they were also implemented globally in 2018.
The Motorola G series is the strong foundation
The G series plays an important role in Motorola's current and future direction. With devices like the recently released Moto G7 series, Motorola has laid the foundation on the product side. In this sense, these are the devices that Motorola is using to cover the company's business costs. But the G series, in particular, needs to be continuously improved to meet the needs of ordinary smartphone users.
The Motorola One is designed to turn heads
Last year, Motorola launched the One, a smartphone that did not really fit into the manufacturer's range at the time - both visually and through the use of Android One. But the European boss of Motorola is turning this experiment into a whole Motorola One series instead of a flash in the pan this year. Although Barounas was not yet allowed to reveal any details about the One line of phones, he told us that the devices would attract attention and arouse emotion for the Motorola brand. How exactly the Motorola One models will stand out from the competition, he unfortunately won't tell me yet.
Wrinkle, fold or something else
If you look at the smartphone market, Barounas currently sees a lot of penguins running in waddle that hardly differ from each other anymore. They are often black or white, and to be honest, the look of smartphones hasn't changed much over the years.
Smartphones all look like penguins. They are very similar and are only black or white.
The foldable smartphones now presented by Huawei and Samsung are certainly interesting and would stand out from the otherwise dull penguin colony of smartphones. But do most smartphone users really want to carry around a foldable phablet and use it in everyday life? Are the concepts of the Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold practical in everyday life? Barounas doubts that. But if Motorola were to consider mass-producing a mobile device with a foldable display, Lenovo as a whole would have all the technical means to do so. After all, Tech World 2016, Lenovo's own in-house exhibition, provided the first preview with the Folio.
5G is about antenna design
5G is turning the tech industry upside down and Motorola wants to be at the forefront. Even if one could believe that Motorola left all its patents with the search engine giant when it was taken over by Google, the responsible heads are still sitting in the Motorola headquarters in Chicago. These precious engineers, according to Barounas, ensure that Motorola will be at the forefront of 5G. While some may not be directly involved in its development, they do pass on their knowledge and expertise to the next generation of Motorola engineers.
2019 will be an exciting year for Motorola
The worst years have long since passed and Motorola seems to have finally found its place in the Lenovo Group. Internally, it has repositioned itself and done its homework, so that the losses in Europe will be a thing of the past. Following the recent launch of the new Moto G7 series, the Motorola One will be expanded with additional products in the near future. Even though Barounas didn't say it directly, I think that in the next twelve months there will be a product with the Motorola logo on it, which has a flexible or even foldable display. Anyone who has identified Samsung and Huawei as its two strongest competitors in the smartphone market needs a rival product. Motorola could even revive a legendary product name for it: RAZR.
Hopefully, the actions of Antony Barounas and Motorola will be effective. A traditional brand such as this should definitely be preserved in the smartphone world. With a bit of luck, the brand's charisma in conjunction with its upcoming products will bring the worldwide fanbase and community around Motorola back to its former glory.