Motorola has never been the most prolific smartphone maker, but there’s no question that they’ve churned out a lot of hardware over the years, but now that Motorola is flying under Google’s banner, you can expect to see some shifts in the company’s hardware strategy, and it looks like that scattershot approach to making phones is getting the ax.
According to Motorola Corporate VP of product management Lior Ron, the company is going to be trimming down the number of phones it releases so it can better focus on the ones that are really worth it.
“We’ve done a lot of devices before,” Ron told TechCrunch in an interview earlier today. “Now we’re going to do a few — very few. Everyone of those devices is going to really matter for consumers.”
Those are some pretty bold words from the man who headed up the Moto X project, but it isn’t the first time that we’ve seen the company try to embrace a more streamlined product strategy. Sanjay Jha, CEO of a then-unified Motorola, basically said the same thing a year-and-a-half ago, citing the woes “incremental innovation” as the big drivers behind his decision. At the time, it seemed as though Jha’s words struck a chord with at least one other beleaguered Android device manufacturer, as HTC publicly committed itself to producing a smaller number of “hero” devices just a few days after Jha did.
According to CNET, the next of those “very few” devices that Motorola is reportedly working on is a lower-cost device meant to expand Motorola’s position in cost-conscious global markets.
Ron declined to explain just how dramatic this change in focus is going to be for the company, but that’s not to say that Motorola will be without its share of repeat customers. Motorola confirmed to CNET earlier this month that the company is slated to become the sole manufacturer of Verizon’s popular Droid line of Android devices. Previously, companies like HTC and Samsung were allowed to pitch in as well, but it now appears that Motorola will run that show entirely.
Then again, the “more wood behind fewer arrows” approach presents some potential issues, too, and HTC serves as proof. Despite the fact that the HTC One received near-universal critical praise, the company that made it recently reported quarterly profits down a whopping 83 percent from the year before. On the other hand, many have argued that Google’s interest in Motorola was based purely on the value of the company’s patent treasure trove — it’s not hard to look at any revenue that Motorola brings in from hardware sales as icing on that cake. And Google (naturally) seems all for the strategy, despite the potential pitfalls it entails.
“Our mandate from Google, from Larry, is really to innovate and take long-term bets,” Ron said. “When you have that sort of mentality, it’s about quality and not quantity.”