Motorola (Brand) Is Alive And Doing Well

Two years after Lenovo acquired Motorola, it looks like Motorola is doing fine. Or at least that’s what the business unit is trying to say. Today at a meeting with reporters, Motorola president Rick Osterloh said that the Moto brand is not going anywhere. You can expect more Moto G and Moto E in the future, as well as more Lenovo phones. If this sounds confusing, it’s because it is.

“When we started this acquisition, the plan was that within 4 to 6 quarters we’re going to return to profitability,” Osterloh said. And this is exactly what happened for the Motorola division last quarter. “I can’t go into any more details, he added later in the meeting.

So there are now two mobile brands at Lenovo. Motorola is going to continue updating the Moto G, Moto E and Moto X. The Moto G and Moto X are flagship phones at a mid-range price. The Moto E is Moto’s cheap phone.

These phones are going to keep the Moto brand and logo and get new features first. In other words, Moto is now just Lenovo’s brand for “better phones” (except the Moto E).

“Everything is a Lenovo brand, the question now is what sub-brand,” Motorola CMO Adrienne Hayes said when talking about Lenovo’s upcoming Project Tango phone. This phone is going to be a Lenovo phone by the way.

And then, there are the recent Lenovo phones. With the Lenovo Vibe brand, the company is trying to attack the lower end of the market in Asia, emerging markets and more. So far, there’s no plan to release Lenovo phones in the U.S. Osterloh also said there’s no room for mid-range phones in the U.S.

When it comes to tablets, upcoming Lenovo/Motorola tablets are going to be Lenovo-branded. All of these branding issues are still a work in progress and it’s probably going to be easier to understand in the coming months when the company releases new phones.

When it comes to the acquisition, Lenovo already had teams in China working on some key components for smartphone. For instance, Osterloh mentioned image quality for phone cameras. The Motorola team was already working hard on improving smartphone cameras, and they discovered that the team in China was also making progress on this front. Going forward, they’re going to try to combine similar teams.

Similarly, Lenovo has some manufacturing facilities in China. Some Moto devices are now made in these facilities.

And it could go even further given that Lenovo is also one of the biggest laptop manufacturers in the world. “We’re one of the few businesses that have great assets in personal computing and mobile. We’re going to look to combine these assets. It’s been really fun making this business grow,” Osterloh said.

But one thing the Motorola team isn’t going to work on is virtual reality. “Lenovo is doing VR too, we’re working on this too. There are business units within the company working on VR but not Motorola,” Hayes said.