When Timo Brouwer, MD of Motorola Mobility stepped on stage last night at UTS in Sydney to launch his new Motorola Xoom and Atrix Smartphone, it was not just the people in the room who were hanging out to hear what he had to say. So were a lot of industry players who are trying to launch new Android tablets and Smartphones and fear what Motorola is about to deliver.
For Brouwer, it was a case of kick starting a campaign to try and recreate the glory of a past era, when the Motorola Razr was one of the hottest phones on the block and David Beckham kicked goals for Motorola and not Samsung.
Ironically sitting alongside Brouwer at last night’s function was Andrew Vollard, director of mobility products at Telstra.
It was Vollard who, as the former managing director of mobility productsat Motorola, who was credited with building the Motorola brand in Australia, with live appearances by David Beckham and private concerts by Black Eye Peas and phones that many saw as “cool”.
Now Brouwer and Vollard are an item in what could become a very powerful relationship.
Motorola is on the way the way back and the January the third split earlier this year, which saw Motorola go from being the world’s oldest mobile phone in the world, to being the youngest kid on the block, after Motorola Corporate split their mobile business out, is already producing results which has companies like Apple, HTC and Research In Motion watching them with interest.
The new Motorola Xoom tablet, which was developed in partnership with Google as part of their Honeycomb development program, is already attracting rave reviews.
Credited with being the original 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet that is built upon a dual-core 1GHz processor and incorporating a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution display the device is set to sell in Australia for $840, just $1 more expensive than the iPad 2.
Also set to hit Telstra and JB Hi Fi stores is a brand new Motorola dual core Atrix Smartphone which could cause problems for HTC who recently launched their Incredible S with Optus, and Samsung who are set to launch their new Samsung Galaxy S 2 shortly.
Globally Motorola is in come back mode. They have the brand street cred and the knowledge to be a real threat to not only Apple, who is currently suing Motorola, but a host of other Android phone makers.
The difference between the likes of HTC, and Acer, who have their own Android tablet and the likes of Viewsonic who have been selling a 10 inch competitor to the Xoom for several months now, was evident last night when Motorola revealed an array of integrated accessories including a complete notebook that runs off an attached Atrix dual core processor phone, a unique Bluetooth keypad that works with the Xoom, and a docking station for the Xoom.
Motorola who are still the biggest seller of Bluetooth devices in the world believe that they can generate significant dollars from devices that attach to their tablets and smartphones.
Recently Motorola reported global revenues grew 22 percent to $3 billion in the last quarter with mobile devices accounting for 70 percent of revenue, and while the company posted an operating loss of $89 million, it was down from a year-ago when they reported a $192 million loss. Mobile revenues were up 30 percent as the company rolls out their new Android based devices.
In the last quarter, Motorola shipped 250,000 Xoom tablets, which became available in the USA on Feb. 24 in a similar WiFi+3G version to what is now being sold by Telstra.
In Australia, the company is still struggling to get stock, however this should ease in coming months according to Anthony Petts, the former sales and marketing manager at HTC who joined Motorola earlier this year.
Last night was just the start for a rejuvenated Motorola. In the second half the company is set to launch a slew of new mobile devices including new tablets and more handsets like the Atrix 4G which is tipped to be picked up by Telstra for their LTE network which is due to be launched later this year.
The new dual core Atrix launched last night docks with a laptop-like Lapdock with screen and keyboard to provide big-screen access to the smartphone’s content and to a smartphone-powered web browser.
In tablets, Motorola is set to take it right up to Samsung who is seen as their main threat in the Android market, and Apple with their iPad 2 with the release of “multiple [tablet] form factors” in the second half, which include a possible LTE tablet that will run on the new Telstra LTE network.
One Motorola executive at last night’s launch did confirm that a 7-inch tablet is set to be launched in Australia later this year. He didn’t disclose additional details.
Motorola has also said that they will launch low cost versions of their Atrix phone. Currently the new model is priced at $840 for the premium model.