Can Motorola Catch up to Apple, Samsung in Smartphone Space?
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung dominate half the worldwide smartphone market but Motorola (NYSE: MOT) is looking to edge its way in among a number of device makers jockeying for third place. With three new Droid Razr models in hand amid an increasingly crowded field (Sony, Nokia), can the former mobile device kingpin sneak back in there?
Actually, this is a really good example of the possible Android fallout from Apple’s $1.05 billion intellectual property courtroom win over Samsung. Even if Motorola can reclaim long-lost ground, its footing may be temporary if Apple pulverizes Samsung in subsequent legal battles over product bans and then proceeds to line up and pick off one Android vendor after another. What we know as the current state of the smartphone marketplace will become largely unrecognizable. For communications channel partners, an upside down market could make for more than a little confusion among customers. Don’t laugh, it could happen.
That little piece of merriment aside for the moment, Motorola, in its first major product rollout since being acquired by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and subsequently disclosing plans to lay off 4,000 employees showed off three new Droid Razr-branded smartphones — Razr HD, Razr Maxx and Razr M — highlighting the devices’ speed owing to Verizon’s (NYSE: VZ) 4G LTE network, large screens and extended battery life. All three phones, Android 4.0-based but readily upgradeable to 4.1, come equipped with Google’s Chrome web browser and are exclusive to Verizon.
The Droid Razr M sports an edge-to-edge 4.3-inch display and is the only one of the new units for which Motorola announced a price: $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. The vendor said that both in screen size and battery life, the Razr M outshines Apple’s iPhone 4S by some 40 percent. Its initial rollout by the holiday season will be in the United States as Droid Razr M and as Razr M in Asia Pacific.
The Razr HD comes with a 4.7-inch HD display and will be sold in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America, available in the United States before the holidays. And, the Razr Maxx HD has the same features as the Razr HD but with enough battery capacity to handle 13 hours of straight video playback, up to 10 hours of YouTube HD content or eight hours of web browsing. The unit will be offered in the United States sometime before the holidays.
A separate developer’s edition of the Razr M and Razr HD will be available online or directly from Motorola.