(Updated) Report: Lenovo Mobile to be dissolved and sell all phones under the Motorola branding

by: Matthew BensonNovember 24, 2015

motorola lenovo logo

Update 2 (11/24): Thought Lenovo was done rearranging things? Think again. According to a new report from DigiTimes, Lenovo has announced plans to replace its Vibe line of mid-range and high-end smartphones with its Lemon series. The report states that smartphones under the Motorola brand will target the $200-$800 segment, while the Lemon brand will target the sub-$200 market.
Update 1 (8/26): In the hours since we published the original story, additional information has been revealed about the now confirmed plan Lenovo has to dissolve its mobile division and fold it into Motorola. In a story published by NDTV Gadgets, a Lenovo spokesperson has issued the following comments:

“Effective immediately, Rick Osterloh, formerly president, Motorola, will be the leader of the combined global smartphone business unit, which will be under Motorola legal entities…[Lenovo’s Mobile Business Group] will continue to drive Lenovo’s overall mobile business, but will now rely on Motorola to design, develop and manufacture smartphone products,” the statement added.

In addition, with respect to the ZUK brand, Engadget received the following statement from Lenovo: “No doubt ZUK will keep going (as is) in the future, because (it’s) independent of Lenovo group.”

This would, seemingly, clear up the issue as to what will happen with Lenovo’s spin-off brand, though it does appear as if a final decision has yet to be reached as to what will ultimately occur.

Show Press Release
Quoted from NDTV Gadgets. A Lenovo spokesperson has stated:

With tough markets and results that missed expectations, Lenovo is taking broad, decisive actions to realign businesses, cut costs and return to sustainable, profitable growth. Specifically, Lenovo is restructuring its Mobile Business Group (MBG) to align smartphone development, production and manufacturing and better leverage the complementary strengths of Lenovo and Motorola to quickly drive growth. To create a faster, leaner business model we will leverage our global sales force across Lenovo, and will accelerate the work already well underway to maximize efficiency in our global supply chain.

Lenovo’s new organization eliminates duplication, and positions us to compete as a strong player in the smartphone market. MBG will continue to drive Lenovo’s overall mobile business, but will now rely on Motorola to design, develop and manufacture smartphone products. Effective immediately, Rick Osterloh, formerly president, Motorola, will be the leader of the combined global smartphone business unit, which will be under Motorola legal entities. Osterloh will continue to report to Chen Xudong, senior vice president, and president, MBG.

Original post: When word broke that Lenovo would be purchasing Motorola from its former owner, there was a bit of shock, a bit of awe, and a bit of business-as-usual. It had long been asserted that Google purchased the company largely for its patents and more advanced research projects, and despite the favorable reception to products such as the Moto X, Moto G, and Moto E, the acquisition wasn’t exactly bringing home the bacon.

While Western markets might be largely unaware of Lenovo’s presence in the smartphone industry, it has been an established player for some time. Still, much as how ZTE initially chose to hide its branding on the Axon Phone, so too has Lenovo -arguably- needed a way to make the global market feel comforted and at-ease with its products.

One brand to rule (them both)

The solution now seems to be clear: a report from Xiaomi Times indicates Lenovo will soon dissolve its own smartphone branding, instead leaving everything to Motorola’s doings. Specifically, according to Lenovo Mobile Group President Chen Xudong, Lenovo Mobile will eventually be merged into Motorola. “The new organizational structure will be immediately released,” said the SEO in an interview with Interface News.

The decision was allegedly in planning for about a year, with the main problem having been trying to decide the best way to manage two separate companies that were, essentially, doing the same thing. Most of the management will apparently be comprised of Motorola staff, though Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing will still be calling all the shots.

Due to English-grammar related issues in the source report, it is unclear as to what will happen to the Zuk brand. A dual-branding is mentioned, with the idea that the it will become the company’s “flagship Internet brand” which might indicate it will be sold exclusively in key Asian territories online-only, and the Motorola branding will thus be used for all other devices sold in outside markets.


Even the Nexus 6 made use of Motorola’s signature design language.

Digital Trends has a slightly clearer interpretation, suggesting that “Lenovo’s high-end mobile brand Zuk will also merge into Motorola, even though the Zuk Z1 gained more than two million pre-orders. We expect Zuk will continue to sell devices online even with the change in management, as it competes against Xiaomi and OnePlus in the growing online-only market.”

What would it mean for Motorola?

On paper, this is a great idea. Lenovo has some fantastic looking devices, though as a company it lacks the smartphone brand-awareness that would otherwise help it to be successful in the global market. Motorola in turn, has a very solid product line-up, but has only a sparse three or four offerings to choose from: those looking for anything outside the box have previously needed to resort to other OEMs to meet their demands.

In practice, only time will tell what kind of results occur. If Motorola will indeed be responsible for all development, this could mean some of Lenovo’s more creative products such as the Vibe Shot or dual-selfie Vibe S1 will be the last of their kind. Motorola, as it exists today, has a singular design language going on with its products, and has been using it for the last few years now. (Of course there are off-shoots like the Droid Turbo/Moto Maxx). Will this result in “Lenovo phones” being forced to confirm? Or could it mean that Motorola products will begin to evolve and differentiate?

lenovo vibe shot

The Lenovo Vibe Shot has a very nice design aesthetic going on.

As Digital Trends also makes note of, the Motorola brand has not been as successful in Asia as Lenovo’s, and thus the former will have a sizable task in trying to decide just what to do with the products that have already been established.

There is also the issue of tablets, namely in terms of what Lenovo will opt to do with them. Will Android devices be turned over to Motorola as well? Will they continue to be developed separately by Lenovo? While the former would see the return of Motorola to the tablet world, the latter might result in some device overlap or inconsistencies.

Suffice to say, there are a lot of exciting prospects at hand for this new stage, and we look forward to seeing what potential products are produced.

Somewhat skeptical?

Despite the more concrete nature of this report given it was allegedly based on an interview, it should be noted that we advise our readers to approach the issue with some skepticism: The idea of Lenovo Mobile being folded into Motorola is a big issue. A very big one. Given that all current mentions of this story cite the same original post, Xiaomi Times, we must ask why it is Lenovo itself has not issued an official Press Release to provide the information. There could have been a bad translation somewhere, for example.

Alternatively, this could be a solid fact in China and the issue is simply that an official English-language Press Release or formal announcement has yet to be made. We will update this story in the event there are any further developments or official corporate confirmation.

Moto G 2015 -20

The colorful new Moto G (2015)

At the very least, given Lenovo’s poor Q2 2015 performance results and potential for subsequent layoff announcements at Motorola, a more streamlined approach to its management and handling of the mobile market is definitely a good idea.

Let’s hear it!

What are your thoughts on the potential folding of Lenovo Mobile into the Motorola branding? Have you owned a Lenovo smartphone? Are you worried about what it might mean for Motorola products? Do you still regret Google’s sale? Please feel free to vote in the poll below, and leave us your comments and let us know!

  • flye

    I think is a good decision to close conflicting divisions and merge.

    Motorola is much more well known than Lenovo outside China.

    • mrjayviper

      in Asia, motorola is the unknown.

  • Ruby

    Lenovo should stick to what they are well known for: PCs and Laptops. Motorola is on a roll for three consecutive years with their E, G and X lines. It would be a pity if Lenovo undid that success.

    • aliciacoden

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    • retrospooty

      Lenovo bought that well known PC and Laptop business from IBM. At least in that case they kept it going exactly as IBM did and even improved it, so their history gives us reason to hope for the best.

      • bakakun028

        I beg to differ. Lenovo completely destroyed the Thinkpad series by turning it into a macbook wannabe. I have a feeling they’ll do that with moto as well

        • escrowms

          @bakakun028 Agreed. lenovo laptops are shit.

  • Nikhil

    Lenovo is far better than Motorola, the only benefit will be that the Lenovo mobiles will have better software. But I believe that the sales figures might reduce because their sales strategies are different while Lenovo being better for customers.

    • Markoff

      yeah, I have no problem with Lenovo hardware, they have great deal for their price, now if they would just use AOSP or CM ROM instead of their horrible VibeUI they would do much better, but it’s hard to recommend to someone knowing what pain in the ass is VibeUI

  • yakibo

    To Western media and typical Westerner, they seem to think Lenovo is an unknown brand. Ask somebody here in South East Asia about Motorola, they may tell you “Motorola still exist?? I thought this brand is dead already (i.e Alcatel, Ericssons etc..) Lenovo are top seller here, especially in the budget segment. So many choice and wide price range to choose from. I rather Lenovo maintain it’s brand & absorb the best of Motorola into their phones. (i.e Lately, camera apps in Nexus 6 is very good. So, Lenovo should bring this feature into their Lenovo phones)

    • retrospooty

      “To Western media and typical Westerner, they seem to think Lenovo is an unknown brand. ” – I am not sure where you get that from, Lenovo is HUGE in the USA anyhow. It’s the #1 brand for corporate purchasing of laptops and desktops.

      Anyhow, if Lenovo does to Motorola what they did to the IBM Thinkpad line (they actually raised quality rather than making a quick buck on the good name) I am all in.

      • mrjayviper

        It’s obviously he meant smartphone since we’re talking about Lenova/Motorola.

  • Karly Johnston

    This move is clearly designed for Western penetration, as China’s economy comes crumbling down it is probably a wise move to hedge against the crash. Also with recent scandals hitting the Lenovo PC line, the brand is pretty much mud.

  • Gibbs

    i wish google didn’t sell moto, they’re meant! for each other!
    anyway Motorla is a company for every brand :D
    as long as they don’t change their products its good :P

  • Jayanand Supali

    Lenovo is far better in making good products. Not to mention they have a wide range of cell phones then Motorols only 3 cell phones n 1 smart watch. So what they are planning to or wanting to do is kick away a big portfolio of phones and rebrand few of them to Motorola??? Thats a Bad idea. Here in India Lenovo sell far more then Motorola.

    • Markoff

      maybe they just keep selling cheap phones under ZUK brand and higher end under Motorola, though I still think it would be better to keep them separated even if they will use same software which would be beneficial to Lenovo and hardware/price which would be beneficial to Motorola they are quite different, maybe they want much smaller portfolio because it’s hard to imagine Motorola with 40 different models, I thought Motorola is dead brand same as HTC, nobody buy it anymore except Moto G in US, everywhere else are CN phones better deals

  • Dan McSweeney

    I like the idea in that it may possibly give more money for Motorola to spend on marketing and R&D of new devices, but am a bit worried that:

    It may result in Motorola being forced to adopt the policy of pushing out lots of different barely different models like Samsung, HTC, Sony etc.

    It may result in Motorola being forced to change from their wonderful stock Android + useful addons software experience.

    • retrospooty

      I dont think so. Alot of companies buy well known brands and cheapen it and change things up. Lenovo’s has a history of bucking that trend. Look at the ThinkPad line. Everyone expected they would cheapen it and make a killing off the good name but put out crappy quality. They actually improved the already high quality and are still the #1 corporate laptop around 10 years later. So they at least know how to slide into a good thing and not muck it up. Hopefully they do as they did in the past.

  • Keith Taylor

    Lenovo tablets are pretty horrible though. I still have my Xoom even if I only use it for Pandora

  • Markoff

    does this mean end of horrible VibeUI?

  • The Calm Critic

    It’s an EXCELLENT idea because Lenovo’s from China and they got first hand knowledge from that home turf about what it means to lose focus in the midrange to lower end segments via models’ flooding. Key difference here is that they got the balls to call it like it is for themselves and make this call. Just look at their A and S series you know they got a growing problem there.

    That said though I’m still a bit pissed because now I know K80 4GB model won’t ever get to my country fast enough and even if it will, won’t get the firmware + software updates as scheduled due to this recent development

  • Flip Jumpman

    Keep it stock with some extra goodies… Please!

  • Dante

    I hope they dont ditch their k Series – The k3 note was an amazing device for its price


    “Lenovo has announced plans to replace its Vibe line of mid-range and high-end smartphones with its Lemon series”

    …really? LMFAO

    • I LOL’ed too hahahaha


        Expect a lawsuit from Apple.

        Apple sells lemons that bend like bananas

  • mr215

    Motorola a fantastic brand name with a great record. Lenovo run by smart people and has good product. will be a smart strategy if new relabeled products are good and desirable. overcrowded market and stiff competition will make job difficult. we shall see.

  • John Doe

    Lemon brand? They do know that something that is called a Lemon is Bad right??

    • mrjayviper

      only to Westerners. Maybe they’re selling those phones in Asia/Africa.

  • trwb

    Moto is the next HTC

  • catapult

    Now that is what I call commitment!!!!!

  • Raw Mess

    Vibe ui on lenovo phones are extremely laggy and unpolished , every ui element is cluttered . Vibe x2 having 2gigs of ram hardly performs like having 1gb . There are too many firmware variations and the phones are too ugly . I wish they do not ruin the motorola brand name . Motorola phones have been neae stuck . I was more satisfied with moto g(2013) than the vibe x2 amd a6000+ from lenovo . Hope vibe ui and ugly builds dont plague motorola

  • Jason Wilson

    I’m hoping the Moto G (4th Gen) is just a tad higher end than this year’s model. Start the price at $250 or $279 and give us an AMOLED screen with FullHD. Add wireless charging, USB Type C, and a fingerprint reader and boom….an amazing device for the price. OnePlus X got darn close but omitting LTE bands 12/17 made it dead on arrival.

    Despite what the industry wants us to buy I strongly feel there is a market for 5″ devices, we just want the high end specs to go with the size.

  • C Lo

    Might not want to call it the “Lemon” line. Just like Chevy made the mistake of selling the Nova in Mexico (Nove is no go in Spanish), they may want to reconsider the name Lemon in the US.