Woodside: more Moto X customization, even cheaper Moto Gs, “stay tuned” for wearables, and Moto Maker tablets under consideration

January 14, 2014

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In an extended interview at CES 2014, Motorola’s CEO Dennis Woodside has mentioned some of Motorola’s plans regarding the near future, including smartphones, wearables and tablets.

More Moto X customization

In 2014, smartphones will continue to be and Motorola’s main focus, because “the bigger opportunity” for the company – that probably means Google – is the 5 billion people that don’t have smartphones, but also the 1 billion people that do. The company is already working on a 2014 line of devices, which is what brought Woodside at CES, where he talked about upcoming devices with partners, and gave an interview to Pocket-lint.

The CEO suggested that the company will further pursue the idea of customization, as “customers aren’t just going to want to adjust the color of the device, but the materials and ultimately the functionality.” The exec hinted that some of Motorola’s 2014 devices will “encompass those desires,” although he did not reveal any details about a future Moto X model.

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The 2013 Moto X has been particularly popular during Motorola’s Cyber Monday sales, when the company dropped the price of the device down to $349 off-contract, and sold tens of thousands of units in less than eight minutes. Following the sales event, the company permanently dropped the price of the handset down to $399. Since launching the device, the company has learned that more than 25% of Moto X buyers choose to customize their device, more than initially believed, with 80% of those aged under 35. Furthermore, the Moto X helped Motorola become the number three premium smartphone maker in North America, Woodside said.

Cheaper Moto Gs?

However, the Moto X isn’t the only interesting handset from Motorola, as the company is selling its affordable, yet very popular Moto G handset in multiple markets. The device is a hit on Amazon in the U.S. and other markets, already runs KitKat and even has a Google Play edition version.

Interestingly though, Woodside isn’t happy with the $179 unlocked price, hinting that while the Moto G is inexpensive in the U.S., it’s expensive “or mid-tier for the rest of the world.” The company clearly wants to deliver even more affordable devices in the future, although no prices have been revealed for future, cheaper Moto G versions.

Woodside also explained that the Moto G was never meant to be a Nexus device, as that’s something Motorola may not be interested in at this time. The Nexuses are meant to deliver software to the market, while “Motorola’s purpose is much broader than what Nexus is trying to do.”

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Interestingly, Woodside also said during the interview that there “are bigger Android issues [than fragmentation] but you need to talk to the Android guys about that,” suggesting that Google’s OS can be further improved, without revealing what the issues are.

“Stay tuned” for wearables

Motorola is also working on some wearable devices, although the company would not commit to anything just yet. Building on its experience with Bluetooth headsets, Motorola would like to make devices that are “more robust and surreptitious earpieces,” Woodside hinted.

The exec was even more mysterious when discussing smartwatches, saying that the company has some ideas about a product, “so I would say stay tuned.” While Woodside wasn’t ready to reveal actual plans related to a Moto smartwatch, he was quick to criticize current smartwatch models that have not been able to find either a particularly interesting design or a “killer functionality that is going to convince people to get” them. He added that “a lot of manufacturers haven’t answered those questions when they’ve released products. When we develop something that we are really excited about, we will put it out there.”

motorola project ara modular smartphone (1)

As for tattoos that have smart features and modular phones, that division is lead by Regina Duncan, and it’s meant to do stuff that’s “completely different.” Duncan is working on an open source modular based phone – likely Project Ara – which will allow users to further customize mobile devices.

Moto Maker tablets under consideration

As for tablets, Woodside acknowledged that customers are interested in customizing such devices using a Moto Maker-like tool, and that’s something the company is currently considering. However, the main priority is smartphones for the company. “You need to focus, or we could go next door and start building refrigerators too,” he said when asked whether customizable Motorola tablets aren’t going to be available soon because of a lack of resources.

Wrap Up

Since Motorola is Google’s mobile arm, we’re certainly interested to see what products Motorola will launch later this year, and as you can see, the company seems to have a busy year ahead.

Do you plan to buy Motorola Android devices this year?

Comments

  • Guest123

    Was looking for the 6.3″ phablet to be announced. . . guess not.

    • Tuấn Ankh

      Why 6.3″? Are you currently a Mega 6.3 owner? :P

      • Guest123

        No, but thinking about it. . . just that the specs suck at the price and custom ROMs aren’t flourishing for it. So, the Nexus 5 and Z Ultra are the two I will probably choose from. Don’t think I can fit the Z Ultra in my pant’s pocket.

        • Tuấn Ankh

          I have the Mega. It’s not too bad. I got it at $435 and I think it was worth it :D
          I thought about getting the Z Ultra too, but I’ve heard the battery of that one is not as good. I got my hands on the device, and the bezels are a little annoying. Its price is good though. You can get the LTE version on ebay for less than $500.

          • Guest123

            The Z Ultra has a few niggles. . . battery is OK, but not great. No flash for camera and pretty weak camera at that. Screen is good for Sony but not as good as other 1080p screens. And yes, the bezels are just too much.

            About $50 more than the Mega and I can get the Z Ultra, or I just use a Nexus 5 till a good 6″ phablet comes around — about the maximum size that will fit in my pocket. If the Oppo N1 didn’t have such massive bezels I would consider it. . . oh well, maybe a Moto G as a hold over, rather have a good phablet — the next gen SoC will be pretty good mid 2014.

          • Tuấn Ankh

            There is already a very good 6″ phablet out there which has great battery, display, and camera. Too bad it’s not Android… :

  • Dragonscourgex

    No plan to buy. Already have the Moto X. :)

  • Lisandro O Oocks

    About “issues with android”.. KitKat is one of them.. It’s so buggy. I’ve been having to reboot my Nexus 4 more often than I did with Jelly Bean to get it working flawlessly. My bug is Bluetooth related and once or twice it was times also WiFi.

    • S.L Jones

      OMFG…I wish I could up your comment 1000x. Kit Kat has destroyed my nexus 4 and damaged my love for Google as a whole a bit. I still won’t switch platforms but come on Google!!! Aside from the issues you mentioned, of which I am dealing with the same, especially Bluetooth, you took away native Tethering inside nexus devices!?!?! WTF!?!? Why help carriers dictate what we do with our data??? And I know, “just root”, most will say, but I liked having a nexus where I didn’t have to root for this function… Honestly, I will probably never buy a nexus phone again unless they bring back tethering

      • iamtravis182

        “Honestly, I will probably never buy a nexus phone again unless they bring back tethering”

        Its too bad they got rid of the tethering functionality, I’m with you. But I am curious as to why you would never buy another nexus phone as a result, when no other phones on the market allow for tethering either?

        • S.L Jones

          Good point… The counter is that the nexus devices are good for what they represent, mostly premium specs at a great price point. The key word is mostly though, the camera in a phone is growing more impt to me as my niece gets older and being with the family in general, nexus cameras are good, but not great, but aside from the other egregious point I made earlier, the battery life of my N4 is horrible, and the N5 doesn’t look like it fares better, this in conjunction with what you said “no other phone allows tethering either” is my point, why not go for a higher premium phone with better cam/battery…only downside is the phone is carrier branded

          • iamtravis182

            I’m a N5 owner, and I can say that I am happy with the battery life, but everyone has different expectations for battery life. But I am almost always disappointed in the camera.

            Rooting was simple for WiFi tethering.

          • S.L Jones

            Was thinking about rooting n4, will be my first time, I’m off contract so if I brick it oh well, probably switch to t mobile and get the Z1s… hate that about the camera… There are no hero phones

          • iamtravis182

            I might be crucified for saying this on an Android site, but oh well.

            I really do wish there was a phone that had all of the hardware of the iPhone 5s (Ex: Build Quality, Camera, Microphone, Speaker), but ran Android. If iOS wasn’t a pOS (see what I did there?), I would probably go iPhone. The software is what keeps me in the Android camp. That being said, someday I hope to have my cake, and eat it too.

          • needa

            i will not be buying another nexus because the internals are too cheap and the engineering behind the design lacks a lot. sure they are spec’d out the wazoo… but there is a lot more to a phone than specs.
            a corvette has a huge engine in it and all, but the interior is absolute crap. just because i can go fast as hell does not mean i will enjoy the ride.

  • Naveen

    Yes, certainly the Moto G.

  • Valtheus

    It feels good to see Motorola trying to re-establish their brand name with future plans. The more quality phone manufacturers out there, the better for us consumers.

  • Luka Mlinar

    -“the Moto X helped Motorola become the number three premium smartphone maker in North America” that’s because no one gives a sh** about NA. It’s an extremely hard market to take. One would need to invest billions in advertizing to take a small peace of the cake. In the meantime Europe is still separated between 5-10 brands. Even more in Asia. Just because in India they buy more Asha phones than anywhere else doesn’t mean no one buys premium. When you consider the population you probably get the same amount of premium phones sold there than anywhere else. Even Apple moved to China. I posted the same comment like this one over 6 months ago. I can’t believe how long it takes him to realize his mistakes.
    -“Stay tuned” for wearables
    Yea we have been tuned since you and Regina anounced it May 29, 2013 at D11. Few days ago you just got beat by LG and Sony.
    They are even late to show a modular phone. I thought Motorola was the only company working on this.
    How slow can you go Dennis?

    • apianist16

      North America has a good chunk of the world’s money, though.

      • Luka Mlinar

        How do you figure that. In europe we pay around 30% more than Americans do for phones. Also the market is huge here. In they US they are taking left overs from Samsung and Apple yet anywhere else in the world they have a chance to raise to the top.

        • apianist16

          The reason you pay more is because of taxes and socialism. And we do not take the leftovers because we (average consumers) have enough money to purchase any phone we please.

          • Luka Mlinar

            And that my friend is why you’re (America) 17,3 trillion in debt :)
            You say socialism like it’s a bad thing. I would give anything if we could be back in communism. We had everything then.

          • apianist16

            Debt ain’t ever a good thing. Our current politicians don’t understand that, because they don’t care, etc. That’s a whole different kettle of fish. Still, the average American citizen has more buying power than any other, and that is why every major brand attempts to get into the U.S. market.

          • Luka Mlinar

            Yea but that’s the thing man. You have all this buying power because you are fiscally irresponsible. Every citisen of the US is some 50K in the hole because of it.

            It’s just a big jenga tower. Sure you can buy what ever you want now, but when the US defaults on it’s debt this will not be the case. I suggest you start putting some cash on the side. Hard times are coming for you guys.

            Greece will look like a child compared.

          • apianist16

            The U.S. isn’t (probably) going to default. They (the politicians) are just currently procrastinating on their irresponsibility. The thing about America is that we “spread the wealth” (neo-socialism), neaning that we tax the rich and give payouts to the poor. This reduces the incentive to work, meaning that more and more people just live parasitically off the government. Paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin “A society can only survive as long as the people don’t vote themselves free money.” When everything comes due, it’s going to be bad, but not Armageddon. Capitalism isn’t the problem, but the way it’s being used. America was made the world superpower because of capitalism (like it or not, it’s the truth). We could pay our debt off in 8 years if the politicians wanted to, basically by ending all the handouts. But that doesn’t keep them in power. They are selling out our country for their own personal gain. So things are going to continue until things reach crisis point.

            BTW, I’m not looking to rile people up, but rather tell this like it is.

          • Luka Mlinar

            You don’t get it. In Yugoslavia we all had what ever we wanted. What you call “free money” yet everyone worked. And i do mean everyone. It’s like when America thinks it can cut crime by putting everyone in jail and raising the punishment. :D
            Only real problem America has is it’s legalization of corruption in the last 50 years. You think your country is run by the people you elected. It’s run by people running them. Lobbying should be a crime yet it’s perfectly legal there. I mean just look at the Glass–Steagall bill. In the mean time the world economic crisis that you all started is having a real impact in places like my country. I lost my job because of it. It’s almost impossible to find work. We got people who used to wear suits to work going trough my trash looking for bottles. Similar to how people used to collect cans in America. They get 9 cents a bottle. If they make 10$ a day than i suppose that’s a good day. When i take my dog for a walk i see at least 3 people doing this. We never had this before 2008. Well not as many people anyway. This is now a way of life here.Everything you people do effects everyone else more than you could ever comprehend. This is why the rest of the world if pissed off with you. Big money is not gambling with your future but all of ours. You think you wan’t default? I think the last gaverment shut down is reason enough to beleieve it will. It’s like they want to do it just to see what happens. If i could give you some advice than it’s this; save money. Because when your neighbors start collecting cans, than you will need it.

          • apianist16

            Sounds like a little bit of “Yugonostalgia” to me. :P I would ask you to note that the reason Yugoslavia split was not because it was a perfect little utopia. :)

            On a different note, you are correct. Our government is quite corrupt, and in need of drastic reform. The debt could be repaid if they acted today. But Obama does not want to repay the debt. Remember the government shutdown? It was only a partial shutdown, but he worked it so that all the national memorials were closed, and that veteran’s benefits were suspended, which is downright shameful. So then he can say “This is what happens when the government shuts down.” The Unaffordable Care Act, stimulus bills, and a plethora of other things just go to show that he is not interested in us, the people, but rather in his own political agenda. He has added trillions to the national debt without improving our situation a bit.

            There are a lot of Americans who are ticked about this as well.

          • Luka Mlinar

            It split because Serbs and Croats generally hate each other. Tito was the only one holding us together. After he died it was only a matter of time.
            China doesn’t loan you money per se. They need to ship their goods and a lot of their export goes to the US. US in return give an IOU. China can’t afford to not do this.

          • apianist16

            There was an Islamic group mixed in there somewhere too, wasn’t there? The Bosnians, right?

          • Luka Mlinar

            You mean Muslim? Bosnians are the sweetest group of people you could ever meet. They make Canadians look like gang bangers. It’s a shame they got cought in the middle of a century old feud between Croats and Serbs.

          • http://facebook.com/icecowboy Jim K

            Yeah, it’s tough to find a country where you can have it all. With luck though, maybe Dennis Rodman can get you a permanent visa to live in North Korea.

          • Luka Mlinar

            Not all communism is the same man. What we had in Yugoslavia and what they have in North Korea is miles apart.

  • Sherry

    might get a G if they go low enough, just as a second phone but I’m happy with my nexus 5.

  • needa

    getting bored with these interviews all saying the same thing. regurgitated from one interview to the next over the span of months.

  • Neo Morpheus

    All i want from Moto is a 5.2″ device with removable battery.
    Knox efuse BS just put me off from any samsung devices.

  • iamtravis182

    Moto is the only Android OEM that I find consistently interesting. I like their new found focus, and it seems like they have a vision for their place in the market.

  • wildmanfighter

    I’m 54 and I got one. I can’t get it to do half of the voice command’s to work.

  • http://facebook.com/icecowboy Jim K

    80% of the Moto Maker users were under 35? Sheesh, I wonder how many (like me) are in their late ’60’s….??

    Happy to be an outlier, though. Silky smooth and sweeet device.

  • http://facebook.com/icecowboy Jim K

    80% of buyers through MotoMaker were under 35? Sheesh. Wonder how many were crunchy old 65+er’s like me?

    Happy to be an outlier, though. My X is one sweeeet and silky smooth device….

  • bjssp

    Any idea about a bigger screen size for the next Moto X device? What about Xplay?