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.”

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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?

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