3GSM – Motorola: Nothing Going On But The Rent

Despite how long they talked, Motorola’s press release didn’t unveil anything new beyond a handset for emerging markets that includes an FM radio, called — you guessed it — the RDIO. The basic message was that they’re planning to ride the RAZR horse as far as it takes them. RAZR-based designs of every style will be the rule for the foreseeable future.

That’s fine for now, the RAZR and its ilk are still en vogue. But, as one Motorola exec noted, everybody’s copying them. There are scads of thin handsets on display here, and the RAZR and the SLVR aren’t so distinctive any more. And hiding underneath that design aren’t always the most feature-packed and technically advanced handsets (or the best user interface, though the new Linux-Java UI looks much better). So when you’re playing on little more than looks or fashion, and you’re creating fads, you’ve got to stay ahead of the curve and keep cranking out the next great look. It’s not clear if Motorola understand that point. They talk about SCPL (that’s scalpel), their next-gen design platform, but don’t make it sound like it’s coming anytime soon. By the time it does arrive, people may have moved on.

Motorola’s fortunes over the last 10 or 15 years have really been a roller-coaster ride, and the company’s had enough downturns to have several resurgences during this time. So if history keeps repeating itself for Motorola, is the RAZR the next StarTAC?

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