Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What does Lenovo’s acquisition of Motorola mean for the Moto X and Moto G?


At this point, it’s not even news anymore that Google sold Motorola to Lenovo. The question is what Lenovo is going to do with the brand, especially since Google managed to revive it with the Moto X and G. While Lenovo isn’t really known for its smartphones outside China, there are plenty of reasons to trust that they will take good care of both Moto G and Moto X.

It’s enough to have a look at their PC shipments to realize how much power they have when it comes to transforming brands. While Hewlett-Packard use the rise of tablets and smartphones as an excuse for their poor sales, Lenovo even managed to have a 2.7% growth in year-over-year shipments. Growing in a descending market and owning the highest global market share (17.1 %) is quite an achievement for Lenovo. Also, Lenovo is the only Wintel PC manufacturer who managed to break the smartphone market with some degree of success, after all the others (HP, Dell, Asus) failed miserably at it.

After seeing how they brought life to IBM’s ThinkPad series, it’s not too far-fetched to assume that they will turn Motorola into a fresh brand as well. Lenovo invested a lot of effort into making their products more appealing from a design standpoint and it paid off; therefore, expect them to do the same with the Moto G and X. They know what’s cool and they know when to adapt themselves and when to refresh.

Let’s not forget though that, thanks in big part to China’s bump, Lenovo is the fourth largest smartphone share holder in the global market and it’s still growing. Sure, the 6.4% share has nothing on Apple’s 17.9% and Samsung’s 28.8%, but with Motorola’s involvement, Lenovo has big chances of becoming a playmaker.

Moreover, Lenovo has the marketing aspect of Motorola in its bag. A few years ago, the “Hello Moto” welcome was recognized by everybody. Google didn’t quite know how to capitalize on that, opting for bizarre and overly sexualized ads instead. Lenovo, on the other hand, will avoid this kind of sloppiness. After all, Ashton Kutcher is working for them as an engineer and Kobe Bryant is one of their spokesmen.

Given their interest in the US market, where Motorola doesn’t have any presence at all anymore, it’s a given that Lenovo will invest big money not only in the marketing of Moto G and Moto X, but also in future Motorola releases, especially since the North American market is one that really needs budget and quality smartphones, since not everybody is ready to spill more than $400 on iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices. The patent arrangement between Lenovo and Google will eventually manage, among other things, to tone down the TouchWiz customizations.

What makes the Moto X and G so great is the software-hardware integration. They have a top camera, fantastic voice command capabilities and impressive battery, just to mention a few assets, squeezed into a well-designed rectangle. Working as a team, Google and Lenovo will split the responsibilities between them, each focusing on what it does best, while Motorola will slowly get blended in with Lenovo, just like IBM did.

While we don’t know if Lenovo will continue with the strategy of marketing a high-end and a low-end phone at the same time or if it will develop a wide range of phones, one thing is for sure: Lenovo mustn’t be underestimated. While the consensus might be that they will never take Apple’s and Samsung’s crowns, don’t forget that Dell, HP and Acer believed the same and now Lenovo is laughing all the way to the bank.


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