Motorola’s Dumb Phone

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mobile phones in the United States are more power-hungry and complicated than ever. But one of the latest phones from Motorola, aimed primarily at other markets and due out by the end of the year, is just the opposite. Looking for more customers, the company did extensive market research in poor countries. The result: the company’s slimmest phone yet, boasting cutting-edge technology that–rather than adding complexity–extends battery life and makes the phone simpler to use.

Called the Motofone, the new device is cheap. But it still retains some of the style of the company’s Razr, which can cost many times as much. Research showed that style matters “regardless of income or social status,” says Motorola’s manager for the phone project, Rafael Colorado, who is himself from one of the target countries, Colombia. The company hopes the design will help win new customers in large emerging markets, such as India, where there isn’t yet a “signature product” equivalent to the Razr, says Ryan Reith, a research analyst for the market research firm IDC. Currently, Nokia is doing better than Motorola in these markets, he says. The phone may also appeal to new users in countries such as the United States, he says, or to anyone who just wants a simple phone that works well.

Continue reading “Motorola’s Dumb Phone

Source: Technology Review (link opens in a new window)