New Qs, handsets unlikely to help Motorola

New Qs, handsets unlikely to help Motorola

Summary: Motorola unveiled a new handset lineup--including an enterprise class Q--but it's unlikely they can pull the company out of its doldrums. For Motorola, it's quite a turnabout.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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Motorola unveiled a new handset lineup--including an enterprise class Q--but it's unlikely they can pull the company out of its doldrums.

For Motorola, it's quite a turnabout. When Ed Zander joined Motorola as CEO after a long stint at Sun Microsystems he could do no wrong. Now he can do little right and has billionaire investor Carl Icahn breathing down his neck.

At 3GSM on Monday, Motorola announced the Motofone F3, a low-priced phone for emerging markets, the MOTOSLVR L9, a premium handset, MOTORIZR Z8, designed for video and audio quality and the Moto Q 9, which comes with the acquired mobile messaging technology from Good Technology and runs on Windows Mobile 6 (gallery). Most of these products will arrive around mid-year or the second half of 2007.

The reaction Tuesday to that lineup is decidedly mixed. Citigroup analyst Daryl Armstrong says early demand for the Motofone is weak. "We also believe the disappointment here is creating some management turmoil in Motorola, given how much the company was betting on this product to help them gain share in the emerging markets," says Armstrong in a research note.

Armstrong argues that Motorola bet the company on two transitions--moving customers from the RAZR to the KRZR, which turned into a fourth quarter disappointment, and the C11x, the former flagship handset for emerging markets, to the Motofone.

Oppenheimer & Co. Lawrence Harris analyst says the RIZR Z8 is the most interesting rollout of the bunch because it has a "kick slider" that can conform to your face. The Q is another wildcard. Although David Berlind derides the Q--and I've been through two of them in 3 months as well--Harris indicates that the "pricing on the Q has risen at Verizon. A silver Q will cost you $150 at Verizon up from $100. So someone is buying the Q.

But it's not enough to pull Motorola out of its ditch though.

Topic: Mobility

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6 comments
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  • It's nothing new

    Not the part about Motorola, but the part about billionaire Carl Icahn breathing down their necks. Having him invest in your company is like making a deal with the devil: your soul's safe as long as you can make him money in 30 days or less...
    John Zern
  • Would love to buy a new phone...but were?

    I live in Wisconsin and we have no stores that actually sell cellphones....lol
    Everywhere I go from Bestbuy to Cingular says with a 2 year agreement, well I am already a customer, heck I can't even buy a phone on Cingulars website without having to select a plan....BUT I ALREADY HAVE ONE. This makes no sense to me.
    mames1701
    • There's a LOT of options...

      [b]I live in Wisconsin and we have no stores that actually sell cellphones....lol
      Everywhere I go from Bestbuy to Cingular says with a 2 year agreement, well I am already a customer, heck I can't even buy a phone on Cingulars website without having to select a plan....BUT I ALREADY HAVE ONE. This makes no sense to me. [/b]

      Finding a phone is actually pretty easy. What you need to look for is a cellular vendor who supports multiple carriers. The better ones tend to do business with all of the major vendors - T-Mobile, Cingular, Verizon and Sprint - and maybe the smaller onese like Helio. Dealers like that tend to not only have the usual stock phones but will also have more "exotic" models that the vendors don't sell/support directly.

      Another option would be to search on eBay - with a major Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)... Find the phone you want, look for it on eBay, and bid on it. Of course, you really need to seriously be careful to read the seller's feedback to make sure his reputation doesn't suck big wind. There are phone and accessory vendors I would gladly do business with and those I wouldn't touch with an 11 foot pole.

      The 3rd option would be to search online - but you need to be careful to read the fine print - make sure they're NOT attempting to sucker you into another 2 year contract.
      Wolfie2K3
  • One Word: "ATTITUDE"

    Motorola used to be the Benchmark for quality communications equipment. In recent years, with poor quality products and an apparent indifference to customer satisfaction i.e. repairing the problems in conjunction with Verizon over-pricing and then crippling the phones, a lackluster response isn't a surprise. I've had Motorola phones since around 1993. Verizon wireless has been my carrier for the whole time. I had tried other brands of phones but always came back to pay more for the reception and voice quality in the Motorola. The most recent Phone was an E815. I went through 3 of them, enduring accusations of stupidity and abuse before I found out that the problem with charging circuits was well known but one or the other of the companies refused to address the problem. Verizon graciously "allowed" me an early upgrade with no penalty for another (non-Motorola) phone. During the same time, since one of the reasons for upgrading to the E815 was Bluetooth (only to find out that Verizon crippled it also to being useful ONLY for headsets or their Accessory software for your PC) I purchased a Motorola H700 headset. It was another piece of junk. It was not adjustable for different ear sizes (a rather simple design issue) and also had a problems with keeping a charge and poor reception) More abuse from customer service - this time Motorola's - but they finally replaced the unit. The replacement unit was even worse than the one I sent back.
    I don't know what percentage of Motorola's phones are marketed through Verizon and since my phone issues were focussed through Verizon service it's hard to distinguish who has the worst attitude. I do know that if one Googles the E815 and problems, there are many, many discussions regarding the phone itself.
    Unfortunately, Verizon still has the most reliable coverage nationwide for traveling but there are other phone manufacturers and other countries have far more sophisticated mobile service than we do. If Motorola wants to recalim their reputation, maybe they should look back to what originally gave them the "Benchmark" reputation and integrate it with current production. Oh - and listening to customers might also help.
    flukejh06
  • Motofone F3c - Still waiting...

    I may represent a small percentage of the population that lives in an area with poor coverage, but I have been waiting for many months, as the availability date has been pushed back again and again, to get the Motofone F3c for my family and our employees. Most folks I know don't use their phones for much more than making calls. Those that need a business class phone have Blackberry devices and love them. The rest of us don't particularly care about cameras, games, videos, etc. on our phones. We want a phone that has good battery life, good reception in weak signal areas, and an easily navigated contact list. And we want it to be relatively inexpensive to replace when an employee or child breaks it. The Motofone!

    "I need the remote, this phone...and that's all I need." -Steve Martin in the Jerk (?)

    R. Hermann
    Michigan
    e-Randy@...
  • MAYBE MOTOROLA IS THE ONLY COMPANY--

    --that manufacturers memory chips.
    BALTHOR