Motorola's Marcus Frost talks about trends in mobile space
Marco Angelo D'Souza
Motorola, which sells four handsets — Moto E, Moto G, Moto X and Moto Turbo in India is riding high on the success of these phones.
Its latest entrant –the third generation (3G) compatible new Moto E already has curious gadget lovers singing its praise.
With an introductory price of Rs 6,999, the gadget was made available from March 11 in the country.
We caught up with Amit Boni, General Manager, Motorola India and Marcus Frost, Senior Marketing Director, EMEA and APAC at Motorola Mobility at the launch of the new Moto E.
Marcus spoke of the trends happening in the mobile space, and their approach to delivering more intuitive experiences with their current and next-gen smartphones.
What are Motorola’s biggest priorities in designing today’s phones in terms of the experiences they deliver?
In terms of delivery, you have to factor in software. Number one is the OS, and as you know we have a very pure version of that. Our phones are built to work really quickly, so even the baby of the family [the new Moto E] is quicker than many flagship products from others, from booting up to getting a lot of other things done. Consumers don’t necessarily associate the fact that there is hardware and software and other stuff. They just want to get things done. They want to turn it on and do things quickly. That comes from the philosophy from a very pure version of Android. What this pure version also means is that we can keep it up-to-date nice and quickly, so we can ship nearly as soon as a Lollypop update pops out. The new Moto E comes with that out of the box. And it means our upgrade path is quicker than many other OEMs out there, and indeed Motorola has been the fastest to Lollipop. So a lot of benefits there. And that’s the start.
Then what we also do is mainly on software but it does bring hardware into it. There are elements when we’ve had feedback from consumers where we can put ‘light touch’ elements on top. One way we blend hardware with software, for example, is the ‘shake to take’ [camera] feature. The phone knows that it’s coming out of the pocket, it uses a special gesture and--boom--it’s ready to go. It takes hardware accelerometers as well as software to enable that, to be able to click anywhere on that real estate. And it’s funny how quickly you get used to that. I’ve been using the Nexus recently, on holiday in fact, and missing key moments. “Quickly, let’s get a shot of those mountains behind you kids. Ok, hold on, turn it on… password… oh no, it’s gone into my email… now quickly on to the camera app.” And it’s gone. I’ve missed it.
So there’s another example where the software is blending with the hardware to give exceptional experiences.
What are your thoughts on the ability of a phone to stand up to the real world?
We’re very, very strong on water resistance and battery power. The power story is one of those pain points that people have and there are a number of ways of getting around that in terms of wearables. Because it [holds up his Moto 360] is a watch first, and therefore we haven’t got places we can plug in leads and everything else, we use a beautiful little cradle that sits by your bedside, and this easily lasts way beyond a day. It might not have done right from the outset, but we keep innovating and getting feedback, and you’re now easily getting a day. When I go to bed I’ve got at least 40 percent left. And if you haven’t got your charger there, it’s going to easily take you well into the next day.
But the trend that we’re seeing is that people actually want to ‘snack’ on power more than worrying about whether this will last me into the next day. So therefore turbo-charging, the capacity of being able to do that [quick charging], we believe, is as important as making sure it’s got a strong battery. Moto Turbo comes with a crazy big battery, still in a beautiful form factor. The trend we’re seeing is the ability to plug in for five minutes and get as get as much juice. And that takes quite a lot of algorithms and special designs to do that, to be able to dissipate the heat.
Also the Moto Turbo is built using ballistic nylon, so even if you get shot you might be ok [laughs].
What are your thoughts on price ranges, on the trend that phones either live in the low-end or high-end price band, with little happening in the middle?
There is that trend out there, absolutely. In can differ quite markedly in markets that are heavily subsidised: UK, US being examples of those, where a lot of it is on contract, where you never really know the price of your phone, to places like India where it’s absolutely in your face.
We believe there is demand across the price band. This may be because that middle territory hasn’t been served well enough so far. Just like wearables, we believe, weren’t served well enough until Moto 360 came along: all those lumps of square, mini smartphones. Lots of people wanted something really beautiful so we addressed that. So again, we believe in that mid-range there is a market waiting to happen. And we’re always trying to drive premium value in all of the price tiers. So you saw a shift happen with Moto G, and a number of followers came into that space as well. The same happened with Moto E too.
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