Technologizer posts about Motorola

Wow. FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller, the go-to blogger for analysis of the mobile patent wars, says that Google has given Motorola Mobility, which it’s in the process of acquiring, permission to seek an injunction preventing Apple from selling the iPhone 4S and iCloud. Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson he was willing to go “thermonuclear” on Android; the longer these lawsuits last and the nastier they get, the more the whole thing does start to feel like warfare.

Posted by Harry at 1:12 pm


I keep forgetting that Google, which agreed to buy Motorola Mobility last August, doesn’t yet own it. In fact, anti-trust regulators in both the U.S, and Europe are still going over the deal. Which means that we still don’t know what the implications will be of Google owning one of the largest makers of Android-based devices.

It is, by the way, fascinating how many sites reported the merger as a done deal the moment it was announced in August. Nope. Months later, it remains a proposed deal, and the chances that t won’t go through, while not huge, are more than zero.

Posted by Harry at 2:12 pm

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More on the Droid RAZR

By  |  Posted at 2:36 pm on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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Droid RAZR

When I wrote about the new Droid RAZR this morning I hadn’t seen one in person. A few hours later, I visited with representatives of Motorola and Verizon and got a demo and a bit of hands-on time.

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Hey, There’s a New RAZR!

By  |  Posted at 11:52 am on Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The first thing I noticed about Motorola and Verizon Wireless’s new Android phone was the name. The Droid RAZR is a neat nod to one of the most iconic phones of the pre-iPhone era. (What’s next–the Droid Star-Tac?)’

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Me, Elsewhere

By  |  Posted at 1:51 pm on Thursday, September 8, 2011

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I haven’t written as much here recently as I like to, but I have a good excuse: I’ve been hard at work writing for other sites. Three new stories are up today:

* At, I reviewed two new Android phones from Motorola: the potent (and battery-hungry) Droid Bionic, and the basic (and thrifty) Triumph.

* TIME also asked me to try and make sense of the drama going on over at AOL and TechCrunch. I’m not even sure if that’s possible, but I tried.

* Over at, I wrote about a newish gadget that small businesses seem to be snapping up with the same zea they once adopted IBM PCs and PalmPilots. It’s called the iPad.

Whew! (And stay turned for another bit of related news in the not-too-distant future.)

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More Google/Motorola musings: SplatF’s Dan Frommer names winners and losers.

Posted by Harry at 7:42 am

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The Business Insider’s Henry Blodget thinks the Google-Motorola deal is bold but troubling:

Yes, there’s a chance that Google could pull off a miracle here and transform the Motorola Mobility business into a direct competitor of Apple’s–in which Google gets not only Android distribution, but super-fat iPhone-like profit margins to boot.

But doing that will be super-challenging. Motorola’s current hardware team has displayed none of the magic that Apple’s has. And the more Google tries to mimic that magic, the more Google’s other Android partners will likely rebel against Google’s competitive threat.


Posted by Harry at 3:56 pm


ZDNet’s Larry Dignan has six reasons why Google buying Motorola makes sense. Here’s one of ‘em:

And Android boxes in Nokia and RIM. With Motorola, which has some enterprise credibility and Android innovations, Google can enter the enterprise easier. As a result, RIM increasingly looks like the odd man out. Nokia is already under fire as it waits for Windows Phone 7 to gain traction. RIM is betting on QNX as an operating system. Google is indicating that the wireless market is a two-platform race. And those two horses are going to be Android and iOS.

Posted by Harry at 3:53 pm

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My First Ten Questions–of Many!–About Google Buying Motorola

By  |  Posted at 1:47 pm on Monday, August 15, 2011


Apple buying T-Mobile.  Microsoft buying Adobe. We’re all used to reading stuff by tech pundits talking about seismic, world-changing acquisitions in a somewhat fanciful manner. But Google buying Motorola Mobility, the recently-spun-off part of Motorola that makes phones and other consumer hardware, is real–and the most potentially world-changing acquisition in many years. (Compared to this, HP buying Palm was positively humdrum.) If I’d been drinking anything when I read the headline this morning, I would have done a spit-take.

It’s not that it’s a completely unthinkable merger–in fact, it’s existed as a rumor for quite a while. It just seemed really unlikely, until it happened.

Mergers that are supposed to change everything have a lousy track record of changing everything–sometimes, they don’t change anything at all, at least for the better. (They also don’t have a perfect track record of actually happening: we should be careful about assuming this is a done deal until it is.) Right now, I’m still processing the news and asking myself questions. Such as…

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This famous video from 2006 seemed cool at the time. I thought of it when I heard today’s stunner of a news story and re-watched it. And it’s fascinating how much has changed since it was made. (It mentions Friendster but not Facebook.)

Posted by Harry at 9:14 am

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The Era of Beta Hardware

By  |  Posted at 3:25 pm on Thursday, April 21, 2011


My Technologizer column this week is a hands-on look at RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Like other reviewers, I was startled by the lack of full-blown e-mail, disappointed by Flash Player’s quirkiness, and bedeviled by bugs. All of which led me to what seems to be a near-universal conclusion among PlayBook reviewers: you probably don’t want to buy this thing yet.

Still, there’s much that remains appealing about the PlayBook. The hardware is nice and the WebOS-like interface is fun. With a serious software update or three–and more apps–today’s disappointing PlayBook could be the powerful, professional-grade tablet that RIM has been bragging about for months. It’s just that the company essentially released an unfinished product, presumably because it was so very anxious to get into the tablet market before other iPad alternatives had a chance to get an edge.

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Who’s Suing Who? A Cheat Sheet to the Mobile Patent Mess

All the legal ugliness in the phone business--and a few peaceable relationships--all on one page.

By  |  Posted at 7:32 pm on Tuesday, April 19, 2011


So Apple is suing Samsung, accusing it of imitating Apple products with its Galaxy phones and tablets. The most startling thing about the news may be that the two companies weren’t already in court with each other. Over the past few years, the mobile industry has been so rife with suits and countersuits that if every complainant managed to sue every subject of its ire out of business…well, there’d hardly be a mobile industry left.

I had trouble remembering the precise details of the umpteen cases that have made headlines–as well as some related relationships, such as Microsoft’s licensing agreements with Amazon and HTC–so I decided to document them with a handy-dandy infographic, as much for my own edification as anyone else’s.

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Motorola Xoom Sales “Slow,” “Disappointing,” Say Analysts

By  |  Posted at 7:44 pm on Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Motorola’s Xoom tablet doesn’t lack for hype. Actual sales, however, may be another matter. At least two analysts have come out in the past two days and cited “poor” Xoom sales in adjusting their forecasts for Motorola revenue in the current quarter.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue was the first on Friday, and said higher competition would put a strain on the company. He cut his Xoom shipments forecast by 25% to 300,000 units in the current quarter and called sales “slow.” This was followed by Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette who called Xoom sales (and of Motorola’s Atrix 4G smartphone) “disappointing.”

What’s the issue here? I’m going to take an educated guess and say its pricing pressures. In the case of the Xoom, it is still priced well above the market-leading iPad. For such a premium, Motorola needs to prove its worth to the consumer and I don’t think it has done that.

As Faucette notes, the Atrix’s issues may actually result from other smartphones on AT&T being priced well below the device, such as the $49 iPhone 3GS. The Atrix on the other hand retails for $199.99. While it’s the same price as the iPhone 4, if people are looking for a cheaper solution on the carrier with a decent feature set, it’s certainly there.

If anything’s obvious from this, it’s that price is king. Will this lead Motorola to reconsider its strategy? I guess we’ll find out.

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Is Motorola Building a Web-Based OS? It Already Did.

By  |  Posted at 4:53 pm on Wednesday, March 23, 2011


From the original Droid to the brand-new Atrix, Motorola’s been all about Android over the last year and a half. But if Thomas Claburn’s anonymous source is correct, that may eventually change.

In a report for InformationWeek, Claburn writes that Motorola is building its own web-based operating system as a way to curb its reliance on Google’s Android. Motorola has reportedly hired mobile and web engineers away from Apple and Adobe, but its not clear whether this rumored OS is anywhere near completion.

Except, Motorola already has a web-based OS that’s complete and on the market right now. I’m talking about Webtop, the software that runs on the Motorola Atrix’s laptop dock and set-top dock. If it didn’t have a little window for running the phone’s Android apps, there’d be nothing Google about it.

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The Xoom Gets Flash. But Don’t Get Too Excited

By  |  Posted at 11:22 pm on Friday, March 18, 2011


When Motorola’s Xoom hit Verizon stores last month, it was missing some of the features that promised to make it the iPad’s first formidable rival–including its much-touted support for Adobe’s Flash Player. That got fixed today when Adobe released Flash Player 10.2 for Android, a version which supports phones and tablets running versions of Android dating back to last year’s 2.2 Froyo.

I installed the new Flash on the Xoom and started trolling the Web for Flash content to try. My experience was mixed.  Adobe doesn’t claim that this is a finished piece of software: The Honeycomb version of Flash Player is billed as a beta, and according to Engadget’s Sean Hollister, it doesn’t yet support hardware acceleration. (Apparently, the First Law of Mobile Flash–the version you want is always not quite here yet–still holds.)

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When I heard the name “Xoom,” I immediately thought of the international payments company with the same moniker and wondered if there was a connection. There wasn’t. Except that the payments people are now suing the tablet people.

Posted by Harry at 7:19 am

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