Motorola CEO Tells Media His Company Wants to Make “Less” Phones

The boys from The Verge sat down with Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha, who expressed some interesting thoughts on various aspects of the wireless market. One of the notable comments by Jha mentioned that Motorola wants to make fewer pieces of hardware in the future. This goes against the current grain of hardware manufacturers pumping out Android phones like they are going out of style.

Behind this decision is Jha’s wish to see Motorola Mobility better focused on putting Motorola’s marketing dollars to work. When The Verge pressed further, highlighting that the DROID BIONIC and DROID BIONIC were parts of Jha’s famous “incremental innovation” philosophy, Jha defended both handsets by saying the BIONIC had been delayed well beyond it’s original release date.

On a separate note, Jha spoke out about the conflict between the “stock Android device” and the business relationship between manufacturers and the carriers. “Verizon and AT&T don’t want seven stock ICS devices on their shelves,” insisted Jha. Following up on that thought, Jha said his company “has to make money” and that Motorola or similar manufactures can’t profit on a device that isn’t differentiated. “The vast majority of the changes we make to the OS are to meet the requirements that carriers have.”

I take issue with this last statement, if Jha really wants to focus on differentiation, he’ll do it through hardware as Motorola Mobility did with the DROID RAZR. The DROID RAZR doesn’t stand out because of its software, it does so because of its unique form factor and build quality. A customer walking into a Verizon Wireless store will be drawn to the DROID RAZR because of that form factor, not because they see a pretty interface. It often appears that the manufacturers and carriers are truly out of touch with what their customer base wants with the Android experience, at least in terms of the overlay. After all, Motorola did dump MotoBLUR in its original build based on customer feedback. Who remembers the Motorola CLIQ? Who loved MotoBLUR on that phone?

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  • Anaznqt

    I was stuck with my Cliq xt for two years. I’m glad I can finally get rid of it. Never really used Motoblur.. Never will I buy moto

  • Anonymous

    You are right on target at fourth paragraph David.

  • Anonymous

    A-freakin’-men to the last paragraph!

    While I think it is a good thing to cut down on the number of devices Motorola is creating, I think it is more important to spread the Motorola love between the carriers.  As far as I can tell, Verizon is getting so many high end Motorola devices that Motorola is eating into their own sales!  However, virtually no high end Motorola devices seem to make it to the other carriers.  T-mobile especially is left with crap Motorola devices and even shoddier support for those devices!  C’mon Motorola, spread the love.  Give T-mobile the Droid RAZR or the Droid 4 (with enough cosmetic tweaks so that it can be called something else).

  • Anonymous

    While i do appreciate the article, i see this having little to no impact on t-mobile. Wasnt the last phone they received the cliq 2? Or was it that hideous charm? Lol. We all know how that went over…

    • None

      While the Charm had obvious issues (odd screen size, poor resolution), I purchased the phone anyway because I liked it.  Every single negative to that phone, I already knew when I purchased it.  I think I have had maybe one or 2 force closes in the year that I had it.  It was a solid phone otherwise (even with BLUR).  I say this not to contradict anything you said (hideous, maybe…but I liked it, and may have no taste. LOL) but my point is that even in their lower end phones, Moto is solidly built and I would go with even a midline Motorola if they would offer it on TMO
      ** probably would not be saying this if I had owned a Cliq.  I read like every else of its troubles **

      • None

        In addition, I read a good deal of phone blogs just for fun and rarely (if ever) have I read a bad thing about the defy that someone would not already know BEFORE purchase  (size, resolution, color scheme).  I did not own that phone, but these type of blogs would the the very first place you would hear if there was a major problem.’

  • xcvdf fgg

    This guy look like an elf to me

  • Anonymous

    Motorola has really disappointed me. TMo went out on a limb launching the Cliq and giving Moto the opportunity to revitalize their flagging company. After that we get only 4 other phones in that 2 year span, the Cliq XT, Cliq 2, Charm, and Defy. VZW got 4 in 2 mos , all high end devices. I don’t claim to know how all that is negotiated and whatnot, but it is a let down. My $.02

    • http://www.thegadgetgurus.net Vic

      I’m pretty sure it was Verizon who went out on a limb for Motorola with the original Droid and did a much bigger job of helping Motorola remain relevancy than T-Mobile ever could, hence why their relationship with Verizon is much stronger.

  • TMOSince2003

    I know this is OT, but please stop with the pop up. I have to perform all kinds of machinations to make it go away. I would rather stop visiting this site. Like anyone cares, but I had to say something. Thank you.

    • J-Hop2o6

      Firefox 9 + adblock addon = virtually no ads ANYWHERE. Not even Youtube ads before the video starts. Don’t know how lots of ppl don’t know this by now.

  • TMOSince2003

    That is a pretty amusing pic. Mr. Jha has enormous hands, or those are tiny phones.

  • BigMixxx

    he hit it on the nose.  But that’s the apple route…The fewer will turn ever so slowly into not very many….The Bionic in reference here should have come out a while back…Samsung pumps the market with SO many devices, so many variations…it’s crazy..

    Jha…NOONE LIKES BLUR.  

    you didn’t put blur on the orginal andorid ‘droid’ device…why start now…

    • Anonymous

      Noone?  Who the hell is Noone?

  • http://twitter.com/catire98 Luis Carlos Diaz

    Motorola has done very little for T-Mobile. The Cliq which I got was not a good phone to put it lightly. I had no major issues with Blur. I actually though it was a different idea at the time that may have needed more fine tuning but not a bad one. The article actually shows how much they have done for Verizon and I would just ask him how he plans to take Motorola’s relationship with T-Mobile to a higher level… which should not be so difficult given the lousy job so far. Until then, I am more than happy with my HTC Radar.

  • http://twitter.com/catire98 Luis Carlos Diaz

    Motorola has done very little for T-Mobile. The Cliq which I got was not a good phone to put it lightly. I had no major issues with Blur. I actually though it was a different idea at the time that may have needed more fine tuning but not a bad one. The article actually shows how much they have done for Verizon and I would just ask him how he plans to take Motorola’s relationship with T-Mobile to a higher level… which should not be so difficult given the lousy job so far. Until then, I am more than happy with my HTC Radar.

  • W Daniel Fichtel

    I had a Motorola CLIQ for nearly 2 years, and while I loved the hardware and the voice quality was superb, Motoblur quite honestly sucked. The best thing I ever did was disassociate all accounts from the service. It ran beautifully after that.

    • TJTJ

      I Had A CliqXT & Just As You I , Once I Deleted My Accounts From The Phone It Ran Perfect . Motoblur Had Good Intentions But It Ruined What The Phone Truely Could Have Been .

  • W Daniel Fichtel

    I had a Motorola CLIQ for nearly 2 years, and while I loved the hardware and the voice quality was superb, Motoblur quite honestly sucked. The best thing I ever did was disassociate all accounts from the service. It ran beautifully after that.

  • Anonymous

    How about stop cannibalizing your own devices on one to two carriers. Why are they so hard on for vzw and their Droid line. The bionic and or the razr would’ve sold great on Tmo imo. Idk if its them or T-Mobile who just completely neglect high end moto devices. I’m not the biggest fan on Motorola phones but that razr is pretty slick.

  • MUSICMANA212NYC

    WE WANT THE IPHONE FOR TMOBILE AS A MATTER OF FACT THEY SHOULD BE THE FIRST WITH A NICE CANDY APPLE RED IPHONE . LOL BRING THE IPHONE ..

    • Tbyrne

      I agree. BRING IT ON!!!

    • androidistheonlyrealpltform

      speak for yourself, apple is garbage.

  • hello_moto

    Didn’t google buy moto?

  • Anonymous

    I would love a Motorola Droid razer but T-mobile never gets the high end Moto phones we get the bottom of the barrel every time.  At least Samsung has the GSII on T-mobile and we get good HTC phones.   Nokia its your turn bring the 900 to T-mobile 

    • None

      I would be thrilled with even the 800

  • Desertbears

    Bring the HSPA+42 version of the Droid RAZR MAXX to Tmobile & it will sell really well. I like that 3000mah battery.

  • http://twitter.com/McGrory_Mike Michael McGrory

    So Jha is basically saying he wants one maybe two ICS phones, but after that  . . . he wants to sell something a lot different? Well, he’s rich and he has dreams and visions  . .  that’s great. If I for a split second think Motorola is rolling out ICS to Bionic, but it’s a big pain the ass, so if it’s a little buggy tough, we’ve developed a neat new consumer alliance. I won’t buy a toaster from that company again. HTC won’t mind, they’ll have a half dozen price points for Android phones, Samsung as well.

  • Anonymous

    Jha says “Verizon and AT&T don’t want seven stock ICS devices on their shelves”  That’s fine but other than the nexus, can you show me one, ….. anyone?    (cricket sounds in the background).  How about release just one with stock android and let’s see how that goes.  I had a cliq, that blur made so buggy it was almost unusable.  When they finally updated it 12 months or so later to 2.1,  2.2 had been out for 6 months.   I really love the build quality on moto, and really would love a reason to buy one.  Please Sanjay, give me a reason to actually buy moto again and here is a hint, I will never buy another phone with blur anything on it.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone know why the relationship between Motorola and T-Mobile went sour?  They released nothing in 2011 except for the CLIQ 2 which was originally to be released Q4 of 2010.

  • Anonymous

    David,

    Not for nothing, but you nailed it right on the head.  I was reading somewhere within the past couple of days, (If I find the article, I’ll edit this post for reference.) that something like 32% of Android phone buyers choose their phones based on manufacturers’ UI.  That fact implies that that about 2/3 of Android phone buyers could either care less about the UI, or outright dislike them,  (Also have every intention of changing it to some random 3rd party, i.e. Launcherpro, MIUI, etc.) Instead of carriers/manufacturers trying to “make money” differentiating themselves through their software, you’re 100% correct.  They need to focus on the hardware.  To {cringe} AT&T’s credit, there are in fact too many phones out right now that are too much alike.  If you strip down Android devices that come out within 6 months of each other, their hardware specs are basically the same. What’s even worse is, you have devices out there with incredible hardware, but you would never know the full potential of that device because it’s bogged down with carrier/manufacturer bloat, whereby robbing whatever amazing resources the device was built for and with.  Case in point, why bother putting out a phone that’s got a dual core 1.5 chip in in with a gig of RAM, only to consume the processing power and RAM with a constantly running resource heavy UI?  You end up with the user being blown away (/sarcasm) with the moving widgets, cross-fades, and live weather things that supposedly make your life easier.  Newsflash carriers: There’s An App For That!  And if someone wants that app or particular functionality, they can download it and put their widget on whatever one of the 7 home screens they please.

    Motoblur,(Or any other UI for that matter) while their intentions are good, really don’t put into account the user experience that Google envisioned when when they wanted to give consumers an alternative to that of the iPhone.   Apple designed it’s hardware around iOS, and therefore it’s much, much easier to keep the user experience consistent from generation to generation of hardware.  It also doesn’t hurt that they control both aspects of their service, the hardware and software.  You’ll never hear of AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint adding to it.  In essence, Apple has been releasing the Nexus devices of their industry from inception.

    Speaking about the Nexus, why has it not occurred to the decision makers yet that there is a good reason why people keep flocking to the Nexus?  Here you have a phone who’s Hardware was designed to fully take advantage of Google’s Android platform.  It’ll always get updated till the hardware can no longer support it, and even then, developers will streamline the firmware of successive releases so that it can work in the future.  This in effect forces the hardware manufacturer to focus more on making incredible hardware and less on worrying about how to market the device.  At that point it comes down to how good can your device be, and guess what?  Nexus devices are hardware Juggernauts.  Some have even called them reasonably future proof.

    In the end we, presumably the 2/3′s, are left to have to consider the possibility of buying a new phone every 6 to 18 months because the phones we have are too laggy, or run out of space, or the screen evolution has changed and so on.  All the while, iPhone customers and Nexus owners can really hold on to their phones till they out grow them.  Perhaps Nexus customers more so, as Apple is great at marketing themselves and makes you want to need a new phone once a year.

    I could go on and on, but when you talk about Android’s fragmentation problem, the solution is simple.  In a game where it’s the iPhone -vs- the Android software (On many phones), strengthen the Android phone itself, and let Google do it’s job.  

    Sincerely,

  • Anonymous

    Motorola WILL NOT make phone for T-Mobile whatsoever after all.

  • Ryan Seaforth

    This makes a whole lot of sense. T-Mobile has potential to do a whole lot better if they can only get better phones in addition to better customer service. Carriers like Verizon, Sprint and AT&T have so many high end phones, they don’t know what to do with themselves right now. I have the Cliq 2 which was due for an update to 2.3, and I’m sure it can support ICS. Motorola knows they can give T-Mobile many follow-up devices…they need to rethink their plans. And isn’t Moto owned by Google? C’mon Big G, spread the love man!

  • Anonymous

    It seems to me that the moto’s we get here on t-mo almost always launch with 1. Blur, 2. A version of android that is already out of date or very soon to be out of date, and 3. Eol’d very quickly and abandoned with no update.  If moto wants to limit the number of phones to improve their devices and user experience that is good on them, however…..    

    They need to spread the love around and release GOOD devices on ALL carriers, not just good ones on Verizon and crappy ones on t-mo.  They also need to either remove blur so google can update the phone or commit to actually updating phones that don’t have a red “V” on them.  And last, they need to keep their promise to unlock the bootloaders so that when they don’t update the phones, which they likely won’t, you can do it yourself if you choose.

    • Michael Oliva

      I thought with Google planning to buy them they would get better in these regards but so far nothing seems to have changed. I know Google is very concerned about not wanting to appear to play favorites and piss off the other big players like Samsung, but it will look bad if a Google owned company can’t ship phones with stock Android and more importantly, won’t update them. Google has made excuses in the past and claimed the updates are up to the carrier, so when they own one of the carriers, what’s the excuse?

      • Anonymous

        While moto has removed blur’s outward evidence, if you take a look in the system files there is a lot of it INTEGRATED into the launcher, phone, and messaging process.  Moto is a stellar hardware company whose radios are the best in the business – that said, they are NOT a software company and I honestly think it beyond then to update the blur integration with new versions of android.  Additionally, it maxes out the system and makes it run poorly.  Until Moto addresses that nothing will change. 

      • Jimbakerbeans

        Carriers are vzw tmo sprint att not the actual manufactures if the phone

  • Mark

    Hey!  Leave my CLIQ alone!  (At least until I upgrade it ;)  Can anyone tell me if the newer Android builds have merged-message-stream widgets like the MotoBLUR Messages, Happenings and the posting widget built in?  I’ll definitely miss those when I upgrade.

    • DetroitTechnoFan

      I owned one too, and honestly enjoyed the phone better than a lot of people did. The lack of updates, especially 2.2, was a real downer, especially since that alone would have greatly extended the useful life of the phone.

      If you’re looking for something similar, go with an HTC. It looks even nicer, and won’t heavily impact performance like blur.

  • Big T

    I got an idea…how about a Motorola Nexus, with a real keyboard, stock ICS, with T-Mobile as the first exclusive provider (possibly also send to Sprint in a month or so, since they don’t get much high-end Motorola either).

    • Nick

      a nexus is a nexus.  it doesn’t need to be folded into something else.

      • DetroitTechnoFan

        Nexus One was made by HTC and almost sounds a bit like G1
        Nexus S made by Samsung. Guess the S could stand for Samsung.
        Galaxy Nexus sure seems like it’s using Sam’s Galaxy trademark.

        It’s been folded into other things since it began.

  • MIKEEEEE

    i got a CLIQ2 and i love it.

    loud ringer, great signal grabbing radio, ANDROID 2.2.2.

    enough for me for now.

    my contract matures in november and i really want to upgrade MOTO.

    an iphone is a pretty plastic brick where i live.

    • None

      Is there plastic on an iphone?

      • Joeroland

        They should be as easily as they break!

    • Anonymous

      Umm, your post is contradictory in many ways. I guess I will spare your n00bish remarks.

  • Nick

    I agree, carriers don’t want 7 stock android phones.  But how about 2?  Unfortunately, right now stock android IS differentiation.

  • Jake34

    I personally don’t like Motorola phones, odd shaped, very squarish and always a generation old. 

    • Markwill62

      Not to mention compared to HTC Sence, MotorBlur is amateurish.  I just received my first Motorola phone the Atrix, with MotorBlur and it was just extremely boring compared to my HTC Sensation, they would be better off doing stock Android, at least then there are no additional expectations.

    • J-Hop2o6

      And they lock their bootloaders, which its hard for devs to hack, so SCREW MOTO.. Stay away from Tmo until they change their ways.

  • Rainy1216

    I was just talking with a t-mobile rep the the other day, and said to her that it would be nice if manufacturers would make one or two really good devices, instead of fifty shoddy ones, we wouldn’t constantly be miserable with our phones. I love android because of it’s wide array of apps, but as an OS, it’s completely faulty, and inferior. I keep it, because I have come to depend on some of their apps, but I have to say, I have not been impressed by any of their mass produced, look-alike phones. They’re all garbage. One of the worst phones I ever had was the motorola cliq. There were so many things wrong with it, I don’t even know where to begin. It was sent to me as a replacement, when the G1 was no longer being made, and even though it came out after the G1, it was somehow  not as advanced. I finally had to resign a contract just to get a better phone. 

    I also noticed that motorola puts out different phones for different types of users on over networks, but not for t-mobile. I used to be a palm owner, and loved the portrait QWERTY style keyboard (a la blackberry). No android phones have thought to create a good one for business types, except for moto. 

    I think this is a smart move for them. They seem to understand that mass producing something inferior, is useless, and costly. Perhaps they’ll produce 2 good phones, for different types of users, and focus on their quality. There’s a reason why Apple is so popular. They keep their eye on the game. They produce one phone ever year or so, and they make it well. I don’t personally like the iPhone, because it’s not my style, but it’s well-made. Perhaps more phone makers should take a page from this book.

  • Rainy1216

    I was just talking with a t-mobile rep the the other day, and said to her that it would be nice if manufacturers would make one or two really good devices, instead of fifty shoddy ones, we wouldn’t constantly be miserable with our phones. I love android because of it’s wide array of apps, but as an OS, it’s completely faulty, and inferior. I keep it, because I have come to depend on some of their apps, but I have to say, I have not been impressed by any of their mass produced, look-alike phones. They’re all garbage. One of the worst phones I ever had was the motorola cliq. There were so many things wrong with it, I don’t even know where to begin. It was sent to me as a replacement, when the G1 was no longer being made, and even though it came out after the G1, it was somehow  not as advanced. I finally had to resign a contract just to get a better phone. 

    I also noticed that motorola puts out different phones for different types of users on over networks, but not for t-mobile. I used to be a palm owner, and loved the portrait QWERTY style keyboard (a la blackberry). No android phones have thought to create a good one for business types, except for moto. 

    I think this is a smart move for them. They seem to understand that mass producing something inferior, is useless, and costly. Perhaps they’ll produce 2 good phones, for different types of users, and focus on their quality. There’s a reason why Apple is so popular. They keep their eye on the game. They produce one phone ever year or so, and they make it well. I don’t personally like the iPhone, because it’s not my style, but it’s well-made. Perhaps more phone makers should take a page from this book.

    • Greg

      I’ve long said that I wish more companies would be like Apple when it comes to their phones. Slow down the development cycle, release a phone or two per year, but make it GOOD.

      The companies making Android devices are releasing phones at such breakneck speeds that they don’t have time to fully test the hardware/software. So what happens? When phones are released, they often have half-baked software, and updates/fixes are slow to come because their developers are already busy at work on the software for the NEXT phone, which being released in another month.

      They just need to slow down and take the time to build a quality device and work the bugs out.

      //ok, i’m off my soapbox now

      • http://www.kilorad.com Kilorad

        Exactamundo.  Additionally economies of scale surely would improve by making fewer devices with interchangeable accessories, etc.

        I notice with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus that it supports both T-Mobile and AT&T 3G frequencies.  So I think maybe (hope) that that was what the CEO was alluding to — that perhaps we might see fewer models that are more interoperable between carriers.  This would hopefully have smoother OS updates.

        • Anonymous

          The HTC Sensation, Amaze, Radar, Nokia Lumina and the Galaxy S2 also have both sets of frequencies. This is because we are going to be re-purposing 1900 MHZ for 3G. Nothing to do with being able to work on AT&T, at least not any more. :-) Unfortunately The carriers will still have their own little requirements so they can have their own look and feel to them so a Verizon Phone stands apart from a T-Mobile phone or an AT&T phone. 

        • LG and NVIDIA suck

          I have a G2X which I regret because LG has abandoned it even though it isn’t even a year old and it still needs updating to eliminate some problems and to provide multi-thread usage of the Tegra 2 through ICS but LG won’t be doing that.  I will never buy another phone which doesn’t have all of the 3G and 4G frequency bands and real support from its manufacturer even if I have to pay more for it and switch carriers to get it.

  • Anonymous

    Moto,never really give’s great phone’s to Tm,good one’s,but not great ones. AT&T. Got the Razr, 1st,
    then they got 3g Razr, not sure why they were the only carrier to get that one,then they got 3g V9.
    Then what did Tm get? The V8.  Not sure if Moto ever offer the 3 G V9 to Tm. Tmo empolyee’s care to
    tell us if you know?

  • MK Terra

    FYI, Google is still awaiting regulatory approval for the Motorola acquisition.  (Also, test comment, because I’ve been unable to sign in for comments lately.)

    • MK Terra

      Test comment #2, using Chrome 18.  Chrome 16 works, Chrome 17 doesn’t.

      • Anonymous

        Works for me.

  • HAHAhahalo13

    I personally like this, hopefully this will be a positive outcome. Think of it like this. You don’t see game consoles being remade every few weeks, you just have your brand names. Wii, xBox, and Play Station. Provided that they’ve gone through some upgrades, both software and hardware, it was a good year or two before they would release a newer hardware. The Mobile world is on a whole different set of tracks, there’s a new phone every week or two. If we slowed down, we can focus more on the phones that are currently out and making them even better via software updates. But, slowing down can have a negative impact as well, I love android because of the selection.. If you have an apple phone, everybody knows it’s an iPhone. Because EVERY IPHONE IS THE SAME. Android, you have so many choices! Small phones, big phones, slider phones, 3D phones, flip phones, curved phones, thin phones, light phones, the list goes on and on, there’s bound to be a phone that suits your needs. So it goes either way.