Motorola CEO talks $50 smartphone, customizable screen sizes

Motorola logoMotorola CEO Dennis Woodside revealed a good portion of the company's future plans in an interview with Trusted Reviews. The first item mentioned was a smartphone that would be even cheaper than the Moto G, a device that costs $179 off-contract. In the interview, Woodside stated:

In much of the world $179 is a lot of money, so there’s a big market at a price point of less than $179. We’re going to look at that, and just delivering on that value promise is super important. I mean, why can’t these devices be $50? There’s no reason that can’t happen, so we’re going to push that.

Motorola seems ready to go after the developing world market, where the majority of people do not have a smartphone and aren't online at all. A typical ultra-cheap smartphone would be the Samsung Galaxy Pocket, a $75 smartphone sold in places like Africa and India.

The Pocket is 2.8 inches and features a 240×320 LCD, an 832Mhz ARM11 processor (the first Android phones had 528Mhz ARM11 processors), 512MB of RAM, 3GB of storage, and a 2MP camera. The device runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Samsung's TouchWiz skin. With the Moto G, Motorola redefined what an sub-$200 device could be capable of. With a quad-core processor and a 4.5-inch screen, it wiped the floor with similarly priced devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fame, which has a single core processor and a 3.5-inch display. Motorola could bring a similar improvement to the entry-level smartphone space.

Samsung has to make money selling devices, but Google is undoubtedly more interested in getting people online. More online users means more Google users—and more people seeing ads. Depending on how aggressive Google wants to be with these low-end phones, a decent subsidy could be in the cards.

Next, the conversation turned to more expensive devices. The Moto X had customizable shell colors, and the company recently added a wood backing option. But Motorola plans to go much deeper with customization options. Woodside specifically mentioned screen sizes, which in turn would change the entire device size. He also mentioned "functionality," which could be interpreted as picking your internal components like the processor, RAM, connectivity options, and battery size. A fully customizable, integrated phone would be extremely impressive, but Woodside is most likely referring to Project Aura, a modular phone that the company announced it was experimenting with last October. Project Aura places each phone component in its own external case, and the cases all snap into a framework to make a smartphone. The most obvious downside to this is that all the plastic casings and the interconnects between pieces would seemingly make Project Aura very bulky, but we'll have to see what Motorola comes up with in the future.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Motorola, smartphones

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