The recent introduction of the iconic Moto Razr series of smartphones marks a significant resurgence for Motorola in the realm of ultra-premium mobile devices. These phones not only carry forward the legacy of the Moto Razr but also showcase pioneering technological advancements, many of which are industry firsts. Our conversation with Mr. Shivam Ranjan, (Head of Marketing, Asia-Pacific, Motorola), provided us with deeper insights into Motorola's forthcoming endeavors, particularly within the context of the Indian market. Motorola is placing a substantial emphasis on the foundational spirit of innovation that defines the brand. This encompasses various aspects, including hardware, design, and software integration. The pipeline is brimming with exciting developments as Motorola ambitiously aims for a spot among the top three contenders in India's smartphone market.
Q) Is Motorola ready to flip the script when it comes to the Indian market? Motorola Global President, Sergio Buniac did hint about aiming to be amongst the top 3 players in India. How does Motorola plan to achieve that given the cut-throat competition and price war in the Indian market?
As mentioned by our global president, Motorola aims to be in the top 3 smartphone brands globally, which makes it imperative for us to aim for the top 3 spot in India as well, given that India is the world’s 2nd largest smartphone market. We believe that Motorola is uniquely poised to witness growth due to our focus on meaningful innovations such as 5G, a premium portfolio leading with design and innovation beyond hardware and our unique software experiences. We were one of the fastest-growing Android brands in India, showcasing a phenomenal 56% premium to market growth in Q1 of CY 2023. Our aim is to continue the momentum to drive exponential growth in India across all consumer segments and continue to drive high double-digit Premium to Market growth over the next 3 years.
This will be driven by multiple initiatives that we are undertaking to create differentiation in the market. First, we would like to leverage the premiumization trend in the Indian market to drive hypergrowth for our premium smartphone portfolio led by Edge and Razr franchises. We are not only leaders in form factors such as foldable but are also differentiating our premium portfolio through premium colors, materials, and design options that are emerging through our global partnership with Pantone – a global leader in colours and fashion trends. All this, while ensuring that our devices come with the latest and the greatest when it comes to hardware with leading specifications such as the highest refresh rate curved displays, latest processors, fastest charging, and best-in-class cameras.
Second, 5G is a key segment for us as the penetration of 5G devices is growing rapidly in the Indian market. Motorola has been recognized as India’s best 5G smartphone brand in 2023, which further reinforces our commitment to providing consumers with the best smartphone experience across price points. By having top-of-the-line 5G products across price points we are ensuring that we are bringing the best of 5G in terms of connectivity as well as hardware and software features to deliver the most advanced 5G experience to more consumers in India than ever.
Another area where we are able to differentiate ourselves from the competition is through our software experiences. ThinkShield for mobile and Moto Secure are unique to Motorola and provide business-grade security to consumers across most of our smartphone range. Additional software features include Ready For, Family Spaces, and Moto gestures that power multi-device experiences, and unique ways of smartphone interaction that open up a variety of use cases for the individual user and the family.
Furthermore, we are committed to the Govt of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Motorola already manufactures 100% of the devices in India and is even exporting out of India to multiple countries including North America. Domestic manufacturing also gives us the capability to have a faster time to market and design products specifically addressing the needs of the Indian consumer. Finally, we are increasing our investments in marketing to create more touchpoints for the consumers and expanding our footprint across online, retail, D2C, and O2O channels.
Q) How big a role will the launch of Moto Razr 40 and 40 Ultra play in building the "premium" and cutting-edge image of Motorola in India? Also, how has the response been to the Moto Razr series so far in India? Can we expect a folding Moto in the near future?
Razr holds an iconic status, the Razr V3 achieved unparalleled success as the highest-selling phone of all time, boasting a remarkable sales figure exceeding 100 million units. Similarly, our recent launches, the Motorola Razr40 and the Razr40 ultra are iconic devices that provide a smartphone experience at the intersection of style-driven self-expression and cutting-edge technology. The response to both the devices has been exceptional owing to its distinctive features like the Motorola razr40 ultra’s 3.6” external display, which is the world’s largest, fastest, and highest-resolution resolution on any flip phone with a refresh rate of 144Hz. Additionally, redesigned teardrop hinge makes both the Razr phones one of the world’s slimmest and gapless foldable smartphones when folded.
Motorola razr40 Ultra has been the highest-selling smartphone during the Amazon Prime Days Sale in 2023 in its price segment and the razr40 series emerged as the biggest-ever flip phone launch on Amazon, with Motorola Razr40 and Razr40 Ultra together achieving the highest number of sales for a flip phone during Amazon Prime Days Sale 2023. The Flip phones have also been generating impressive sales across avenues such as D2C and retail.
While we can’t comment on our future portfolio, we are already leaders in the foldable ecosystem through our Razr family of devices and are committed to investing in the technology.
Q) Staying on the Moto Razr series, the biggest concern over flip/fold phones has been the longevity of the folding display and the hinge mechanism. Has Motorola done anything special to ensure the flip mechanism and the flexible OLED display stand the test of time?
Motorola has introduced a redesigned teardrop hinge with this new razr40 family of phones, featuring the industry’s first dual-axis tracking that minimizes the size of the system. Compared to other foldable in the market, the razr40 ultra is the thinnest when flipped closed. Moreover, the integration of this hinge system with Ultra Thin Glass makes the foldable nearly creaseless when the display unfolds, resulting in a seamless look and smooth tactile experience. These razr phones underwent rigorous cycle endurance testing, including flip testing. So together with this redesigned teardrop hinge and advanced Ultra-Thin Glass, razr40 phones are built to withstand 400,000 folds - twice more than the previous generation.
Q) Motorola is known for innovations on the design front, we have seen some interesting innovations in the past with the Moto Mods and the Moto Z and Moto X line-up of phones which were raved about for their design innovations. Can we expect Motorola to bring that magic back?
Motorola aims to enrich people’s lives through meaningful innovations. We pioneered the mobile communications industry in 1973 and have been responsible for innovating some of the most iconic, stylish devices of all time. Our pioneering spirit and commitment to finding new ways to solve consumer problems continue to inspire us, as we focus on meaningful innovation to create differentiation. Motorola and Pantone are in an exciting partnership to bring revolutionary devices in colors that tell each person's unique story. Through this partnership, we produced the world's first phone in Pantone's Color of the Year 2023- Viva Magenta, the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion. In our globally exclusive partnership with Pantone in the smartphone category, we have seen how technology and color can intertwine to provide a vessel of expression, fostering creativity and unlocking immersive experiences along the way. We are co-creating colors with Pantone across multiple devices, not just in the premium segment, but extending into mass segments as well. We are also experimenting with materials and finishes, such as the premium vegan leather designs of our phones.
With most of our launches, we bring in disruptive features that consumers need at competitive prices. Markedly, we are the industry’s first to launch the flip form factor with the Razr series. This is a family of devices that spans over four generations, and Motorola plans to continue investing in it. We also introduced the world's thinnest 5G smartphone and the world’s thinnest IP68-rated 5G smartphone, with the launch of the Motorola Edge 40. Notably, the world's first 5G call was also made via a Motorola phone. Additionally, at the Lenovo Tech World'22, Motorola introduced a new rollable smartphone concept. We are investing in flexible OLED, or pOLED, screens to deliver an optimal balance of content and comfort. The Rollable concept embodies this idea with a screen that adjusts to three distinct states: extended, compact, and peek, with a simple press of a button. So the answer is a vehement yes. When it comes to design, form factors, and innovations in the Smartphone category, Motorola will continue to create magic.
Q) Besides competitive pricing and the latest specs, how is Motorola making phones that appeal to a certain kind of audience? Will Motorola have a series dedicated to gamers (the fastest-growing segment within phones)? Or can we expect Motorola models aimed specifically at photography enthusiasts? Especially in the current Indian market scenario where it's no longer about "one-size-fits-all" or making that perfectly balanced phone that appeals to everyone?
Motorola is dedicated to creating purposeful innovations that revolutionize the way people discover, share, and connect. Having over 90 years of developing mobile communications products, Motorola has marked its stance as a trusted brand in the industry. Motorola led the communications revolution by introducing the world's first commercial handheld cellular phone. We are at the forefront of innovation, setting new trends and introducing cutting-edge technology to the market. From budget-friendly options to premium smartphones, our product portfolio includes a range of phones suitable for different lifestyles, age groups, and technological requirements. We have distinguished ourselves by offering a diverse array of phones tailored to cater to various preferences and needs. All Motorola smartphones are backed by strong technology at a competitive price point.
The Motorola Razr and Edge series represents our premium phones, carefully crafted to ensure an immersive experience for all. The Razr pioneers disruptive form factors while our edge series displays expert craftmanship and defines what’s next.
The moto g and moto e series were introduced with the aim of making premium features more accessible, offering them at an affordable price point. Our g series ensures well-rounded phones while the e series helps in democratizing technology at accessible price points.
Our smartphones incorporate a variety of features, including diverse camera capabilities, battery life, screen sizes, and functionalities. This ensures that there is a suitable device for everyone, regardless of their technological expertise or specific usage patterns.
Q) What unique offerings does Motorola have on the software side besides the near-stock Android experience? Also, what is the Android OS update commitment (in years) that Motorola offers with its phones?
Our software experiences are an important lever that enables meaningful experiences for consumers while allowing us to stand out from the competition. With features such as ThinkShield for mobile, Moto Secure, Ready For, and Family spaces, we offer business-grade security, multi-device connectivity, and home experiences that enable experiences that create value for consumers and differentiation beyond hardware. Moto Secure is a go-to destination for security and privacy. Manage connections, control permissions, and even create a secret folder for the most sensitive data. Thinkshield for Mobile protects data from malware, phishing, and other threats. The multi-layered business-grade security enhances protection at every level from the factory to the phone. Family Space creates a safe space on the phone where kids can learn and play. Motorola smartphones let users set limits on screen time, control access to apps, and create multiple profiles, so everyone is free to explore on their own. Make the most of the smartphone and desktop PC with Ready For.
Whether sharing files between devices or using the high-res camera on the phone as a webcam, more can be done together. With the iconic Moto gestures, simple actions make everyday interactions easier. Whether it’s unlocking the phone with just a lift, chopping down twice to turn on the flashlight, or taking a screenshot with a touch, one can use their favorite features in a way that’s natural and intuitive. We believe that software is an extremely important part of creating differentiation and we strongly focused on it. With respect to Android updates–we have different OS & Security update policies for different franchises. We currently offer up to 4 years of OS updates on our devices.
Q) With most smartphone brands getting into wireless earbuds/headphones and wearable segments, can we expect Motorola to also target these fast-growing segments?
We have multiple offerings in certain regions in this space, and you can view many of them on our site. We also recently announced our partnership with Bose. With a shared commitment to innovation, we have joined forces to deliver an unmatched experience for mobile communication and immersive audio on the go. Our partnership will elevate the listening experiences for our customers, harnessing Bose's expertise in sound and noise cancellation. Additionally, it will provide users with an audio experience that seamlessly blends innovative sound with style. These cutting-edge products are currently available only globally.
Q) Can you tell us about the Motorola 312 labs and the upcoming camera labs in Bangalore?
Motorola announced the creation of 321 Labs in 2021, which is a testimony of the brand’s relentless pursuit of investing in advanced technology and innovation. Motorola 312 Labs is not just a physical lab, it constitutes our internal global teams dedicated to future-focused innovation. Comprising global research, design, and engineering experts focused on first-of-its-kind product development, Motorola 312 Labs’ mission is to solve consumer pain points by exploring the unknown and turning conceptual ideas into a reality. Motorola’s innovation has deep roots in Chicago, IL, being headquartered in the city since its founding. And while the name “312” was chosen as it’s one of Chicago’s most well-known telephone area codes, the Motorola 312 Labs team is comprised of employees based across the globe including India, the United States, Brazil, and more. Motorola has consistently delivered incredible innovations to the market, such as shatterproof screens, moto mods, the foldable Razr, Razr, enterprise AR solutions, and the 5G XR neckband. And many of the experts responsible for these meaningful innovations play a critical role in the work Motorola 312 Labs does today.
India is an extremely diverse market when it comes to skin tones and consumer preferences around camera performance. Hence to cater to the imaging needs of Indian consumers, we have created dedicated camera labs in India that try to optimize our software to perform best in Indian conditions and appeal to the wide preferences of Indian consumers. This shows our commitment to providing the most seamless consumer experiences for Indian consumers with Motorola Smartphones