Motorola plans to make fewer smartphone models in 2012
LAS VEGAS--Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) CEO Sanjay Jha said the company intends to release fewer devices in 2012 as it focuses on producing models that can break through the smartphone clutter in the marketplace. The move will also help the company concentrate is marketing resources.
Jha said that while the company will continue to innovate on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, and the market should expect fewer models this year as it works on more "thoughtful designs."
"I think there's a recognition that we've had a lot of good ideas, but because we've had a lot of good ideas, no one idea has broken through for us," Jha said, according to TIME. "So we want to put up marketing dollars that drive our thinking and make it relevant to the marketplace. You shouldn't just expect fewer models from us, you should expect us to present fewer ideas and a push to make those ideas meaningful in the marketplace."
Jha noted that there was a bunching of device releases this year because the Droid Bionic was delayed longer than the company anticipated, which pushed it close to the launch window of the Droid Razr. This week the company announced the Droid 4 and the Droid Razr Maxx, a version of the Droid Razr with a larger battery; both are LTE devices from Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ).
Jha said that "over-choice hasn't helped drive the marketplace," but he declined to comment on whether he would like to see other handset makers take Motorola's approach to focusing on fewer devices that stand out. "I made this decision independent of what the others will do," he said. "We're doing what we think is the right thing."
The Motorola chief also touched on the company's Webtop software, which enables desktop browsing and computing experiences for Motorola devices that are placed in laptop-like docks. Jha acknowledged the gadgets have not been financial successes yet, but he said the company is committed to the idea. "What we call the next generation of Webtop will have more capabilities," he said, noting that Android 4.0 would make it "much smoother and much more integrated."
Jha's comments come at a critical time for Motorola. Google is in the process of completing its $12.5 billion acquisition of the company, which will see Motorola become a business unit within the search giant and Android software maker. Additionally, Motorola also announced a "multi-year, multi-device" agreement with Intel for smartphone and tablet silicon, and said its first Atom-powered smartphone will be in carrier testing this summer, and will be commercially released soon thereafter.