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MOTOROLA: year in review

What a year! In every aspect of it, 2021 was crazy. But in terms of Motorola, it was a great year to review, so let's dig into Moto.

PHONES

The current Motorola strategy is helping them get good profits, but it's hard to keep track of the new phones released each month. First we started with Moto G, coming from Moto G to Moto G9 in the past years, we got early in 2021 the G10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 100 and then expanded to G200, G31, 41, 61, 71 and so on. While the US got some non-numbered G Stylus, G Play and G Power. 

All look similar, but differ in specs for different regions. This is not new... remember the V3c, V3i, V3m, V3xxr and so on? It seems they want people to know it's a Moto G phone but not a 60, a Stylus or a 31 like previous years.

They seem to be forgetting about Motorola One phones and focusing mostly on G and Edge. We saw very few One phones and mostly limited to North America. A few Moto E phones were also launched in the E20, 30, 40 and E6i ranges, and then the main star were the Edge phones (some of them are re-branded Moto G phones in China). The flagship Edge 20 Pro, the phone I'm holding right now, is a beast, with a 108mp camera and an insane screen with high refresh rate. Some other lower end Edge phones (regular and lite versions) were launched along with it.

And sorry RAZR fans, no new foldables in 2021. Though they did hype the 2020 RAZR 5G all the way this year. Too bad no new colors were released to keep it fresh for this holiday season.

2021 ended with the Edge X30, a phone with the highest Antutu score and insane specs.

One interesting phone to mention is the relaunched Motorola DEFY. It may be a redesigned Moto G9 Play, but it looks beautiful and it was nice for nostalgic fans like me to see DEFY come back as a brand. It seems to be selling like hot cakes in some countries!

The good: cameras improved A LOT!

The bad: hard to keep track of all the new devices


OTHER PRODUCTS

It was a very interesting year for Motorola Home and accessory/lifestyle products. We did not see many new headphones and bluetooth devices like previous years, but Motorola launched a new Moto Watch 100 for $99 that comes with a new custom Moto OS. They also launched a wide range of home appliances like TVs, washing machines, refrigerators and air-conditioners in Asia, and they keep launching cool networking products in the USA, like modems and routers. Even some kind of chromecast/tv box device was launched in India, and there are rumors of feature phones, YES, feature phones coming.

The good: the brand is now in a wide range of products, from mobile to home, to entertainment to networking

The bad: accessories like wireless headphones will be hard to find for a while, as the company making them was changed


SUCCESS

Moto is #1 in Mexico, holds the #2 spot in Latin America with 24% market share, with 37% share in Argentina and 31% in Brazil. It's also #3 in the US with 10% share, the highest it has been in a decade, and is growing exponentially in Europe and Asia.

This means the current strategy is paying off. Well done!

The good: growth in the Americas is huge!

The bad: competition is geting tough


MARKETING

Moto's main theme for the year was Power to Empower. Kinda reminds me of 2011's Life. M. Powered. slogan they launched back then. It was cool, though I think it didn't reach the potential it had and was not bold as previous Motorola campaigns that are memorable in the back of my mind. Power to Empower should great stories about strength and inclusivity, but it didn't drive millions of viewers like the RAZR 2019 promo videos did, and wasn't as bold as the 2017 Moto Z/G campaigns under "Different is better" featuring the Uma Thurman lookalike saying HelloMoto. But still a nice concept to explore.

But one thing that was interesting for me was the investment on the RAZR brand. Even if the RAZR 5G came in August 2020, they promoted it non-stop this year in both fashing AND sports, which I think was great. Moto is now sponsoring different sports teams in some countries, including the US, and this is giving them nice exposure. It probably helped the RAZR sell pretty well too. And they even featured Paris Hilton in a RAZR short film. I can't complain.


The good: Paris Hilton + getting into the sports world

The bad: apart from RAZR, ads weren't as bold as we expected


OVERALL

Motorola is on a league of its own. It has legend status and no one can take their accomplishments away. Hopefully 2021 proves uninformed people that Moto is alive and actually doing pretty good, with big share increases in many countries.

What I expect for 2022 is:

  • Third generation RAZR, launched in multiple colors and special editions, with a marketing campaign that brings even more nostalgia elements from the 2000s.
  • An ultra-premium compact phone with unique build quality and design. Marketed as an object of desire.
  • More fashion, sports and pop culture features.
  • More development in the camera field, though I think cameras in 2021 are excellent.
  • More home products and accessories. Rebirth of the feature phone with classic designs and modern specs.

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