November 2, 2016

Take a look at Motorola’s rise and fall through the years

Before there were Samsung and Apple, there was Motorola. What happened to this once great brand?

Do you still remember the time when flip phones were all the rage? What brand was the first to come to your mind? If you have thought of Motorola, you are not the only one.

Motorola was one of the proudest brands in the American telecom industry. It introduced the world to mobile technology, and was the first to create an iconic handset. You could even say that they were responsible for today’s fascination with mobile phones.   

With Motorola being the center of the mobile industry during the start of the 20th century, why is the company off the radar today? It is surprising to see the company that introduced a new way to communicate is now behind other brands and has become almost like an outcast in the market.


Motorola first started out as a company that manufactures batteries in 1928 before expanding to car radios. In 1983, the company produced its first commercial mobile phone: the DynaTAC 8000X. At that time, DynaTAC cost about $3000.


The most notable device that the company developed came 20 years later in the form of the Motorola RAZR. Thin and sleek, the RAZR became the new flagship device of Motorola. Users would flaunt their flip top handsets and revel the mobile technology it provided. Soon, the company manufactured different designs – from the thin RAZR V3 to the improved version of the RAZR V3i.

moto razr

The RAZR line was dubbed as a fashion phone by most, becoming an iconic device in popular culture. Celebrities and top executives are commonly seen using their RAZR phones. By 2004, the company has sold over 130 million units.


While Motorola reveled in the sales of their RAZR phones, competitors are quick to catch onto the weakness of the RAZR line. Competitors began manufacturing phones with more enhanced 3G functionality and a more advanced OS. When Apple released their first iPhones in 2007, the RAZR’s shine started to fade.

As Motorola started to cut down their prices to keep up with the competition, users started migrating to newer devices with enhanced features. After all, why would you stick with an old handset when one with better functionality is out there? Needless to say, Motorola’s outdated OS and lack of improvement in their handset designs became their downfall.


Then there was Google. When Google took over Motorola, the company had new hopes. Google did what Motorola failed to do years ago — they changed things. With Google’s help, Motorola revamped their devices and introduced Moto X. This featured voice controls, a more powerful OS, and Android user interface.

moto x

Soon, Motorola was rolling waves with their Moto G and Moto E. Customers started to pour in again because of the distinct features and competitive price range. Google then sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, and sales started to hit the 10 million mark. But, Lenovo had other plans. Reports about phasing out the Motorola name have surfaced. As Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing explains, they plan to unify their products under one name, but the Motorola handsets will still maintain their iconic logo.


The mobile battlefield is dominated by Samsung and Apple, and Motorola is barely hanging on. While Motorola was able to reap sales for the past years, it was not enough to keep competitors at bay. The company has no plans to bringing back their RAZR line, but loyalists might still find hope in the new devices to come their way.