Verizon announced their new Droid lineup yesterday and their heaviest hitters, the Droid Maxx and Droid Ultra, look to be a pretty big disappointments (a cute little Droid Mini was also announced). We can hope that good software engineering overcomes some of the disappointing hardware specs but I’m not holding my breath. I think Motorola/Verizon blew it this round and with the race tightening, now’s not the time to misjudge the marketplace.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is about to take control of its own branded phones with a hush, hush project dubbed – the “X Phone” (yeah, it’s a jab at iPhone). Google product manager Lior Ron is believed to be heading up the X Phone project which is said will “rival anything coming from mobile giants Samsung and Apple”. There are not a lot of details yet but phrases like “marquee handset”, “high-quality camera”, “bendable screen”, and “ceramic materials” (for durability and moldable shapes) are being tossed around. WSJ did note that “Motorola plans to enhance the X Phone with its recent acquisition of Viewdle, an imaging and gesture-recognition software developer.” Of course, it’s all just speculation right now.
Motorola released details on their promised $100 rebate for phones that cannot or will not be upgraded to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The following handsets will be eligible for the upgrade (provided they upgrade to one of the qualifying phones listed below): Droid 3 by Motorola, Droid X2 by Motorola, Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Atrix 2, Motorola Admiral, Cliq 2 by Motorola, Motorola Milestone 3, Motorola Milestone X2, Motorola Electrify, Motorola Photon 3G, Motorola Xprt, Motorola Titanium or the Motorola Triumph.
Motorola Solutions unveiled their upcoming HC1 hands-free “wearable” computer to a reporter today and surprisingly, it runs Windows CE 6.0 Professional rather than Android (note: this is “Motorola Solutions”, not “Motorola Mobility” that Google now owns). The HC1 features an oversize camera and boom microphone and utilizes voice recognition, head gestures, and video streaming over a wireless network. Motorola is proposing the device be used for enterprise applications in defense, utilities, telecommunications, aerospace, and aviation markets. The device is expected to hit the market mid-2013.
Motorola updated their list of devices that will not receive Jelly Bean upgrades. The list below shows devices that will not be upgraded to Jelly Bean. What is interesting is that the Droid Bionic and Droid 4 will be upgraded to Jelly Bean (projected to be upgraded (but no projected date given). The Droid RAZR, RAZR HD, and RAZR MAXX HD are projected to be upgraded during Q4 2012.
Reuters has reported that Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility has dropped a complaint of patent infringement against Apple without explanation. Google said in its filing “there are no agreements between Motorola and Apple, written or oral, express or implied, concerning the subject matter of this investigation”. It has been reported that that the two companies were in settlement talks though.
The latest comScore figures show Samsung still at the top of the smartphone market share ratings with a 25.7% share of the market although the change from the prior 3-month period was flat. LG remains second with a 19.1% market share and Apple comes in 3rd with 19.1%, an increase of 2.1% from May 2012. It is interesting to note that Apple showed the biggest gain in market share even though the figures closed before the iPhone 5 was released.
Motorola has announced more phones that will not be upgraded from Gingerbread (Android 2.3) to Ice Cream Sandwich, making clear the reason for their previously announced policy of only introducing a few new handset each year. Some, including the Droid Bionic, Droid 4, and Atrix 2 are still up in the air.
Vengeance must feel sweet for iPhone 4 owners who suffered through the infamous “death grip” issue. The iPhone 4 suffered a “death grip” problem that resulted in excessive signal drops. It was fixed by applying a “bumper” to the phone’s case (the next iPhone had dual antennas). Now we hear that the upcoming Droid Razr HD and Droid Razr Maxx HD are suffering from similar problems.
That Motorola Droid Bionic owners got a bum deal from Motorola is a closed debate. Like an unwanted stepchild, Droid Bionic owners waited months for the device to hit the market, tolerating delay after delay. Many owners are ready to jump ship. But wait! New Google leadership may save the day.