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New product range from Motorola, 2004

Motorola introduced three new models, update version of an existed phone and several accessories in Krakow. It was the first announcement of new products of 2004, and about 6-7 similar launchings are yet to come. The nearest event is a show of new products on the 3GSM Congress in Cannes. So, it is possible to assume number of the models in 2004. The company will have a larger product range compared to product series of previous years. Motorola’s portfolio is rather rich compared to other manufactures. The company is going to introduce new phones in each segments of the market. Mass products of the company in 2003 were low-end phones, now the company tries to save these sales on the same level and to add more phones to other price segments. First steps in this direction were made in the last quarter 2003.

Let’s speak first about launched products. In the other article we will speak about other events and also about impressions from Krakow, mobile networks in this country.

Before presentation, the company showed a small exhibition of Polish photographers. All photos are taken by VGA-cameras of the phones. It was emphasized that images were not improved, just different effects were applied to some of them. The company tried to show that today it is quit enough to have a camera in the phone to show creative potential and express the thoughts. Look to several works, in my opinion they are impressive.

Motorola v80. We have already written about this phone, here you can read its specifications. Impressions from its appearance are available here. Technical peculiarities of the phone are available in the review of Motorola v600. We knowingly didn’t write much about the main feature of Motorola v80 (haptics) in that article.

Motorola v80 is a successor of Motorola v70. The company refused to use the index R880 to emphasis succession of these two models. It is interesting because the company still sticks to new indexes regarding other models.

Motorola v70 was popular due to original rotating mechanism. After price reduction it became not so popular. Users of fashion phone prefer to have unique, expensive phone and emphasis their status. Low price of Motorola v70 didn’t attract new users, for short period the phone became mass and after that left the market. Much time passed till the company decided to launch Motorola v80. Two main conclusions were made. Firstly, the phone should have advanced functionality to justify its price as a technological device. Extra payment is taken not for brand and unusual rotating mechanism, though quality of used materials and unique fashion features (haptics). Secondly, the company made a decision that the price for the phone of this class couldn’t become lower with time. It means that Motorola v80 will have the same price level during all live cycle. We can presume that it will be about 2 years or a little bit less. If the price for this phone goes down, then the phone will exist not more than one year on the market.

Let’s turn to the functionality of the phone. Representatives of the company pay attention firstly to the two modes of the picture on the display. First one is a standard portrait mode. If you rotate it at the angle of 90 degrees the camera will switch on automatically and you could take pictures. Keep in mind that VGA-camera has a resolution of 640*480 pixels. In the portrait mode (which is typical for all usual phones) you receive a picture with the resolution of 480*640 pixels (if the software allows it) or see a reduced copy of the picture. In Motorola v80 the user see a full screen picture even in the shooting mode. When you view taken pictures you can choose a standard mode (portrait mode) or rotate screen and view pictures in the full screen mode. In my opinion it is just one extra feature which gives more freedom to the user. Summing these improvements up we receive a comfortable phone.

Rhythm and light. For the first time Haptics appeared in E380, launched last year at CeBIT. It was not very popular there, especially because there were only few samples at the exhibition. Later this function was added in the other models but it was fully realized only in v80. We’ll tell about it later in the review of v80, which will be published very soon on our site. Now just few details.

One can assign any light indicator to each event, the whole rim of the phone is lighted. It is silver but the backlight could be of any color. Lights are shimmered round the phone; the effects are different. If you open the phone you can see a shimmered keypad as well. There are several color schemes in the phone, the use could choose any that he likes. Haptics is a fashion feature and it plays its role greatly. If you ever see calling v80, you’ll never forger it.

The second meaning of this function is obvious but not typical for all mobile phones. Developers turn the handset in the fashion accessory. If you wear the phone on the neck, you can activate a function of rhythmic backlighting (after certain periods, up to 10 minutes). During this time your phone will blink different colors in time with music. During the party in Krakow Kevin Mitchell appeared in the club with the v80 and demonstrate it as a fashion accessory. The phone attracted attention, he stood out of the crowd. May be it is even the first fashion phone which became one hundred percent fashion. But the functionality of the phone remains advanced.

Motorola v80 will appear in spring on the market. The expectd price is about 500-600 USD. It won’t change much with time because this product is targeted to small group of users. It should emphasis the status of the person.

Motorola v600 Black. It was another launched product. Taking into account that the phone has interchangeable covers it is easy to do it. The company decided to produce several versions of one base model differed in color solutions, probably wallpapers, music (remember Aston Martin Edition). Later more and more similar products will appear, the company decided to develop Limited Editions. Production of such phones will be limited by number, for example only about 1000 phones of Motorola v600 Black will be available.

Motorola v220. The phone is targeted to young professionals. In the contrast to marketing managers I can frankly say that it is Motorola v600 for the middle class. On the contrast to elder model, this phone won’t have one fixed price. It will the main product for the company in the middle price segment. Here are the small descriptions of this model by marketing managers of Motorola:

STYLE with Substance
STYLE with Emotion
STYLE with Function
…An urban intelligence

This phone is focused on city dwellers, young people of moderate means, those who only begin to earn money and are not willing to spend much for the phone.

The functions of the handset are similar to Motorola v300. It is almost the same phone but with another design, smaller display (not so bright, differs greatly from wonderful screens of the elder models). The phone is equipped with STN 65K display which has a resolution of 128x12 pixels. You can read more details in the review of Motorola v300. Total memory pool available for user was reduced to 1.5 Mb.

Few words about internal screen. Today it is a weak point of v200 and v180 as well. On the contrast to rival models the displays of these phones look dim, the picture doesn’t attract attention. There is almost no hope that in the end the company will change supplier of displays and the phones will look different. At the same time we can analyse experience of Motorola C350. Not the best display in that model didn’t prevent phone sales because it had good price. I think that new models will be the cheapest among their class. Besides they have time before similar products of other manufacturer will be available.

The main focus of marketing managers will be made to a possibility to set mp3 melodies as incoming calls. This model also had Haptics technology but here it means rhythmic keypad backlighting in games. It is a good marketing move, which dropping hint to elder model. In reality the phone doesn’t support original Haptics. It is indicated that a headset with built-in FM-radio is available for this phone. It is a try to answer questions about rival phones from Nokia with built-in radio.

At first, when both models (Motorola v220 and Motorola v300) are available on the market, the price of Motorola v200 will be lower by 25-30 USD. A first expected retail price is about 250 USD. The handset will be available in the end of spring, in the beginning of summer.

Motorola v180. It is a changed version of v220. The phone is powered by the same platform but several functions were cut here. The phone doesn’t have camera because it is focused on a lower segment. The difference in price between v220 and v180 will be about 25-30 USD. As the previous model, v180 will be available in the end of spring on the market. On the whole, the phone has a nice design. It can become popular in its segment, taking into account fast price reduction for this handset. Even in the middle of summer the phone will be available by price.

Finishing the story about new phones, we can add that both models have mini-USB connector. It became standard for all new series ( except v300, v500, v600). All these phones are quad band.

Launching of these products means that life of Motorola v300, v500, v600 will not very long. Even in September the company will begin sales of updated line of these models. It’s logical, because while availability of Motorola v300 on the market, sales of v220 won’t be very good, though it is a mass phone. The company plans time periods like in agriculture. After sowing the land, they harvesting and give time to soil to recover. Launching a model in any segment, the company gives time to market to accept it and then announce a model in the lower segment. The first model leaves the market, there is no direct replacement within 3-4 months and then it appears. As you see interesting announcements are expected to be this year. Shipments of new models won’t be postponed because the platform has been already debugged (one of the reasons why it was postponed almost for one year).

Bluetooth-headset HS820. Appearance of the new headset should improve positions of the company in the cheap segment of such devices. The price for the headset from Motorola was not high, it is expected that the price for HS820 will be even lower. It supports Bluetooth 1.2, besides it has two symmetric volume keys on different sides of the headset. You can easily press keys and not think about which side the headset to wear. It is very convenient if you get used to change ears when you wear a headset. A special light indicator is located on the end of the headset, it blinks in time with the talk. The device will be available in May this year.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Sennikova (maria@mobile-review.com)

Published — 11 February 2004

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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