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Motorola looks for the "sweet spot" with smaller phones

Google Android

By Shona Ghosh

Posted on 17 Apr 2013 at 09:23

Motorola has said rival handset makers are creating phones that are too large, saying its phones with Google will be "just right" in size.

The devices, set to be released later this year, will be the first produced in partnership since Google bought Motorola last year.

Motorola's design chief Jim Wicks said his firm is avoiding Samsung’s strategy of producing larger and larger Android-based phones, instead targeting a size that feels "just right" - although he didn't detail screen sizes.

"Certain people like a large screen," said Wicks in an interview with PC Mag. "But there's a sweet spot for consumers that we're currently exceeding in the market. There are some people that like a big display, but there's also a lot of people that want something that's just about right," he said.

There are some people that like a big display, but there's also a lot of people that want something that's just about right

"I think 'just right' is important, and we're designing so we don't disappoint those people," he said.

Wicks said the two companies were working closely together on the new line of phones, which would feature a stock Android experience, leaving consumers free to populate devices with their own apps.

He said that the first phones will roll out in the second half of this year, though he didn't confirm whether that would include the rumoured Motorola X flagship model.

"From a software and UI perspective, our strategy is to embrace Android and to make it the best expression of Android and Google in the market," he said "It will be the unadulterated version of Android, and I feel really good about our embracing Android and being the best Android experience."

Phones plus

At a separate event, Google CEO Eric Schmidt heaped praise on the new line of products, claiming the upcoming devices as "phenomenal".

"Think of it as phones-plus," he told All Things Digital.

The pair’s united front marks a turnaround from earlier this year, after Google CFO Patrick Pichette said that Motorola’s pre-acquisition device pipeline didn’t "wow by Google standards".

Google completed the $12 billion (£7.8 billion) deal last May, with Motorola’s fate hanging in the balance after analysts speculated the search firm had targeted Motorola’s patents to shore up the Android ecosystem.

A new line of Motorola phones could still act as an insurance policy of sorts, with Google reportedly worried that its biggest manufacturing partner, Samsung, has too much Android market share. The Korean firm ships the majority of Android phones, giving it greater leverage to demand a cut of Google’s mobile ad fees.

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User comments

Funny he should say that...

Keep a look out for the Mobile & Wireless column in next month's PC Pro (issue 225).

By PaulOckenden on 17 Apr 2013

@PaulOckenden

That's a bit gnomic, even for you....

Motorola\Google seems to be copying MS\Nokia by aiming essentially 'full-feature' 'phones at lower price-points and market niches.
This seems a very sound strategy to me as Google is in a similar position to MS in wanting to get Android (and their services) running on as many 'phones as possible, as fast as possible.

By wittgenfrog on 17 Apr 2013

This pleases me

I'm still on an S2 as I found the S3 too unwieldy to hold. Whilst the S4 looks like a step in the right direction, it's still too big for my paws. However my wife just got a Motorola Razr I as an upgrade and I'm extremely impressed with it. The size, weight and grip are all excellent, compared to the S2 even and with a decent battery too, and an instant-on camera feature. It seems the attention passed it by, but it's a great 'little' phone which makes me look forward to new Motorolas. Even the Nexus 4 is bigger than it should be.

By mario_miniaci on 18 Apr 2013

Smaller Phones

Why should a phone be a tablet if you dony want it to be?

By edonohoe on 18 Apr 2013

Small or Large

Small is beautiful!

..Schumaker

By scroller2 on 18 Apr 2013

At last!

I have been wanting this to happen since owning an HTC Wildfire S.

It was a perfect size for the pocket, all it needed was a higher-res edge-to-edge display, more memory and faster CPU/GPU, and the glorious lack of stuffing found on Google phones. If Motorola need a form-factor model, that should be the one.

As it is, the only choice I had in January was the Nexus 4. Its perfect in a lot of ways, but it is the size of a small tennis court!

Samsung missed a serious trick by not making the S3 Mini a full-fat phone. It is completely crippled by lack of memory and processing power, and a lo-res screen. Calling it an S3 is only damaging to the S3 reputation.

By Wilbert3 on 19 Apr 2013

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