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August 13th 2012 11:18 am

Motorola's new focus

Motorola makes flashy consumer products. Being an owner of the original Razor I felt burned when my gorgeous phone broken in less than six months sustaining a drop than any number of my Nokia or Sony Ericsson phones easily survived previously. Before that I had a previous Motorola flip phone in which I had to jiggle the power cord every single time I charged it because the charging port was faulty.

Since the Razor experience I have personally vowed never to buy another Motorola phone because they don't last. I've admitted that they make great looking devices, many are ahead of their time, but with my experiences I would rather go a different direction and get a device that lasts longer.

With Google trying to refocus Moto, does anyone think they will be successful at making quality, long lasting devices? Their product design is as good, if not better than Sony's and they often get products to market ahead of competititors. A great example is the Motorokr S-9 (gdgt.com­/motorola­/motorokr­/s9/) and S-10HD (gdgt.com­/motorola­/s10­-hd/) which both have less than appealing user reviews. I recently bought the S-10 and like it so far since I got it for $25, but I haven't tried to run with it and it's true that the battery doesn't last very long.

Bluetooth headphones should be a gangbusters product for the first company to make a solid set since every device has bluetooth and people will spend $100+ on good headphones. Moto was the first to get a product out there, but I feel that they've disappointed more people and the product family of bluetooth headwear in general by releasing these products.

Can Google successfully refocus Moto to engineering longer lasting products? I know a few people who love their Razor Maxx, but it's hasn't been that long since the products release so I don't know if it will stand the test of time and durability. I've had my iPhone 4 since launch day and it runs just the same as my wife's 4S on Verizon that's less than 3 months old. That is how electronic devices should be though. They should run the same from the time you turn it on to the day you decide to sell it to someone else.

Moto makes other products like modems that are quality, but in order to keep share prices up you need sexy products, like the Razor Maxx. With Samsung literally giving out Galaxy SIII and successfully devaluing their brand similar to the way Blackberry did with their BOGO deals a few years ago I think it's going to be hard for Moto to keep people buying the Razor Maxx instead of the Lumia, Galaxy SIII or new iPhone.

Can Google make Motorola stand out from the crowd or is it just going to be more flashy, poor reliability products that only sell because they are a few months early and then they blend in with the competition?

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This could just be my personal experience, but my Droid X is one of sturdiest designed phone I've ever used. So much so that after 2 and 1/2 years, both @casschin of the gdgt team and I are both still using it after our 2 year contracts ended. Albeit, the headset port is kind of messed up now, so maybe you're right that they have issues with ports, but what do you expect after 2 years of headphone jacking. And don't get me wrong, I'll be upgrading to Google's latest and greatest when the next Nexus comes out, but the ability to take 2 years worth of drops, not a scratch on the glass, and a stable software build, is what has allowed me to wait it out till Google's next big unveil.

So, maybe Motorola's design has already changed with focus on durability since your experience with the original RAZR?
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I have a Photon, and I adore it, but I definitely experienced quality control issues with it. The first unit I received was seriously messed up and would overheat and reboot a lot. I returned it and got a 2nd unit and did not have any of those problems. I suspect the flash RAM was bad in the 1st unit. On this unit, though, the headphone jack is messed up in just over 1 year. In fact, I just bought an Aluratek Bluetooth audio receiver so I could play over Bluetooth at home and in the car without having to use a cable. The crackling and fading is bad enough with headphones, though, that I am considering buying the cable adapter I need to connect the Aluratek to my headphones as well. I may disassemble the phone and see if I can re-solder the headphone jack. This is pretty annoying.

The problem is that I have had quality control issues with the other brands as well. The reality is that they all suck and it is just a matter of finding the ones that suck the least. I hope Google can improve the reliability of Motorola's hardware, but I won't hold my breath. If Samsung, with all its manufacturing experience, doesn't seem to be able to release devices that are free of hardware problems, I don't expect Moto/Google to get a perfect score either.

(P.S. Before the Apple fanboys start jumping in to tell me how Apple never makes mistakes, you might want to review the news around the release of each new model... and look at the stats for busted front and back glass.)
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I don't think Google will do much of anything considering they have stated that Motorola Mobility will operate at a separate company.
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