When word got out that Motorola's "pop-up store" on Chicago's Magnificent Mile would be called "Destination Q," we all knew it would be focused on their newest pride and joy, the Q. Perhaps we didn't realize just how focused it would be.
Destination Q fills a portion of the space formerly occupied by the Terra Museum of American Art, located at 666 N. Michigan Avenue. It's an attractive facility both inside and out and was, in our opinion, a great place for Motorola to set up shop. Sadly, the property is too hot -- the building is slated for demolition next year to make room for residences.
Curious onlookers mingle outside the store. The joint was pretty dead by the time we rolled in around lunchtime, but apparently, the real action was in the morning when Moto gave away a Q every five minutes for two hours. Rumor has it there was a line stretched down the street of screaming fanatics hoping to get a free Q, or at the very least, a glimpse of Ed Zander. It would've been nifty if they had shot the free Qs out of cannons into the gathered throng.
This is what the would-be Q owner sees when he or she first walks in. You immediately get the sense that the place was thrown together in some haste, but that would fall right into Moto's "pop-up store" strategy. The public portion of the store consists of the first floor alone, which isn't terribly big. There are additional facilities on the upper floors for conferences and private events. The Motorola staff was energetic, friendly, largely knowledgeable, and they could be found in every corner of the facility; we avoided the Verizon reps, on the other hand, at all costs. For what it's worth, we were told that although no future pop-up stores are planned, Motorola's ready to plan and open one quickly wherever and whenever it makes sense to do so -- like when Nokia decides to open a shop in your hometown, for example.
The concept of Destination Q is to showcase a different aspect of the Q's capabilities at different kiosks, like this one. All the Qs were on, activated, and accessible to the average Joe coming in off the street.
Like we said, Motorola was not shy about this store existing solely to showcase the Q, and they were everywhere. Yes, this is a wall of Qs. And yes, they are all operational.
Not an XPRT with vowels, apparently, but this gentleman knew his stuff about the Q. He let it slip that AKU2 is still in testing, but yes -- it's definitely on its way.
Most of the staff were sporting slightly different Qs with light silver bezels (as opposed to VZW's dark bezels) that we were told were pre-production. We had hypothesized that they might be GSM units (gasp!), but we caught one of them without the battery installed and there was nary a SIM slot to be seen.
An entire kiosk was devoted to the Q's media capabilities -- video in particular. Orb (pictured) and Sling players were loaded on several of the units here. Video was mostly clipping along at 9 fps while we watched, but it spiked up to 15 fps on several occasions. We're told that the average user can expect 15-17 fps, and to be fair, we have no idea what a hundred in-use Qs in close proximity do to EV-DO speeds.
You can use this, uh, "Brand X" MPEG recorder to get video to your Q. We thought the lack of capitalization on "motorola" was interesting here.
Drop the kiddies off in front of Destination Q's posh Xbox 360 setup while you sign away the next two years of your life to Verizon.
Motorola's other CDMA phones are afterthoughts here, but they're available for sale along with the Q. Their GSM contingent, on the other hand, was missing in action.
The Motorola staff were too wrapped up in their Qs to pay much attention to a grubby Engadget editor. Can't say we blame them. Thanks for the hospitality, guys!
(Cue Jaws theme.) It's coming, Motorola. Right down the street. We can't wait to watch the sparks fly.