Motorola went BIG and small with the launch of the new RAZR HD, RAZR Maxx HD, and RAZR M on September 5. The big question is; will it be enough for them to grow their share among the market leading Verizon Wireless subscriber base with the iPhone 5 rumored for release this month? While the initial Droid RAZR sold fairly well, Motorola is looking to re-capture the hay-day of the 2009 DROID launch. At the launch event they went as far as to reference Neil Armstrong’s use of Motorola technology on the moon, their development of the first cell phone in the 70s, and more.
The 4G LTE RAZR HD and the RAZR Maxx HD are slated for launch around Thanksgiving and pricing hasn’t been announced. These phones are quite similar, each with a 4.7-inch Super AMOLED HD screen, dual-core S4 processor, Jelly Bean upgradeable, and they are the first phones to come pre-loaded with the Google Chrome browser. What sets them apart is largely the battery where the Maxx is sporting a 3300mAh battery with a claimed 21 hours of talk time compared to the 2500mAh 16 hour talk time of the RAZR HD. The larger battery adds little noticeable weight. The Maxx also has 32GB of memory.
The RAZR M, of which a rep “slipped” and called this 4.3-inch display the “mini” during my demo, is available now for pre-order at $99 (after $50 rebate) and will be in stores by next week. This is not another less expensive phone with fewer features, its jam packed with just about everything the larger versions have. Its smaller screen (still 40% larger than the current iPhone’s 4s screen) is for those that simply don’t think that “bigger is better” applies to the phone in your pocket, hand, or purse.
Will Motorola’s stated “3 big bets” on 1) Speed 2) Power Management and 3) Android, have what it takes for them to gain market share? On the 12 we’re all awaiting the iPhone 5 announcement, Nokia just announced the Windows 8 Lumia 820 and 920, Samsung has garnered significant consumer attention with the Galaxy S III, and HTC is rumored to be launching a new device later this month as well. With all these options becoming available for the 2012 holiday season will this be too little too late for Motorola? The new NPD Connected Intelligence Smartphone Carrier Report sheds light into Motorola’s current Verizon shelf share being 31%. However, Motorola’s share of device ownership among Verizon subscribers is a bit lower at 26%. While the new RAZR family will help to maintain shelf-share, it is unclear if they will result in Motorola increasing their share of device ownership among Verizon subscribers.
Motorola certainly has a fighting chance, with a loyal consumer base as a starting point. However, the handset market may simply be too crowded this holiday season and it’s difficult to say there is a feature of the new RAZR family that will stand out amongst the array of choices that consumers are about to have…only time will tell.