Motorola, now owned by Chinese electronics giant Lenovo, will see its iconic brand phased out of its smartphones starting from this year. From 2016, devices will still bear the iconic Motorola “batwing” logo and retain the “Moto” moniker, but will sport the Lenovo brand instead.
The move is largely seen as a way to unify Motorola’s product line-up to co-exist with Lenovo’s. In fact, whispers of this announcement have been around since last year’s Lenovo Tech World, where it was stated that the initial plan was to use the Motorola brand in markets where it is strong – such as the US – while Lenovo-branded smartphones would be sold in emerging markets where the cost of a product outweighs brand loyalty. This allows both Motorola and Lenovo smartphones to be sold without any direct competition; both companies’ smartphone portfolio go from the very cheap to the flagship.
This strategy has obviously shifted since then, where Lenovo will now feature the Moto models, such as the Moto X, for the high-end portfolio, while the Chinese company’s Vibe series of smartphones will appeal to the mid- and low-end price points. Hence, in a way the essence of Motorola will remain – only the brand will cease to appear on its products. That said, Motorola says that its brand has not appeared on its smartphones since 2013 – only the “batwing” logo appears. The Motorola name will also remain as a corporate entity of Lenovo.
More importantly, both companies can leverage on each other’s distribution channels. In markets where Motorola has strong network relations, Lenovo can begin distributing its Vibe series of smartphones; the same applies for Motorola.
This move will likely draw some elements of nostalgia from those old enough to remember the iconic Motorola RAZR series of flip phones in the early 2000s, or the fact that Motorola created the first cellphone 40 years ago – the DynaTAC. Just like Nokia in 2014 – when Microsoft announced that all its future smartphones will be known as Microsoft Lumia – the phasing out of Motorola is another symbolic moment for the mobile industry.