Motorola design chief Jim Wicks recently told PC Magazine that the first wave of products released after Google's acquisition of the company last May will follow a "better is better" philosophy rather than the current "bigger is better" trend. The comment arrives after Google execs previously said that the latest line of Razr smartphones released last fall were built without their input, thus lacking the "wow" factor despite their positive reviews.
According to Wicks, that "wow" quote was missing a lot of context. "It comes off as kind of weird to anyone who hears it for the first time, but there have been follow-up discussions and there's no issues with that at all," he said. "We've been spending the past eight months on this next generation of phones, and we've all seen positive feedback and collaboration around things."
With Motorola now under Google's wing, both parties are working together to produce products with a pure Android experience. That means using a stock, unaltered version of Android that will receive updates when Google releases them. That also means possibly no bloatware on Motorola's end of the smartphone chain because, as Wicks points out, customers want to define their smartphone experience themselves. Of course wireless carriers like Verizon disagree.
"Consumers love what the Android OS can do for them, and they want to have the most recent releases faster," Wicks said. "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. It will be the unadulterated version of Android, and I feel really good about our embracing Android and being the best Android experience."
As for the form factor size, Wicks says there's a certain sweet spot that the two companies are trying to nail down: not too small (iPhone 4S) and not too large (Samsung Galaxy Mega). "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 added. "I think 'just right' is important, and we're designing so we don't disappoint those people."
Motorola wants to move away from the specs war and create devices that focus on customers. Devices should have the narrowest of bezels so that owners see nothing but screen. They should also be highly scratch resistant and drop resistant so that customers aren't locked down to a beaten-up, battered smartphone for years.
Wicks said the company is also shifting away from focusing on carrier exclusives like the DROIDs and Razrs for Verizon and the Atrix line for AT&T. Instead, Motorola will primarily manufacture fewer devices that will be offered on multiple carriers similar to what Samsung is doing with the Galaxy S line. But Wicks said that Motorola will still continue to build new DROID and Razr phones.
"The business is going well for us and for [Verizon]," Wicks said. "We're continuing to do design work on Razr and what that could look like in the future."