Lenovo to phase out Motorola brand from phones

In an interview at CES 2016 Lenovo confirmed that it is commencing the process of phasing out the Motorola brand from handsets, but it’s not quite goodbye Moto.

The admission was made by Motorola CEO Rick Osterloh to the tech site Cnet, who said “We’ll slowly phase out Motorola and focus on Moto.” It seems that Lenovo plans to retain ‘Moto’ as a sub-brand for its higher-end smartphones, but the brand that has been associated with mobile handsets from the beginning will soon be no more, it seems.

Coming just a year or so after Microsoft jettisoned the Nokia brand from its smartphones this move is significant more for its symbolism than for any likely material effect on the smartphone market. Motorola had struggled throughout the smartphone era, despite being early to the Android party, which is why the devices business was sold first to Google, then to Lenovo.

Just as with Nokia and Microsoft it could be argued that Lenovo is dropping the stronger mobile brand, but it seems sacrifices need to be made in the name of brand continuity.

In other news it seems the ties between Lenovo and Google over Motorola remain strong with the former was announced as the first OEM partner for Google’s Project Tango, which is some kind of augmented reality cleverness that also allows the phone to sense its environment and location without GPS.

“By adding a few extra sensors and some computer vision software, Project Tango transforms your smartphone into a magic lens that lets you place digital information on your physical world,” blogged Johnny Lee, Technical Project Lead for Project Tango.

“To break new ground in today’s hypercompetitive smartphone and tablet industries, we must take innovation risks – it’s the only way to truly change the way people use mobile technology,” said Chen Xudong, President of the Mobile Business Group at Lenovo. “Together with Google we’re breaking down silos by working across mobile hardware and software. Turning our shared vision into reality will create a more holistic product experience that captures the imagination of today’s consumer.”

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