Motorola is a name that makes us quite nostalgic. This American MNC has not only made its mark on the tech industry but also on people’s hearts. If we went about asking everyone about what Motorola means to them, the answers would vary. There would probably be a few who'd be indifferent, but for most others, the brand would hold a special place in their chain of memories.
After numerous years of innovation, the name Motorola is going away and its devices would only bear Moto branding under its parent company Lenovo. So how about we give it the proper send-off to show how grateful we are for everything Motorola has brought on the table? We’ll be counting down the devices crafted by Motorola which have been on the top of the innovation pyramid at different points in time.
9. Motorola DynaTAC 8000X (1984)
8. MicroTAC 9800X (1989)
7. Motorola Razr V3 (2004)
6. Motorola Rizr Z3 (2006)
5. Motorola Rokr E1 (2004)
4. Motorola ZINE ZN5
3. Motorola W233 (2009)
2. Moto X 1st-gen (2013)
1. Motorola Moto G 1st-gen (2014)
Mobile phone calls were still not a thing in the 1980s. This was the point where Motorola swooped in and introduced the first commercial portable handset dubbed the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. Granted that it was immensely large to be called portable but for people living in that age, it was a boon. The device provided roughly 30 minutes of talk time after a full charge. In partnership with the Bell Labs, the company introduced AMPS, the first ever cellular network in the US.
On April 25th, 1989, Motorola introduced the MicroTAC 9800X, the successor to the DynaTAC line. This new phone from Motorola sported a unique ‘flip’ design where the ‘mouthpiece’ was folded over the keypad. The device wasn’t just an upgrade in regards of design but for various other factors too. It was significantly lighter and more portable than its predecessor, giving it the title of the lightest handset around at that period of time. It also housed a 8-character dot matrix display allowing it to show considerably more information than the DynaTAC line. The innovation continued as Motorola spanned several other variants of the MircoTAC, the most notable ones being the MicroTAC Lite and the MicroTAC Ultra-Lite.
Alright, who remembers being excited for the Motorola Razr V3? Well, we most certainly do. We remember everything from the ‘Hello, Moto’ splash screen that appeared on boot to the tiny display on the flap of the device which notified you of any incoming calls or events. Ever since Motorola launched the device back in 2004, It became a trend among the youth of that age to own the handset, which resulted in a whopping 130 million units sold making it the best selling clamshell phone in the world up to this very date. All we know is that the Motorola Razr V3 was the best-looking phone in its age.
As Motorola took hold on most of the market, Samsung and LG played their hand trying to grab a share too. 2006 saw the slide form factor in a device become a trend for many OEMs where the user could just push back a plastic bar below the screen to reveal the keypad. In July of the same year Motorola released the Motorola Rizr Z3, a slider phone, following the footsteps of the Motorola Razr V3 in regards to design and other features. This turned out to be a great strategy as is was very well received by consumers from all around the world. The Motorola Rizr Z3 brought us a step closer to the smartphones of the next generation by throwing in little but significant features.
Android and Apple have been been going head-to-head for quite a while now, Both sides have generated considerable amount of supporters debating for their respective sides but despite the conflicts there has been one moment where all of them came together to appreciate what was happening. It was back in December 2004 when Motorola released the Rokr E1, which was first ever phone to be integrated with Apple’s iTunes music player even before it became a major part of Apple’s own iPhone launch in 2007. The Motorola Rokr E1 was a candy bar style phone which provided a base for iTunes to be tested and to be improved before becoming a part of Apple’s soon-to-be famous iPhone line.
Came November of 2008 and with it arrived with another ‘first’ by Motorola, this time being the Motorola Zine ZN5... the first 5.0 MP camera phone subsidised on a major US carrier. The device featured Motorola’s ModeShift technology, first introduced with the Motorola Rokr E8, which let users utilise every function of the phone more efficiently and easily. This technology allowed consumers to shift between three ‘modes’ - the phone mode, the camera mode and the music player mode. The Motorola Zine ZN5 did not stop there, it also incorporated Kodak’s Imaging and Perfect Touch technology allowing for much brighter and sharper shots.
The Motorola W233, also known as the Motorola Renew, was next on the list. The phone was introduced at CES 2009 on January 6th. This time it wasn’t about the features that the device exhibited, it was all about the being green. The Motorola W233 was the first phone made using post-consumer recycled plastic. Not only this, It was also touted to be the world’s first carbon neutral phone. The ‘Go green’ theme extended much beyond the device, as the phone cut on the packaging too, All the materials inside the box were printed using vegetable-based inks on 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. Motorola also gave consumers the option to send off their old phones for recycling purposes at no extra cost.
A few years later, the Motorola Moto X became a major link for Motorola’s rise back to the top. With the Moto X, it was all about customisability and innovation. With the introduction of the Moto Maker, users could go wild with their imagination while ordering the phone as it offered a vast array of custom options to change the smartphone’s look as desired by the users. This wasn’t even the highlight there, the innovation was the touchless control and Active Display. Motorola’s touchless control allowed users to operate the device without actually holding it, i.e. via voice recognition, even when the screen was locked.
Motorola’s next aim was to redefine the mid-range market, and to do the same it introduced a new letter to their Moto line – the Motorola Moto G. Soon it became the smartphone that OEMs looked up to while designing a mid-ranger for the market. It wasn’t about how the handset stacked up on paper but about how it worked for the users in real life and hands down, it provided the best user experience among all the mid-rangers that were available at that time. Motorola included almost no bloatware to ensure a snappy and fluid Nexus-like experience which was expected as now it had Google at its roots.