Amid rumours that handset add-ons initiative is for the axe
Lenovo, which acquired Motorola Mobility in 2014, confirmed in a statement it was taking “worldwide resource action”, despite improving sales in the US.
Rumours last week pegged the layoffs at 30 per cent, and 50 per cent, and further uncorroborated reports suggested the Mods add-ons initiative and the forthcoming X5 flagship have been cancelled. The latter is hard to imagine; it’s more plausible that the Mods accessories will be scaled back rather than scrapped.
Mods are accessories that clip onto the phone magnetically and communicate via pogo pins. Motorola Mods available today include an Alexa smart speaker, JBL speakers, a printer, a projector, a 10x optical lens, and a gamepad controller. That’s more than LG contrived for its LG5, launched as a “modular flagship”. LG subsequently blamed the design for poor sales. But most were announced last year. At MWC this year Motorola presented just two: a QWERTY sliding keyboard and a health accessory.
Mods has been a great idea well executed, but manufacturing in small volumes is expensive for third parties.
Motorola returned to the Top 5 in the US last year, doubling its volumes and market share over the same quarter in 2016. However, Lenovo group smartphone shipments fell 2 per cent year on year.
Details of Moto’s 2017 roadmap leaked in January. With the global smartphone market shrinking for the first time, expect more OEMs to take “resource actions”. ®