Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - FRONT PAGE - By Nidhi Sin­gal

Mo­torola isn’t alien to In­dia. Be­fore the iPhone mad­ness, Mo­torola with its Razr se­ries ruled the mar­ket. Even with An­droid, Mo­torola smart­phones were fairly pop­u­lar and they did of­fer some in­no­va­tive fea­tures like Back­Flip. When Google ac­quired this pop­u­lar brand, Mo­torola wrapped up its hand­set busi­ness and ex­ited the mar­ket. But a team was still based out of the coun­try. Mo­torola has now made a strong come­back to In­dia, in its unique way.

Back with a Bang

Last year, when Mo­torola was a Google com­pany, it an­nounced a cou­ple of An­droid hand­sets. The Moto G and the Moto X were an in­stant hit abroad. With Moto X, the com­pany launched the Moto Maker, which made it spe­cial. It al­lowed cus­tomers in Amer­ica to choose the back panel and the stor­age, which made it spe­cially cus­tomised for them.

All this while, we longed for th­ese phones to come to In­dia too. Fi­nally, in Fe­bru­ary this year, Mo­torola made a come­back and that too with a bang. The com­pany launched its pop­u­lar Moto G first. The day it got launched in In­dia, the news of Len­ovo ac­quir­ing Mo­torola’s hard­ware busi­ness was also an­nounced. With all the spec­u­la­tion, the Moto G came and sold like hot cakes. Within an hour of go­ing on sale at mid­night, 20,000 units were sold out on Flip­kart. This suc­cess pushed Mo­torola to get its Moto X into the mar­ket. While the com­pany in­tro­duced this phone, it only got in a few vari­ants of the back cover and not the Moto Launcher.

With just two smart­phones in its In­dian port­fo­lio, the third launch was a spe­cial one. To an­nounce the launch of Moto E, Mo­torola had or­gan­ised press con­fer­ences in a few se­lected coun­tries and the phone was un­veiled to the world for the first time in In­dia.

Clever Moves

When Mo­torola re-en­tered In­dia, the mar­ket was dom­i­nated by do­mes­tic hand­set man­u­fac­tur­ers. Con­sumers had plenty of op­tions but not many from the global play­ers. Mo­torola was ag­gres­sive with its pric­ing and it stirred the mar­ket. The Moto G was an in­stant best seller. Af­ter the suc­cess of the Moto E, all the com­pe­ti­tion, in­clud­ing global play­ers such as HTC and Sony, rolled out low-cost hand­sets. Mo­torola pre­ferred e-com­merce site Flip­kart over off­line re­tail and the strat­egy worked. Within five months, Mo­torola claims to have sold more than a mil­lion smart­phones in In­dia.

The Glitch

The suc­cess story had a down­side, too. While the com­pany was do­ing amaz­ingly well, some ship­ments of Moto G had some is­sues. In June, many users com­plained about re­ceiv­ing units that would not reg­is­ter on the car­rier net­work. Mo­torola was ac­tive enough to re­place the units and fix the is­sues. The com­pany quickly re­sponded to the cus­tomers on the Mo­torola fan page on Face­book. While the com­pany said that the is­sue was re­solved, some cus­tomers were still re­ceiv­ing faulty units. But then, that hap­pens with all the com­pa­nies. At least, Mo­torola is ac­tive enough to re­spond to the cus­tomers.

Google or Len­ovo?

While ev­ery­one wel­comed Mo­torola’s come­back to the coun­try, a cou­ple of ques­tions come to mind. Is Mo­torola now a Google com­pany or part of Chi­nese PC maker Len­ovo? Who will take care of af­ter-sales ser­vice? Re­cently, at a meet­ing with Len­ovo, I asked th­ese ques­tions to com­pany of­fi­cials. The re­sponse was sim­ple. At this mo­ment, Mo­torola is a Google com­pany. Af­ter the ac­qui­si­tion is com­plete, Mo­torola will be un­der Len­ovo. But as of now, no one knows the time­line for the same.

Smart De­vices:

Moto E: The most af­ford­able of the lot. It has sparked a fire in the low-cost smart­phone space. It might not be the best de­vice in its seg­ment but is worth con­sid­er­ing.

Moto G: The most pop­u­lar of them all, though some buy­ers com­plained about re­ceiv­ing a dead unit while oth­ers faced net­work is­sues. Mo­torola has quickly fixed th­ese prob­lems. This is among the best bud­get phones avail­able.

Mo­torola Moto X: It dom­i­nates the phone seg­ment priced be­low ` 25,0000. Some users com­plained about the dual core pro­ces­sor, but there isn’t any lag in per­for­mance. It also fea­tures unique fea­tures such as Ok and Google Now.

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