Under Google, Motorola increased its focus on the entry-level smartphone market, and under the Google ATAP division, began development on Project Ara —a platform for modular smartphones with interchangeable components. Shortly after the purchase, Google sold Motorola Mobility's cable modem and set-top box business to Arris Group. Google's ownership of the company was short-lived. In August , Lenovo's existing smartphone division was subsumed by Motorola Mobility, and in November , Lenovo announced that it would discontinue its existing, self-branded smartphone lines in favor of Motorola-branded devices.
On January 4, , Motorola Inc. At the time, the company had 17, patents, with 7, patents pending. On August 13, , Google announced that it would cut 4, employees and close one third of the company's locations, mostly outside the US.
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At its peak, the factory employed 3, workers. Under Google ownership, Motorola's market share would be boosted by a focus on high-quality entry-level smartphones, aimed primarily at emerging markets ; in the first quarter of , Motorola sold 6. These goals were compounded further by the May introduction of the Moto E —a low-end device aimed at first-time smartphone owners in emerging markets.
Lenovo had prominently disclosed its intent to enter the U. The company remained headquartered in Chicago, and continued to use the Motorola brand, but Liu Jun—president of Lenovo's mobile device business, became the company's chairman. Lenovo maintained a "hands-off" approach in regards to Motorola's product development. Head designer Jim Wicks explained that "Google had very little influence and Lenovo has been the same. In August , Lenovo announced that it would merge its existing smartphone division, including design, development, and manufacturing, into the Motorola Mobility unit.
The announcement came in addition to a cut of 3, jobs across the entire company.
In January , Lenovo announced that the "Motorola" name would be further downplayed in public usage in favor of the "Moto" brand. Motorola Mobility later clarified that the "Motorola" brand will continue to be used in product packaging and through its brand licensees. The company said that "the Motorola legacy is near and dear to us as product designers, engineers and Motorola employees, and clearly it's important to many of you who have had long relationships with us.
We plan to continue it under our parent company, Lenovo. In response to claims by a Lenovo executive that only high-end devices would be produced under the "Moto" name, with low-end devices being amalgamated into Lenovo's existing "Vibe" brand, Motorola Mobility clarified its plans and explained that it would continue to release low-end products under the Moto brand, including the popular Moto G and Moto E lines.
Motorola stated that there would be overlap between the Vibe and Moto lines in some price points and territories, but that both brands would have different "identities" and experiences. Moto devices would be positioned as "innovative" and "trendsetting" products, and Vibe would be a "mass-market challenger brand".
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In November , it was reported that Lenovo would be branding all its future smartphones under the brand "Moto by Lenovo". Under Lenovo, Motorola has faced criticism for having an increasingly poor commitment to maintaining Android software updates for its devices, exemplified by negative responses to a announcement that Android "Pie" updates to the Moto Z2 Force in the United States would only be available to the Verizon Wireless model.
Motorola released other phones based on the Razr design as part of the 4LTR line. The Razr series was marketed until July , when the succeeding Motorola Razr2 series was released. The new models were the V8, the V9, and the V9m. Because Motorola relied so long upon the Razr and its derivatives   and was slow to develop new products in the growing market for feature-rich touchscreen and 3G phones,  the Razr appeal declined while rival offerings like the LG Chocolate , BlackBerry , and iPhone captured, leading Motorola to eventually drop behind Samsung and LG in market share for mobile phones.
Motorola capitalized on the Razr too long and it was also slow adopting 3G. While Nokia managed to retain its lead of the worldwide cellular market, Motorola was surpassed first by Samsung and then LG Electronics. By Motorola's global market share had dropped to seventh place, leading to speculation of bankruptcy of the company. In , Sanjay Jha took over as co-chief executive officer of Motorola's mobile device division; under Jha's control, significant changes were made to Motorola's mobile phone business, including most prominently, a shift to the recently introduced Android operating system as its sole smartphone platform, replacing both Symbian and Windows Mobile.
The device also featured a user interface known as Motoblur , which aimed to aggregate information from various sources, such as e-mail and social networking services , into a consistent interface. A month later, Motorola unveiled the Droid , Verizon Wireless 's first Android phone, which was released on November 8, Backed with a marketing campaign by Verizon, which promoted the device as a direct competitor to the iPhone with the slogan "iDon't", "Droid Does", the Droid was a significant success for Motorola and Verizon. Flurry estimated that at least , Droid smartphones had been sold in its first week of availability.
PC World considered the sales figures to be an indicator of mainstream growth for the Android platform as a whole. In , Motorola released the Droid X along with other devices such as the Charm , Flipout , and i1. In July , Motorola reported that it had sold 2. Jha stated that the company was in "a strong position to continue improving our share in the rapidly growing smartphone market and [improve] our operating performance.
The Droid Razr featured Kevlar backing, the same used in bulletproof vests , and a Gorilla Glass faceplate. The phone was very successful through Verizon Wireless, and many color variants were released. Though Jha managed to restore some of the lost luster to Motorola Mobility, it struggled against Samsung and Apple. This may have been due to the delay in releasing 4G LTE-capable devices, as well as setting the prices of its new products too high. In an August interview, Motorola Corporate VP of product management Lior Ron explained that the company will focus on the production of fewer products to focus on quality rather than quantity.
Ron stated, "Our mandate from Google, from Larry, is really to innovate and take long-term bets. Media reports suggested that the phone will be able to activate functions preemptively based on an "awareness" of what the user is doing at any given moment.
On July 3, , Motorola released a full-page color advertisement in many prominent newspapers across the US. It claimed that Motorola's next flagship phone will be "the first smartphone designed, engineered, and assembled in the United States". The amount is equivalent to half of Apple's total advertising budget for It was released on August 23, , in the US and Canada. This continued the trend of the company letting consumers customize their devices through their Moto Maker website, and added new customization options like additional real wood choices and new leather options.
The device also got many increases in specs. With a new 5.
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The device also came with new software features along with new infrared proximity sensors. These delays have been attributed to issues including manufacturing issues, lack of parts needed to complete assembly of custom phones black fronts, Verizon SIM cards and 64 GB versions , a possible redesign due to initial phones having a defect that causes one of the front facing speakers to rattle at high volume and multiple day delays clearing US Customs at FedEx's Memphis, TN hub due to issues related to the import paperwork.
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The Moto X Force was launched on October 27, Like other Moto X devices, it was customizable through Moto Maker. This is the first Motorola smartphone that features Motorola's "ShatterShield" technology, which consists of two touchscreen elements, reinforced by an internal aluminum frame to make it resistant to bending and cracking, although this does not protect against scratches or other superficial screen damage.
The top layer of the display is designed to be user-replaceable. The screen and case also have a water repellent nanocoating to protect the device from liquids that could damage internal components. This was also one of the last Motorola phones to be released under Google's ownership. These phones share similar design with the predecessing Droid Razr HD lines in different screen and battery sizes, while all featuring the same Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System as the first-generation Moto X, with exclusive features like Motorola Active Notifications and 'OK Google' on device neural-based voice recognition system.
Instead, Moto Shell with 7 different colors was introduced specifically for the device. On November 13, , Motorola Mobility unveiled the Moto G 1st generation , a relatively low-cost smartphone. It came with a larger screen, higher resolution camera, along with dual front-facing stereo speakers. It retained the same screen as before but upgraded the processor and RAM. The device also has the latest at the time Android Lollipop OS v5. The G6 and G6 Plus have two rear cameras, capable of taking 4k video Plus model only , and a larger screen with an aspect ratio of It has a 6.
The G7 also has two rear cameras, the same as its predecessor. It's said to have a brighter and clearer display than the G6,  but with most of the same features. The G7 also has a heavily upgraded mid-range Snapdragon processor compared with the G6 which has a budget Snapdragon Processor.
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Since its Market entry in , the Moto G Series has continued to provide powerful mid-range smartphones for a budget-friendly price. The Moto E 1st generation was announced and launched on May 13, It was an entry-level device intended to compete against feature phones by providing a durable, low-cost device for first-time smartphone owners or budget-minded consumers, with a particular emphasis on emerging markets.