Skip to main content

Motorola’s old team now designs all Lenovo phones, has big plans for Moto Maker

moto by lenovo an explanation motorola maker news
Image used with permission by copyright holder
In an effort to clear up confusion about Motorola’s new branding after its acquisition — “Moto by Lenovo” — Motorola president, Rick Osterloh, held a Q&A with Digital Trends and a few other publications to discuss the future of the Moto brand. The message was, at times, clear: the Moto brand is not disappearing, but it is now only one of many Lenovo brands, like Vibe, Yoga, ThinkPad, and others.

Say hello to the new Moto

Moto is now one of two major Lenovo smartphone brands. All high-end phones going forward will be branded Lenovo Moto and carry the familiar batwings M logo, and the Lenovo Vibe brand will retain its prominence in China, and serve as a budget brand in most countries.

All high-end phones going forward will be branded Lenovo Moto and carry the familiar batwings M logo

Moto was described as the trend-setting innovation brand, attracting sophisticated smartphone buyers, while the Vibe brand attracts more of the first-time smartphone owners and folks who seek out lower prices or don’t care about high-end features.

Internally at Lenovo though, the old Motorola company is running all of mobile these days. The companies have been gradually merging to a greater extent, it was made clear that the Moto team would continue to be the engine driving new smartphone and wearable designs, no matter the brand, much like Pixar now helps run a variety of Disney divisions after its purchase, but still releases its own Pixar-branded movies.

Recent news: Lenovo Vibe K5 and K5 Plus are Android smartphones that won’t break your budget

But other than taking on new brands and working with Lenovo’s Chinese teams, “there’s basically no change from what we were doing with Google,” Osterloh suggested. Though, he did talk about the advantages of working together with Lenovo, such as in-house factories, greater joint-buying power to bring prices down and gain access to the latest technologies, and the wider scale and reach of the Chinese manufacturer. The word “synergy” was uttered at least a dozen times.

Moto G and Moto E are here to stay

Osterloh also reiterated that the cheap and affordable Moto G and Moto E lines will continue even though the role of budget phone is being taken over by the Vibe brand in many regions. There are no plans to bring the Vibe range to the U.S. right not, but he didn’t rule that out in the future.

“Price points in the U.S. are finding new lows,” Osterloh told us. “Lower priced phones are getting better and better and better.”

Moto G Image used with permission by copyright holder

He didn’t seem concerned about any conflict, using a popular retail clothing chain as an example: “Gap and Banana Republic have overlapping price points too.”

The company returned to profitability last quarter and has been making serious gains in markets like Brazil, Mexico, and India. The big target going forward, though, is the world’s largest smartphone market: China. Osterloh is hoping Lenovo can help Motorola make inroads into the high-end market in Europe, too.

A better, richer Moto Maker

One exciting revelation from Osterloh concerned Motorola’s commitment to customization with Moto Maker, an online website that lets you customize your Motorola phones to be different colors and finishes. He suggested the program may even expand in its reach to enable people to customize the hardware (for example, screen sizes or processors) inside Moto phones and not just the look. The platform will also come to more Moto phones and more countries around the world in the coming months, and years, as well.

We can also expect to see more wearables from Moto in the future, but all tablets will be branded under the Lenovo name.

In a final, somewhat confusing, move, we were told that even though the upcoming Lenovo Tango phone, which has advanced motion-detecting capabilities that clearly seem on-target for Motorola, it may not fall under the Moto brand.

After the Q&A session ended, we left happy that the Moto X, G, and E phones will continue, along with the Verizon Droid phones, but sad about the future of Motorola. Once a titan of the phone world, it is now mainly a brand buzzword — one of Lenovo’s 6+ mobile brands. It’s on the same level as Vibe, Yoga ThinkPad, Phab, and Medion.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
Best refurbished iPhone deals: Get an iPhone 14 for $469
An iPhone 13 in white color option.

The Apple iPhone is almost universally regarded as one of the best phones you can buy, and if you’re looking for a brand new model, there are plenty of iPhone deals out there to shop. But if you want ultimate iPhone savings we recommend shopping refurbished. Refurbished models make for some of the best Apple deals you can shop, with iPhone 14 deals and iPhone SE deals often among them. Refurbished iPhone deals, however, are somewhat scattered across retailers, so we’ve compiled everything you need in order to land some iPhone savings. Reading onward you’ll find all of the details on the best refurbished iPhone deals you can show right now, as well as some information on which generation of iPhone may be best for you. If brand new is what you’re in search of, you can also check out the current iPhone 15 deals.
iPhone XR -- from $156

A refurbished model but one that's unlocked and comes with a full one-year warranty, the Apple iPhone XR is still pretty stylish for its age. It has a large 6.1-inch LCD screen with 1,792 x 828 resolution with Liquid Retina technology ensuring it looks super sharp. Powered by the A12 Bionic chip, it's starting to show its age but still has potential. There's also a 12MP back camera that can shoot 4K videos while the front-facing camera is 7MP and ideal for selfie-taking.

Read more
Your next iPhone could have a feature straight out of a sci-fi movie
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro showing the screens.

Imagine you’ve just purchased Apple’s first foldable iPhone. On your way home from the local Apple Store, the phone slips out of your hands and falls onto the pavement, causing a small dent. While you could go back and pay Apple to repair it, there might be another solution: letting the phone repair itself.

The paragraph above certainly paints a picture of an Apple product many years away. Yet, some recently published Apple patents have been discovered that suggest future iPhones could have the ability to self-repair themselves.

Read more
The best iPad Air cases in 2024
The TORRO iPad Air case.

For the first time in the product’s history, the iPad Air (2024) is now available in two sizes: 11-inch and 13-inch. Featuring the M2 chipset, the tablet includes a 12MP wide camera for 4K video and a 12MP landscape ultrawide front camera. It also supports the all-new Apple Pencil Pro.

Whether you've purchased one of these versions or an older iPad Air model, such as the fifth-generation iPad Air, buying a case to protect your investment is a good idea. Here are our favorite iPad Air cases.

Read more