Motorola kills launch of new camera phone

Motorola, the world’s second-largest cell phone maker behind Finland’s Nokia , said the V295 phone was not needed and demand would be met in China by two other camera models it already offers, the A760 and E365.

“We killed the program,” Motorola spokesman Alan Buddendeck told Reuters. “Any company, you make strategic decisions about how you’re going to manage the products you bring to market.”

Camera phones — cell phones with integrated digital cameras that consumers can use to snap and send pictures to friends — are the hottest part of the global handset market. However, Motorola has had delays in rolling out some models.

Some analysts rejected the company’s explanation, saying the new phone went through costly research and development, and quality testing. They said it was more likely a technical or competitive issue that killed the launch.

“It doesn’t make a lick of sense because it’s an expensive way of planning your product line,” Charter Equity Research analyst Edward Snyder said of the decision to kill the product weeks before its scheduled launch. “These decisions are normally made on the drawing board before any investment in product.”

Snyder has a “buy” rating on the stock and does not own shares.

Buddendeck declined to say when the V295 decision was made. Its introduction had been scheduled for the fourth quarter and was due to be made by Taiwanese contract manufacturer BenQ Corp.

QUESTIONS RAISED

Yankee Group analyst John Jackson said cell phone models get canceled all the time, including by Nokia, but Motorola’s action has attracted attention given its track record of late product roll-outs.

“Their credibility is questionable because they’ve failed to execute on a number of fronts, so when they do cancel (a product) for legitimate reasons it looks questionable,” he said.

The decision to kill the V295 makes sense, however, because the mid-tier phone echoed another offering, Jackson said. Motorola already offers a high-end model in China and last week launched a low-cost camera phone for Asia and Europe.

Motorola, based in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois, previously said it planned to launch eight new camera phones during the fourth quarter.

Jane Zweig, chief executive of The Shosteck Group, a Washington-based wireless consulting firm, wondered whether quality problems derailed the V295 or Motorola simply wanted to focus on models it builds itself. Buddendeck said the company does not publicly discuss quality issues with suppliers.

Sales of camera phones globally are exploding. They are expected to hit almost 430 million, or 73 percent of the total, in 2007, compared with about 28 million, or 6.5 percent, last year, according to research firm the Yankee Group.

However, in China, where Motorola is the market leader but faces brutal local competition, camera phones are low volume products and consumers still mostly buy low-cost voice phones, Jackson said.

Motorola has struggled with the roll-out of some camera phones. In September, two large customers — Verizon Wireless  and Cingular Wireless — reported delays in receiving camera phones from Motorola in time for the critical holiday selling season.

Another customer, Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. , owned by Asia’s richest tycoon Li Ka-shing, last week pushed back its break-even target for its telecom business due to delays in handset deliveries from several suppliers, including Motorola.   

Source: Reuters

Product Review

With the S10e and S10 Plus, do we really need the Samsung Galaxy S10?

The Galaxy S10 is the middle child in this year’s Galaxy S10 range, between the Galaxy S10e, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. There’s no striking reason to buy it, but it’s still an excellent phone you’ll be happy with.
Mobile

HMD Global admits Nokia 7 Plus handsets sent user data to China

Nokia could be in some hot water. According to recent reports, Nokia 7 models may be secretly sending data to China without the user knowing about it. Nokia says that the issue was a software bug and that it has been fixed.
Mobile

5G's arrival is transforming tech. Here's everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat may be coming soon

At its September event in 2017, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Mobile

Diesel’s denim-inspired smartwatch straps are a casual, colorful must-own

Diesel will release two new versions of the On Full Guard 2.5 smartwatch later this year, with seriously cool, denim-inspired straps in classic Diesel colors. We tried them on at the Baselworld 2019 show.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.
Mobile

How three simple words could be the difference between life and death

What3Words’ app-based address system gives a three-word code to every three-meter-square patch on the planet, with its accuracy and ease of use now catching the attention of first responders in the U.K.
Wearables

Tips and tricks to get you started with your new Fitbit Inspire HR

The Inspire HR may be an entry-level fitness tracker in Fitbit's lineup, but the device still has plenty of features to explore. These are our favorite tips and tricks to help you use the Inspire HR to its fullest potential.
Mobile

The Moto G7 Power, with its massive battery, is now available for purchase

After a number of leaks and rumors, the Motorola Moto G7, Moto G7 Play, and Moto G7 Power are finally here. The devices represent quite a spec bump over the previous-generation Moto G6 phones, yet still come at a reasonable price.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Wearables

The Tacs Nato-Lens is a watch for those who live life through a camera lens

Not all watches have to be round, or connect to your phone. The Tacs Nato-Lens is a stylish piece of wristwear with a design inspired by classic SLR cameras, making it a geeky timepiece for the camera and watch fan.
Mobile

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.