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MWC 2014: Motorola Plans Wearable Devices For Lenovo

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Motorola executives at MWC say prospective owner Lenovo will have more “urgency” than Google – and will back its wearable tech

Motorola has taken to the stage at Mobile World Congress to discuss the company’s future plans following its announced acquisition by Lenovo.

Although it didn’t have any products on display at the event, several Motorola executives took part in a panel discussion press event where it was revealed that the company plans to have several wearable technology devices on sale this year.

“It’s our intention to deliver some interesting wearable products this year,” Senior VP Rick Osterloh said, although he said that the devices were still very much in the development stage and was unable to provide any details on release dates or price.

“We are trying to solve some real user problems,” he continued. “There are no wearable products that you want to wear. They are all extremely ugly.”

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The company does have some experience with wearable technology, having previously released the MotoACTV smartwatch alongside the Droid RAZR phone. The device, which included GPS functionality to act as an activity tracker, suffered from poor battery life and unwieldy design, however, and was discontinued last year.

Motorola was rumoured to be building a smartwatch for its current owner Google to be released later this year, but the contract seems instead to have gone to LG, leaving the company free to design its own device.

The company could be forgiven for going through a bit of a transitional phase after Google announced plans to sell it to Lenovo and the subsequent departure of its CEO Dennis Woodside, who left to join Dropbox, but the Motorola executives professed they were excited to begin working with the Chinese manufacturer.

Working with Google, whilst offering obvious benefits in terms of funding and resources, also lowered the sense of efficiency and urgency, according to Motorola’s Steve Horowitz, senior VP of software engineering.  He expressed excitement in working for a company that was “truly focused on mobile”, saying that Google, “wanted us to be successful but they never truly needed us to be successful”.

Osterloh also mentioned the possibility of Motorola products, specifically the Moto X smartphone, going on sale for the first time in China. The company had previously been unable to sell its devices in the country due to being part of Google, but following its takeover by Lenovo, however, the situation is ready to change, with Osterloh saying that an entry to the Chinese market as, “a really exciting opportunity”.

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