Motorola has spent the last several years carving out a niche for itself as a manufacturer of excellent budget and midrange phones. But its days dealing in devices that rarely exceed $500 are about to come to an end. Motorola says it’s ready to embrace premium phones again, with the price tag to prove it.
The brand will launch a 5G, premium flagship phone, said Francoise LaFlamme, who leads the brand’s global marketing strategy.
And 5G doesn’t come cheap. Motorola isn’t ready to share their price range yet, but Samsung’s cheapest 5G phone, the triple-camera , costs around $800. The is “cheap” at $840.
“If you put out a $399 5G phone, you’re going to have to sacrifice a lot of the elements that people value,” LaFlamme said.
Today, you’ll spend $300 for the budget Verizon, but you’ll only get 5G speeds by buying the 5G Moto Mod for an additional $350., $450 for the new with three cameras and a satin glass backing and $500 for the . But $500 is about where the range stops. Motorola’s own “5G” device, the Moto Z3, costs $480 with
It’s likely that a premium 5G Motorola phone would start in the $800 range, if not higher. Samsung’s feature-packed Galaxy S10 5G
and phones cost $1,300 apiece.
So why the shift to higher-end phones? Motorola, which operates within parent company Lenovo, has just turned a profit for the first time in a decade. Cutting extraneous products, staff and marketing dollars has helped Motorola cut its losses, LaFlamme said. So has focusing on its most important markets, which include the US, UK, Brazil and Mexico.
Now that Motorola is back in the black, it can focus on ramping up the kinds of phones it sells and where it sells them.
Motorola’s move is unsurprising, and well-timed. In the era of 5G phones and foldable designs, sticking with budget and midprice 4G phones is a sure way to get left behind.