Love or hate Motorola you can't help but admire its stunning refusal to create anything genuinely new...
This was perfectly illustrated again yesterday evening when the company had a major launch for... well, nothing much in particular.
Case #1: the headlining product was a special edition 18k gold plated version of its RAZR 2 with 'a luminous, black slate, vacuum metal finish' and 'sensual snake skin texture'. Errrrr?!
Pimp-my-mobile styling aside however, underneath it is the same old RAZR 2 with a 2MP camera, large external screen with touch sensitive music controls, 2GB of onboard memory, thin-ish 12.05mm width and unbelievably mugger-tastic 18k gold tipped earphones.
Case #2: We finally got an official launch of this, the company's latest ROKR music phone - which is, in fact, just a spruced up PEBL.
Dubbed the 'U9', this acoustically inclined ex-PEBL comes with a 2MP camera, just 25MB of onboard memory (though there is a microSD slot) and support for the usual MP3, AAC, AAC+ and AAC+ enhanced file formats. In an act of madness however Motorola has neglected to fit the plastic surgery-ed PEBL with a 3.5mm jack meaning we'll all need to buy miniUSB to 3.5mm adaptors if we want to use our own earphones with it.
So that was the 'headliners' over with and lastly we were treated to a rash of numerically confusing entry levellers: the W156, W160, W175, W180, W206, W213 (above) and W377. The W377 is the best of the bunch with an FM radio, MP3 playback and a VGA camera and from here on it's all downhill with the W206 and W213 allowing downloads of 'up to 1MB of wallpaper, screensavers and ringtones' while the W175 and W180 have an FM radio and T9 predictive text messaging and the W156 and W160 just the radio.
Ultimately, I've ranted and raved many times already about the lack of innovation in Motorola's consumer line-up so I can't be bothered to do it again. Instead I have just one gentle message to tell its execs: WAKE UP!