Switched On: Motorola’s manic modularity | Wifi Walker, J B Chaparal Properties

Switched On: Motorola’s manic modularity

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a mainstay about consumer technology.

When newly eccentric Motorola Mobility introduced a Atrix handset on ATT during CES, a smartphone was generally well-received. But what drew some-more courtesy was a operation of accessories that a association has continued to support by other high-end launches such as those of a Photon on Sprint and a Droid Bionic on Verizon.

These products now embody a automobile wharf for navigation, HDMI wharf for entertainment, and lapdock for extended productivity. Motorola wasn’t a initial association to deliver an HDMI dock, and Asus’ Padfone embeds a handset some-more directly into another device than do Motorola’s products. Taken together, though, a Motorola wharf derby best positions a handset as a heart of a mobile lifestyle — one that can be simply transplanted so that it can overcome a stipulations of a local form factor. It is a wise pull for one of a few smartphone companies not vested in other normal electronic inclination such as PCs or televisions.

With a recover of a Droid RAZR, Motorola hearkens behind to a thinness and constructional firmness of a once extravagantly renouned featurephone. Of course, a new smartphone is generations forward of a namesake flip phone in terms of program sophistication. But a new era of Motorola accessories make a box that even smartphones have their limits. At a Droid RAZR launch, a association also announced MOTOACTV, a wearable shade that not usually competes with a remarkable slew of aptness activity monitors yet also acts as a remote user interface for notifications and song control, identical to Sony Ericsson’s LiveView.

MOTOACTV isn’t a usually pretence that Motorola has during a finish of a sleeve, though. The square-screened device also communicates around Bluetooth to one of dual headphone sets that not usually play song from a phone, yet embody sensors to magnitude your heartbeat. (The headphones can also paint your heartbeat audibly though a MOTOACTV.) With a threesome of a smartphone, Bluetooth headphones and a MOTOACTV, Motorola is selling a initial genuine personal area network directed during consumers.

The association that began a year treating a smartphone as a molecular building retard now seems to be violation it into atoms strewn about your person. But both a incomparable and smaller accessories (and a accessories’ accessories, that embody a MOTOACTV wrist strap, armband and bike mount) both simply enhance what defines a complicated smartphone. In a box of a lapdock or HDMI dock, it’s a display. In a box of heartbeat-monitoring headphones or an outmost shade like a MOTOACTV, it’s a distance and sensors.

At a launch of a MOTOACTV, Motorola wouldn’t dedicate as to either it would open adult a device to third-party development, yet there’s already a series of companies — during slightest some of that are also regulating Android — vigilant on formulating watch-sized inclination with a far-reaching operation of brands. That query has been a prolonged one, yet what Motorola’s modularity demonstrates is that a smartphone program is apropos so entwined in a lives that they are seeping out from a proportions of a singular device.

Ross Rubin (@rossrubin) is executive executive and principal researcher of a NPD Connected Intelligence use during The NPD Group. Views voiced in Switched On are his own.

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