informa
/
2 MIN READ
Commentary

Zander Bets Big on 3G Networks

This morning's announcement of Motorola's new product lineup for 2007 represented the greatest comeback since, uhh, last night, when the Phoenix Suns outscored the San Antonio Spurs 12-1 over the last couple of minutes to tie up their NBA playoff series. Whether the new mobile phones will have a similar effect on Ed Zander's career prospects remains to be seen.
This morning's announcement of Motorola's new product lineup for 2007 represented the greatest comeback since, uhh, last night, when the Phoenix Suns outscored the San Antonio Spurs 12-1 over the last couple of minutes to tie up their NBA playoff series. Whether the new mobile phones will have a similar effect on Ed Zander's career prospects remains to be seen.While carpers pointed out that most of these phones had already been announced - and that the Razr2 is, as you might guess, just a new version of the company's popular Razr phone - I give Zander and his team props for rolling the dice not just on the Razr brand but on advanced 3G wireless networking technology, with the multimedia Z8 device.

Like the Nokia N95 and the upcoming iPhone from Apple, the Z8 is less mobile phone than a wireless computer in a handset. Packaged in a unique "kick-slider" form factor, the Z8 boasts powerful features for not just consuming but creating, sharing and uploading video and photos.

"The Z8 addresses many of the user desires that the iPhone addresses, with the potential for a much faster network," Info-Tech Research Group senior wireless analyst Carmi Levy told me.

Therein lies the rub for Motorola. The Z8, which runs over 3G HSDPA networks, was promoted today as being "twice as fast as its nearest competitor." Well, that's true if you're in Europe, where several carriers support HSDPA networks. On this side of the pond, AT&T (nee Cingular) is the only carrier that supports HSDPA, and it caps network speeds at below 1 Mbit/s. So you can paste Motorola for showcasing a product that won't even be available in this country until who knows when, or you can give Zander credit for being forward thinking and future-oriented and all that jazz, betting the future of the company on 3G networks that aren't even up and running yet in the U.S.

In a sense, this is another slingshot effect from the company's Razr saga: Motorola had such a runaway hit on its hands that, like a moviemaker working on "Die Hard 4" while its competitors are bringing out exciting new action movies, it allowed rivals Nokia and Samsung (and now Apple) to leap ahead with powerful new multimedia devices. Now Zander is obviously determined not to repeat that error.

Personally, I wish him luck.

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing