The Motorola Devour: Another Step Backwards in the Mobile Market

by Matt Klassen on March 8, 2010

With its impending release on Verizon’s network, the Motorola Devour becomes the company’s second Android based phone on America’s leading wireless carrier. Despite this phone already receiving an interesting mix of reviews by tech analysts across the country, it is further evidence of a strange trend in the world of mobile phones.

Companies looking to make a big splash in the market or to revitalize their struggling brands are unveiling new and innovative technology with surprising speed. From the Palm Pre to Windows Phone 7, these advanced devices have pushed the boundaries of what a mobile phone can do and advanced the entire market considerably as, naturally, competitors rush to catch up.

However, amidst this technological progression there is, simultaneously, a confusing regression in the mobile world. Similar to Microsoft’s mind-boggling strategy surrounding the secretive Project Pink (Turtle) phone or the baffling release of the Palm Pixi, Motorola is releasing the Devour on the heels of its widely popular and technologically innovative Droid.

The issue is, while the Devour looks like the Droid and, for the most part, acts like the Droid, it runs an older version of the Android OS (v1.6 rather than the Droid’s v2.1), it’s bulkier than the Droid, and, at first blush, it seems to have less functionality. That, coupled with the clunky, communist stylings of the phone, seems to put this new mobile at a great disadvantage before its even been released.

Along with the Turtle, the Motorola Devour seems to specifically target consumers who want to use their phone for social networking purposes. Unlike Motorola’s premier device, the Devour runs the Motoblur interface on top of its stock operating system. It’ll be the first Android device on Verizon to feature the popular Motoblur skin.

Simply stated, Motoblur allows you to conveniently organize your various social networking accounts into one Motoblur account, and from there the program collects and organizes all your various contact lists and condenses all that information into a single listing that provides a simple way to keep track of those people you wish to follow or communicate with.

With the appeal to social networking junkies aside, what’s the market for this phone? Motorola is marketing it as the affordable option, but in the tech world that’s always a euphemism for garbage. The Devour is not only a step behind the Droid, it’s only $50 cheaper on Verizon with a two year contract, and further, it’s not even small enough to fit in a man’s pocket or a woman’s clutch. It is clearly just another example of mobile companies trying to dupe the public into buying an inferior product.

This sort of marketing is akin to Apple releasing a 4thgen version of the iPad before releasing the 1st gen, it simply makes no sense. Only the ignorant and foolish would purchase the lesser device, and when they discovered their mistake they would probably never buy from that company again.

While there certainly are dangers with putting all your eggs into one mobile basket as Apple has done, at least it prevents the saturation of the mobile market with lesser products. This continuing technological regression is simply corporate laziness, the unwillingness to continue to advance phone technology in the interest of a quick cash grab. And I, for one, am not falling for it…this time.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jordan Richardson March 8, 2010 at 5:46 am

I’m not sure that simplicity or “less” components or “less advanced” technology always marks “regression” with these types of products. Sometimes a simpler approach can mean a more streamlined experience for customers, as there is a rather significant portion of market share available for those who don’t necessarily kowtow to the latest-and-greatest in tech gadgets.

With the tech world changing and “evolving” by the day, I’m sure many customers simply find comfort in taking on a product that is simpler and more usable than some of these other more advanced products. I don’t buy that it is laziness that brings companies to develop these sorts of products. Instead, I think it’s the answer to the “too fast, too soon” tech approach that so many companies attempt to box their clientele in.

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