Motorola AURA: a halo effect?
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Whether or not you regard the new Motorola
AURA as an awesome piece of engineering or an
overpriced piece of junk, it seems quite likely that
this particular handset will generate plenty of positive
news stories for Motorola, even if it does look a little
like a set of bathroom
The word "Aura" is interesting.. it can
mean many things, for example, a halo. But Cathartes
aura is also a type of vulture (the Turkey
Buzzard) which doesn't bode well. So what kind of
aura are we talking about?
Motorola's last big announcement, the MOTOZINE
ZN5 was in many ways a crushing disappointment. And Motorola
watchers will be used to a succession of handsets that
failed to turn around that troubled company's fortunes.
So, can the AURA do any better?
At $2000, the AURA is not intended as a mass-market
device. The precise engineering and expensive materials
used to build it should ensure that it always remains
an exclusive handset, even though the price will almost
definitely drop after it has been around for a while.
We don't know how much profit Motorola will be making
on the AURA, but the sales volume will probably never
amount to much.
But perhaps the AURA is about something different
- it is Motorola's way of saying "hey look, we
can be cool too!".. and just perhaps it will have
a "halo effect" on the rest of the range.
After all, if the Motorola AURA is cool, perhaps other
Motorola handsets are cool too?
So, are other Motorolas cool? Umm, well.. at a stretch
you might say that some of them are a little bit cool.
After all, the Motorola ZINE ZN5 does have a brilliant
camera, the KRAVE ZN4's external touchscreen is extremely
clever (even if we can't quite see what it is for).
Some earlier phones such as the Z10 have some pretty
good features. But cool? Maybe a little bit.. but certainly
not iPhone cool.
Remember that when the RAZR came out (and also the
StarTAC), prices were very high indeed. Part of the
excitement about the RAZR was the exclusive price tag..
of course this steadily dropped to the point where you
can buy a new one for next to nothing today. But the
AURA will always be expensive because of the time-consuming
and very precise engineering needed, and low sales volumes
will tend to drive the price up higher.. after all,
exactly who else is going to need a 1.55" circular
Perhaps Motorola have something else up their sleeves..
perhaps a cut-down version of the AURA made from more
traditional materials? If this is the case, then maybe
the plan with the AURA is to create a "buzz"..
and then Motorola will come up with something cheaper
with more mass-market appeal. Just as a price comparison
to the $2000 Motorola AURA, the Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte
currently retails for about $1600 SIM-free, and the
somewhat cheaper (but still expensive) standard 8800
Arte is around $1000. There are very few handsets more
expensive than the AURA.
We really do hope that the AURA is the sign of better
things to come from Motorola. We do know that Motorola
are assembling quite a large team to work on the Android
platform, and some other recent devices show promise.
So perhaps, just perhaps, Motorola is not quite as doomed
as we predicted.