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Motorola ZN5: Have Motorola blown their last chance?

 Motorola "Camera Fone" 23rd June 2008
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Way back in January 2006, Motorola and Kodak announced that they were going to collaborate in an "alliance intended to fulfill the promise of mobile imaging for the benefit of consumers". Two and a half years later, Motorola and Kodak have announced the MOTOZINE ZN5 which possibly has the most advanced stills camera in any phone around.

Kodak have certainly pulled their weight with the ZN5, but have Motorola? Moto's contribution to the ZN5 is a GSM phone with WiFi, a pretty standard 2.4" display, no GPS and no 3G.

What were Motorola thinking? Clearly the Nokia N95 and N95 8GB are the phones to compete with, and the N95 was announced almost two years ago. Almost all 5 megapixel camera phones have 3G, and most new ones have GPS as that allows geotagging as well as satellite navigation.

It's not as if Motorola can't make decent phones - put the Kodak 5 megapixel camera in a platform like the Z10 or a UMTS version of the A1800 and you would have a handset that's hard to beat. Motorola can clearly do 3.5G, GPS and now decent cameras, so why not put everything in one handset?

In essence, the Motorola MOTOZINE ZN5 looks like two devices crudely stuck together - a decent digital camera and a pretty dull GSM phone. Yes, the camera can use the WiFi to upload images and it can also utilize the built-in Bluetooth to print, but this could all have been so much better.

So, why the big deal over the ZN5? Well, Motorola have been leaking sneak previews of the camera plus sample photos taken with the phone for some time now. It's clear that the MOTOZINE ZN5 is a big deal for Moto, and yet the handset just fails to deliver.. just at the point that they need it most. Even though Motorola is trying to recover from its RAZR addiction, it still can't seem to get things right.

We don't know if Motorola have anything else big lined up for 2008. We doubt it. And the sad fact is this: if the ZN5 is really the best they can come up with, then Motorola's mobile phone business is surely doomed..

..and that would be a shame because we know that the folks at Moto can do some great things. So perhaps.. just perhaps.. there is something waiting in the wings that really will show what Motorola can do if it tries.

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