Motorla hit a home run with the original DROID Android smartphone. It was hugely popular due to its combination of power and, due to its unlockable bootloader, ability to be customized to no end. Their next Android device, the Droid X, didn’t do too bad itself when it was released about eight months later. People flocked to the big, powerful device, thinking that they’d be getting the same experience as the Droid but in an even better device – they were disappointed… Motorola decided to include their custom MotoBlur overlay on the device and lock the bootloader down, limiting its customize-abilty. Hardcore Android enthusiasts started dropping the DX in favor of more “open” devices from Motorola competitors.
Now, Motorola Mobility stock is reportedly plummeting - which isn’t surprising to many. According to the Dow Jones News Wires, Motorola Mobility’s share of the Android market has fallen from 33% last year to just 14% in the first quarter of this year. This is due to competitors pumping out competing Android devices, some at lower price points and some just being more desirable because of their unlockable bootloaders, which is important to a lot of people out there.
Because of this, analyst firm BMO has cut Motorola Mobility’s earnings per share target for the year and has dropped its price target from $26 to $19. Motorola Mobility last closed at $22, which is down from its 52-week high of $36.54.
We’re not going to put the blame solely on Motorola’s tightly locked bootloaders, but you’d have to be a fool to think it doesn’t have something to do with it. As I said above, many hardcore Android enthusiasts got rid of their DX due to the bootloader issue. And one thing to keep in mind is that its very common for non-enthusiasts to get device purchasing advice from the very enthusiasts that are spiteful against Motorola for their practices. On top of that, Moto has only released a couple high-end devices since releasing the Droid X – the Droid 2 (didn’t do very well) and the Atrix. They did recently release the Droid X2, but people aren’t exactly rushing out to by the exactly-the-same-as-DX-but-with-dual core processor device. There’s also the mysterious Droid Bionic, which is reportedly a very powerful phone but has suffered from huge delays due to unconfirmed issues – that doesn’t help their case much… Oh yeah, and the Motorola Xoom tablet? Well, I’ll let THIS article do the talking on that.
What I’m trying to say with all of this is that Motorola has been struggling recently when it comes to their Android offering. A lot of it has to do with their failure to release a real killer device, a lot has to do with competitors releasing more desirable devices and I believe a lot (not a ton, but more than you would think) has to do with the Android community’s displeasure with Moto’s lock-down-everything practices.
Motorola claims that they are “looking into” providing an unlock method for modders to unlock the bootloaders of future devices, we’ll see if that ever happens. If the Droid Bionic is ever released and is unlockable, that could be Motorola’s first step towards moving their stock back up. Only time will tell…
Any thoughts on all of this? Do share below!
About the Author (Author Profile)
Co-owner and PR guy for GizmoNinja.com. I’m happily married and a father to a wonderful (most of the time) son. I work in the E9-1-1 software/data industry by day and am a tech loving geek in my spare time. I’m interested in all things tech, but am big into Android especially. I dabble in a little of everything – Android development, PC development, web development, etc – but am a master of none (not even close)… But I have fun doing it anyway! =P