Home » Barlocco (Motorola): «No longer just technology, smartphones must be beautiful and inspire »

Barlocco (Motorola): «No longer just technology, smartphones must be beautiful and inspire »

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Barlocco (Motorola): «No longer just technology, smartphones must be beautiful and inspire »

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Are smartphones emerging from a difficult year and, with artificial intelligence, are they really finding a new life? «We say that AI represents a big change, but today, more than in the past, it is not only technology that stimulates consumption, but also other factors such as aesthetics, sustainability and the ability of objects to inspire people» . Answering the question, a few days before the start of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ​​is Carlo Barlocco, former Samsung and currently a leading figure at Motorola. The US brand, sold in 2014 by Google to Lenovo in Italy, reached a market share of 12% in December, as reported referring to Gfk data. «In one year we have more than doubled our market share – he explains – and we had never achieved this result. We are fourth globally and the third player in the Android market. All this in an Italian context in which the market, in terms of volumes, is decreasing year on year by double digits, but which we expect will stabilize this year. A market in Italy that is 65% concentrated on smartphones in the price range from 0 to 300 euros. In this scenario – he states – we have the opportunity to position ourselves more strongly in the high range”.

In the crosshairs, as seen for Samsung, is artificial intelligence, perceived as the winning idea to encourage consumers to buy high-end phones. «Like Lenovo, we will also increasingly focus on AI, in line with the vision of making AI accessible to all, while respecting security and privacy. However, for the post-COVID consumer and for the new generations, I have the impression that, more than the single technological update, the camera zoom or the hardware details for enthusiasts, what matters most is what is new smartphones can do it.” For Motorola’s executive director & general manager, this is a paradigm shift for the entire industry, and it won’t be easy. «We must avoid what happened with 5G, when it was not clear what the real advantage was. It means that we will have to be good at concretely explaining what artificial intelligence does on a smartphone and what changes.” According to the manager, however, the news should not scare us. «I remember in 2007, when the iPhone was launched, few people believed in touchscreens because they had no physical buttons and were bulkier. Then the screens grew from 5 to 6 and up to 8 inches.” In October, Motorola unveiled two prototypes: a foldable smartphone that wears like a wristband and one with a screen that extends upward from 4 to 6.5 inches. At CES in Las Vegas this year, other AI-animated devices were presented, even without a screen, which can be worn and controlled only by voice. Some have even proposed them as possible replacements for smartphones in the not-too-distant future. «I don’t know if they will replace smartphones – the Lombard manager smiles -. Of course, they have to work perfectly and understand everything we say, otherwise it’s a disaster. In fact, I think price plays a key role. 2024 will be the year of the definitive take-off of products with foldable, flexible and rollable screens, such as the Motorola Rizr Rollable. In the coming months, many foldable products will arrive and the costs will become more affordable. The trend began in 2023 with the release of the Motorola Razr 40 and the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, which were very successful. But, to become popular, foldable devices must move away from the psychological threshold of one thousand euros.”
The conversation about artificial intelligence is different. «I believe that real change will come with a more sophisticated use of machine learning, which is not yet seen. Imagine a smartphone that knows you better than anyone else, that reads your emails, knows your agenda and is able to advise you based on your past experiences. It scares me a little – he smiles – it’s disturbing, but a smartphone like this would really be something different.”

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