Motorola's Xoom tablet and Atrix smartphone are experiencing modest sales, according to one analyst. Differentiating in a crowded market, he advises, will be key.
Motorola's answer to the Apple iPad, isn't being snatched off of shelves at
quite the rate expected by industry observers. Neither is the Atrix 4G,
Motorola's smartphone with a complementary laptop-slash-dock that pairs the
brains of the phone with a full keyboard, 11.6-inch display, touch-pad, USB
ports and bigger speakers.
In an April 5
research note, Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette reported that channel
checks found sales to be "disappointing," with the Atrix (priced at
$200 with a two-year contract with AT&T) losing out to less expensive
Android smartphones and the price-slashed iPhone 3G-now only $49 while supplies
According to Forbes
, Faucette lowered his 2011 revenue
forecast for the company from $13.7 billion to $12.2 billion, and warned that
there could be further downside risk to 2011 and 2012 estimates unless Motorola
can "quickly adjust and refresh its product portfolio."
will need to "substantially differentiate themselves from the rest of the
pack" with its next set of products, Faucette added. Otherwise,
"shareholders may be looking at another meaningful step down."
and tablets indeed run in crowded packs these days-at the Consumer Electronics
Show in January, nearly 100 tablets were on display-making differentiation no
easy feat. (HTC is trying
to make its Flyer tablet stand out
by equipping it with, of all things, a
the tech world is taking note of the Xoom. Reacting to Apple's March 2
introduction of the Apple iPad 2, analyst Ken Hyers, with Technology Business
Research, twice mentioned the Xoom, telling eWEEK that the iPad 2-the market
leader by a long shot-failed to match the Xoom's screen resolution and cameras.
And from an ecosystem perspective, he added, "For hardware developers,
it's straightforward to build whatever device they want using Android. Look at
responding to the iPad 2, analyst Jack Gold, with J. Gold Associates, also
pointed to the Motorola tablet. "I don't see [the iPad 2] as heads above the
competition-especially the Xoom-right now," Gold wrote in a March 2 research
And in testing
in eWEEK's Labs, the Xoom came out on top, with reviewer Clint Boulton
describing himself as "smitten" after
two days of testing
. "As far as pure Web-surfing experiences go, the
Motorola Xoom Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' tablet is an absolute joy to use,"
he wrote. "It satisfies a craving users have had to enjoy the power of
their laptops with the portability of their smartphones."
Atrix, Motorola would appear to be doing the same-merging the perks of each
device. Other reviews
of the smartphone were enthusiastic.
In The Wall Street Journal, Walter S. Mossberg called it "one of the
nicest smartphones I've tested," while The New York Times' David Pogue
called it a "beautiful, loaded, screamingly fast Android phone."
criticisms by each perhaps explain a bit of the phone's modest sales. Pogue
found watching Flash video to be "jerky" on the Atrix laptop, and
Mossberg complained that the applications weren't as polished or powerful as
typical PC applications, and that there were clumsy aspects to using the phone
clicked in to the dock. Pogue concluded that Motorola had a "really,
really brilliant idea," but looked forward to its next version of the
Atrix setup, which presumably would be over its present hiccups.
however, may be AT&T's device portfolio-beefed up over recent quarters in
anticipation of the carrier's loss of its exclusive rights to the Apple iPhone.
In addition to
the iPhone 3GS, Faucette added in his research note, the HTC Inspire was
keeping Atrix sales "well below forecast."
announce its first-quarter results on April 28.