Motorola Changing Its Product Brand Names to Moto and Vibe

The rebrandings follow the 2014 purchase of Motorola Mobility by Lenovo from Google. The Motorola name will remain, but not on products.

Motorola product renaming

Motorola Mobility will soon stop using the Motorola brand name as it moves to remove the historic nameplate from its smartphones in deference to its Moto and Vibe product names.

The rebranding, which Motorola Mobility CEO Rick Osterloh revealed at the CES 2016 event in Las Vegas, was confirmed Jan. 8 by a company spokeswoman who issued a statement to eWEEK.

The name changes come almost two years after Motorola Mobility, the division that builds and sells smartphones, was sold by Google to Lenovo in January 2014 for about $2.91 billion. The company builds its Moto and Vibe lines of handsets for sale around the world.

"Motorola Mobility continues to exist as a Lenovo company and is the engineering and design engine for all of our mobile products," the spokeswoman told eWEEK in a statement. "However, for our product branding, we will utilize a dual-brand strategy across smartphones and wearables going forward using Moto and Vibe globally."

Motorola actually dropped the Motorola name from its smartphone packaging when it launched its original Moto X handset in 2013, the company added.

While the name won't be used for product branding in the future, it will remain as the name of the business that designs and engineers Moto and Vibe phones, the spokeswoman said. "Motorola as a company will continue to exist as an engineering and design company. Lenovo is our parent brand, and this is kind of the next step. It's not that we're going away or anything like that."

Google sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo in 2014, less than two years after Google itself had acquired the handset maker. The sale by Google was seen as a move for the company to firm up its own direction in the mobile space and cut its losses as it continued to focus on the Android mobile operating system. Google had sold off other parts of Motorola Mobility within months after it acquired the company in early 2012.

Since its purchase by Lenovo, Motorola has been making some interesting moves in the mobile marketplace to bolster its offerings.

In November 2015, the company opened its first temporary Moto Shop boutique, where smartphone and smartwatch buyers can try out products in person before buying them. The Moto Shop opened in Chicago on Nov. 7 as an "experiential" store, where consumers could explore products in detail and get answers to questions about features and more, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The pop-up store will remain open through May 2016, with similar temporary stores possible in other locations in the future. The Moto Shop has a hands-on feel, rather than being set up as a more traditional store, where specifications are the focus. Customers can interact with products and can browse, test and even purchase Motorola smartphones and Moto 360 smartwatches.

In October 2015, Motorola unveiled its Droid Turbo 2 smartphone, which features an innovative shatterproof five-layer display that includes a four-year guarantee against screen cracking or shattering, even when dropped onto a hard surface. The Droid Turbo 2 boasts the company's first super-tough Moto ShatterShield display and includes Motorola's Moto Maker customization process, which lets users choose the colors, materials and designs of their new devices.

The Droid Turbo 2 is a 4G LTE phone that features a 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor; 3GB of LPDDR4 memory; a 21-megapixel rear camera with dual LED CCT flash, zero shutter lag and rapid focus; a 5MP front camera with flash and a wide-angle lens; and a water-repellent nano-coating to protect the device from moisture and spills.

The company's Moto X design service lets users pick the colors and materials used to build their personal smartphones by choosing from more than 1,000 different combinations of colors and materials.