Motorola's New Phones Are Nice Things in Ugly Packages

Illustration for article titled Motorolas New Phones Are Nice Things in Ugly Packages

Motorola is rolling out three new handsets that'll be available in the next few months. While the concepts are relatively up-to-date (eco-friendliness, military ruggedness, touchscreens), why did Motorola choose designs from 2002?


The Renew W233, a bright yellow candybar, is allegedly the first phone made from recycled water bottles. It also costs 20% less to manufacture, has a carbon neutral footprint, and a Motorola promise to invest in renewable energy programs. Great, except ugly phones are a tough sell to even the most dedicated of environmentalists.

The Tundra VA76r is a military-spec, rugged PTT clamshell. It comes with CrystalTalk Plus, which uses a second microphone to filter out and reduce background noise, as well as a 2MP camera, stereo Bluetooth, aGPS and support for a 4GB microSD card. I guess ruggedized phones aren't supposed to be the prettiest things, but seeing the same design rehash from last year is boring.


The Surf A3100 is a touch-based replacement for Motorola's Ming. It'll have a 2.8-inch display, quad-band GSM/EDGE, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and two cameras—a 3MP with autofocus and a secondary VGA for videophoning, as well as support up to 32GB microSD cards. The catch is, it's only coming to Asia. Motorola has spoken, and it's said the U.S. cain't have nuthin' nice. [Phonescoop]

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Seems Motorola's design house can't seem to find that sweet spot. Their general design motif just doesn't look right to me. There's this whole supposed "low-fail rate" design to their buttons, but then they slap these panels against horrible retina-raping colors and ugly shells. I think that they just pull whoever designs their utilitarian hardware to design their consumer-grade hardware, unless someone (I know there's gotta be at least one!) who can correct me.

I do like the idea of the recycled phone, but "carbon neutral"? Does the battery run on the souls of tortured murderers? I'll buy three if that were the case.