Motorola roars back to the Indian mid-range market with impressive EX-119, 109 & 212

Motorola, the US brand that was second only to Nokia in the Indian market before its US parent got caught in financial troubles, has taken a first step towards reclaiming its place in the Indian market.

Though it has been launching some high-end phones, such as the Milestone, Droid and the Xoom tablet, Motorola was yet to attack the core of the Indian market — the segment costing between Rs 2,500 & Rs 6,000. This segment is now controlled by Nokia and Indian/Chinese brands like Spice, Videocon, Micromax etc..

Today, Motorola Mobility, the device company spun out of the former Motorola, launched three phones that may give its competition a run for its money. For consumers, the three phones represent more choice in the crucial category.

All three phones support two active SIMs at the same time, but none of them have 3G.

The most interesting of the three launches is the EX-119, a candybar phone with a capacitive touch-screen (pic above). The EX-119 is priced at Rs 6,190 and has a 2.4 inch screen — the same size as that of most Nokia candy-bar qwerty phones such as the E72 etc..

The phone can at best be described as the cheaper cousin of the Nokia E6. Though other brands, such as Samsung, have similar phones costing around Rs 4,000, the touch-screen makes the Motorola EX-119 different.

Even the Nokia E-5, priced at Rs 9,300, does not have a touch-screen.

Of course, there is a reason why the EX-119 will be a ‘poorer cousin’ to the Nokia E5 and E6: it doesn’t have 3G (though it does have WiFi).

But considering that the price is 30% lower than the (no-touch) Nokia E-5 and only a third of the touch-enabled Nokia E-6, the EX-119 is solid value for money for someone who is primarily looking at a texting or chat phone.

Other features are more or less standard, such as 3 MP camera, 3.5 mm jack, 32 GB microSD card support and a bonus in the form of support for stereo bluetooth.

The second phone introduced today is a smaller, slimmer, cheaper version of the EX-119, called the EX-109 (pic below). This is primarily notable for being among the cheapest qwerty phones in India. The display is smaller, at 2-inch and the camera is only 2 MP and there’s no WiFi etc.. (see chart.)

The third phone, EX-212 is classic Motorola (see below). It reminds us why Motorola used to be a the favorite brand of many phone-lovers.

In true Moto style, the EX-212 is a clam-shell (flip) phone, reminding one of the Rockr series. It has most of the goodies of the EX-119, except for the WiFi and qwerty keypad, and the price is around Rs 5,100.

The above models, of course, are not going to have it easy in the market, particularly because of the upcoming C2 series phones (such as the C2-02, price Rs 4,000) from Nokia.

The C2 series represent Nokia’s attempt at tackling the mid-range, touch-enabled phone market. Just as Motorola is trying very hard to recapture a lost market in the mid range, so too the C2 range is expected to help Nokia recapture a lot of the mid market from Indian and Korean brands such as Samsung and LG.

The crucial difference between the two series is that the Motorola series have qwerty keypads, while the Nokia ones are endowed with the traditional numeric keypads. Motorola seems keener on the dual-SIM market too, showing a clear intention to take on the Indian and Chinese brands.

“The fast evolving dual-SIM market in India is a driving force for us. We are glad to bring these innovative, feature-rich mobile phones in varied designs and form factors to the Indian consumer,” said Rajan Chawla, mobile devices business country head for sales and operations, India and South West Asia, Motorola Mobility.


Will Nokia C2-03 help the firm recapture the mid-range market?