Today, the Motorola name is primarily associated with telephones. Perhaps these are not the best sellers or the most popular, but until not many years ago some models enjoyed a lot of popularity and a good example of this is the first generation of your Moto G.
However, Motorola’s original business was never telephones, much less cell phones. On September 25, 1928, brothers Paul and Joseph Galvin started the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation in Chicago, Illinois. The company set about manufacturing devices that eliminated the need for batteries in portable radios so that they could be connected to traditional power.
Although the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation began with batteries for radios, the latter would precisely be a key element in its future growth. Because a few years later, the Galvin brothers turned their business around: low-cost radios for the vehicles of the time. And its first model for sale was called, precisely, Motorola.
Where does the word Motorola come from? The term was a mix between Motorcar and Victrola, some old voice amplifiers that were popular at the beginning of the 20th century. And the popularity of these radios, which little by little were massifying, gave rise to a radical idea: the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. would be renamed simply Motorola, Inc.
Under this new name, Motorola expanded its portfolio beyond car radios. In the 1940s, the company began manufacturing televisions and more sophisticated technology for long-range radio; Without going any further, they signed a contract with NASA to provide the radio system for the space program.
Over time, Motorola continued to expand its size, reach, and technology development. Years later they would produce transistors and with it, inevitably, they would give way to the then nascent modern computing. By the 1970s, Motorola was already designing and manufacturing a chip called MC6800 that, among other products, was present in a console called APF Microcomputer System, launched in 1978.
In the same decade of the 70, Motorola would produce a prototype the first portable telephone and would take the first step into the world of contemporary telephony. These first advances would be complemented in the 90s, when Motorola radios combined functions more typical of a telephone and allowed to connect to cellular networks, receive e-mail or function as pagers.
As happened to Sony at the time, the changes of time also implied changes and adjustments in the company’s business. Motorola was a member of an alliance with Apple and IBM to produce PowerPC processors and they even manufactured their own, licensed and official version of the Macintosh from the 90s: the Motorola StarMax. But later disagreements with Apple ended with Motorola out of the alliance, with no option to produce computers or processors.
During the 2000s, Motorola made significant strides in the development of cellular network communications technology. These advances would have applications both in the industrial world, as well as in mass consumer products and an example of this was their Razr phones, which in some way were a foretaste of what would come later: without being smartphones as such, several of them included a photo camera, video recording, or memory expansion slots.
The success of the Razr could not be sustained over time and it was other brands that renewed the segment. The decline in the telephony business was so abrupt that in 2011 Motorola was divided into two companies: Motorola Solutions would be dedicated to everything that had to do with the radio and communications business, while Motorola Mobility would be the company behind the cellphones.
This second company would be bought first by Google in 2012 and then by Lenovo two years later. And beyond the successes they had with the Moto G and Moto X when they first debuted, subsequent generations of phones were relegated to secondary places, even though their teams differ from the rest by being one of the few. smartphones who use versions pure Android, no layers of customization or anything like that.
And Motorola Solutions? It went on as the true successor and heir to the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, developing products and technology for business, law enforcement and general security environments. Which is curious because even though Motorola is colloquially known as a cell phone brand, its most successful (and almost unknown) business area is still the same as the one they started with: radios and communications technology.