Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sweet Home Chicago

Today we were very happy to welcome Mayor Rahm Emanuel and local community and business leaders as we publicly unveiled our new global headquarters in downtown Chicago, ushering in a new chapter in Motorola’s transformation.

This is a homecoming for us. Nearly 90 years ago, our story began as Galvin Manufacturing Corporation at 847 West Harrison Street in Chicago. We were downtown until 1976, when we moved our headquarters to the suburbs, where it stayed for nearly forty years.

Now our story has come full circle. We believe that there’s no better place to stay at the forefront of innovation than in a thriving global hub like Chicago -- a city that has become the epicenter of a technology renaissance.

Located inside the historic Merchandise Mart alongside the Chicago River, the new headquarters encompasses more than 600,000 square feet, including 75,000 square feet of dedicated lab space, making it one of the premiere R&D and prototyping facilities in the world. The office is home to nearly 2,000 Motorolans and is within a mile of 71 of the top 100 digital companies in Chicago. At the Mart, our neighbors include the tech startup incubator 1871, advertising and creative agencies and more, creating opportunities for chance encounters and collaboration.

The office pays homage to our Chicago roots while also reflecting a thoroughly modern approach to collaboration. In addition to the best-in-class engineering labs, the space also features nine microkitchens designed in different themes, shared workspaces, a game room for when a little recharging is needed, a rooftop plaza and more.

Our move to downtown Chicago has been more than a year in the making. It took a lot of work by a lot of people, and a great deal of patience and understanding from employees, many of whom have built lives and raised families in northern Illinois. I appreciate all the support.

As we look ahead to the future, we have a clear vision for our company and we’re proud to be back in sweet home Chicago. A truly global city for a global company.

Rick Osterloh

For images and b-roll click here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Celebrating 50 Updates with a Hangout!

Here’s a not-so-secret, early Easter egg for you: This week, we’re celebrating 50 app updates since we released Moto X!

That’s 50 updates across more than 15 different apps and services in just 8 months. These have included enhancements like new Touchless Control commands, texts read aloud while driving, new boot animations, a redesigned gallery, and, of course, squashed bugs. It’s been a crazy but exciting road to travel, all in the name of continuously delivering to our users fast updates on top of the latest and greatest Android version. 

To commemorate, I am hosting a G+ Hangout on Air next week Wednesday during which you can ask me anything you’d like to know about our software and share your feedback on how we can make products better for you.

We think it’s the perfect way to mark the occasion. Why?
  • The heart of everything we do in software is you, the user. So, of course you need to be a part of the festivities. 
  • Listening is a key part of our product development. And we want to hear what you have to say! We listen to your feedback as we hone innovations, to make them the most useful to you. 
  • What better way to thank you for your support than over Hangout? So we can say thank you face to face.
RSVP to our event here, and start asking your questions on my Google+ page or on our Motorola Facebook, G+, or Twitter using the hashtag #askMoto.

Posted by Punit Soni, Product Management

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Moto insider to lead us forward

We’re excited to announce that Rick Osterloh has been named as President and COO of Motorola Mobility. Rick will assume the role today, reporting to the Motorola Operating Board at Google until the Lenovo acquisition is complete.

Rick is a Silicon Valley veteran and a familiar face across Motorola, where he has been leading all product management and helping to define the ‘go forward’ strategy for the past two years. Rick first joined the company 7 years ago when Motorola acquired Good, and he started Motorola down the Android path while managing product and engineering teams. Between stints here, Rick joined Skype, where he oversaw design and product for more than 250 million monthly users until it was acquired by Microsoft.

Since his return, Rick’s had a key role in the company’s reinvigoration. He’s been a guiding visionary on the entire product front and a passionate advocate for our philosophy to focus everything we do on the consumer experience.

I believe that Rick’s appointment provides the focused leadership and business continuity needed to steer the organization into the future, and I look forward to continuing in my role as Google liaison and advisor to Motorola through the transition period supporting Rick.

Jonathan Rosenberg

Monday, April 7, 2014

We’re Honored

We strive to design beautiful products that people love. After all, consumers are our most important jury. But we appreciate it when that work is recognized within the design community as well. This year, Motorola received an unprecedented four ‘Red Dot’ Design Awards for several of our latest products, including Moto X and three of our Bluetooth-enabled devices, the Motorola Roadster Pro automotive speaker and the Motorola Whisper and Motorola Sliver II headsets.

Red Dot is an international design competition that’s been around since 1954. Each year, products are judged by a group of design experts and winners are selected based on their ability to exemplify the highest level of design in innovation and execution.

The Red Dot awards validate all the time and effort our Consumer Experience Design team puts into making sure our products look and feel great and are a pleasure to use. Design has always been central to Motorola, and we’re proud to have a tradition of iconic products that extend back through the RAZR flip phone, the StarTAC (the original “flip phone”) and all the way back to the DynaTAC. That same spirit is guiding the design of our current products, like the ones honored by Red Dot, and upcoming ones like Moto 360. It’s an honor for our design team to be recognized in such elite company.

Jim Wicks
SVP Consumer Experience Design

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Download: Behind the Scenes of Our April Fools’ Animation

We celebrated April Fools’ this week by enlisting the help of some of our favorite mysterious creatures. A UFO, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Yeti all pitched in to create Motorola’s surprise stop-motion animation for users who powered up their phones on April 1 (it will be available for 11 more days!). But the story of our boot up began with a creative animator and a vision to bring the art of stop-motion to the new medium of phones. For this week’s Download, we want to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to bring our latest Motorola Boot Services animation to life.

With Motorola phones, we are always working to deliver highly personal experiences customized for you. And that meant starting from the very beginning: the time you start-up your phone. If you haven’t noticed, we like to change these boot-up greeting animations often to make them timely and seasonal for you.

“We said, how about we give a life to the boot up, make the animation richer, and tie it to what our users care about,” said Motorola product manager Meet Jariwala.

Ultimately, it took 192 frames—that’s the number of individual pictures used to create this week’s April Fools’ stop-motion animation start to finish. It’s a beautiful, centuries-old craft that involves masterfully stitching together a series of photos to create a story.

“For this project, stop-motion was a fun choice,” animator Kirsten Lepore said. “It had a handmade feel for the canvas of the phone, and you could really develop things like fur for the Yeti. It’s always more fun when you can see small details.” Stop-motion gave the animation a human touch and fit the personal nature of phones, which are always updating.

It began with developing the characters in 2D sketches then creating each of the characters as 7-inch puppets by hand. Then Kirsten designed a set for the puppets and, frame by frame, took pictures of the puppets to make the animation.
“As a stop motion animator, you almost have the job of a director because you have to capture the performance of the puppet,” Kirsten said. “So you give personality to it in the way it moves and acts.”

Want to meet each of the characters? Kirsten introduced us.

The Loch Ness Monster - 6” x 2” - “The Loch Ness Monster is very happy. He’s also playful because he sticks his tongue out as we zoom up, almost teasing the audience. The Loch Ness Monster was clay because I knew he would move a lot, and clay is very flexible.”

The Alien - 6” x 6” - “The Alien is mischievous. He smiles a little wider before he shoots his alien beam. I actually laid LEDs into the Alien ship so that he could light up, and it gave more dimension to the puppet, especially since the rest of the material was reflective.”

The Yeti - 7”-tall - “He looks tough, but he’s also kind of a scaredy cat when he gets caught in the act and runs away once the spotlight is on him. I built the Yeti more rigid because he’s more human, a little stiff, and intimidating. He chickens out in the end, so I also made him furry. I applied all the hair on him by hand. I gave him a clay face to make his face very expressive.”

Watch these characters come to life with the latest Motorola Boot Services from Google Play Store when you restart your phone. And be on the lookout for more exciting start-up animations to come.

Just another week of software updates. Stay tuned for more, and let us know what you think on our Google+Twitter, and Facebook.

Posted by Punit Soni, Product Management