Update: Motorola has provided us with an official comment on the new branding.
In an interview with CNET, Motorola COO Rick Osterloh said that the storied Motorola brand will be phased out for Lenovo. Purchased by Google in 2011 and then sold to Lenovo in 2014, Motorola has had varying level of successes. While praised for stock Android, Moto devices on the high-end have not been successful in dethroning Samsung or LG.
This branding change is part of a larger re-organization in which Motorola will take over Lenovo’s phone business. Lenovo plans on keeping the shortened “Moto” brand to denote higher-end devices. For instance, expect current flagship devices to be branded as Moto X by Lenovo in the future. The M batwing symbol will still be in use, but expect to see more of blue Lenovo logo in marketing and packaging.
Lenovo will introduce flagship devices under the Moto brand and plans to introduce those devices into all markets. While Lenovo’s current Vibe brand of budget phones, will be introduced into higher end markets. The exact fate of the Moto G and E are unknown at this point.
In a statement, Motorola clarifies the new arrangement:
Motorola Mobility continues to exist as a Lenovo company and is the engineering and design engine for all of our mobile products. However, for our product branding we will utilize a dual brand strategy across smartphone and wearables going forward using Moto and Vibe globally. “Motorola” hasn’t been used on our products since the launch of the original Moto X in 2013.