After years on the fringes of the budget and affordable segment, Motorola has announced plans to re-enter the premium smartphone space.

At the Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui, the company reiterated plans to target the more premium end of the market, with a heavy reliance on the newly announced Snapdragon 865 chipset.

“Motorola will continue leading the 5G era with our expanded lineup of 5G solutions in 2020 — driven by the high-performing Snapdragon 765 and 865 Mobile Platforms, reinvigorating our place in the premium flagship space,” said Motorola president Sergio Buniac on stage in Maui.

Of course, Lenovo now owns the former American brand, but in recent years has stuck to producing more budget-friendly hardware that has a more mass-market appeal, which is bolstered by the popular Moto G line of smartphones. However, the nostalgia-driven Moto RAZR foldable manages a premium price tag but with mediocre specs.

A prominent player in the early years of Android, Motorola re-entering the premium smartphone segment will no doubt be of interest to long-term fans, and it will be interesting to see how Lenovo targets this now-crowded market. Motorola will also have to tackle surging brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi, who are able to offer flagship experiences at more affordable prices.

While we know that these devices will be powered by the Snapdragon 865 chipset, it’s unclear if we’ll see devices that tackle the Samsung Galaxy line, or if Motorola will simply improve the quality of its existing Moto Z family — which has long since become mid-range fodder.

All this is fantastic news, as we are long overdue an out-and-out flagship Motorola smartphone. We’ll have to wait until 2020 to see just what Lenovo has been cooking up, and if it’s any good.

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Damien Wilde

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