Motorola just made sure that no one at Apple and RIM worried for a second about its new Google-powered CLIQ phone.
How? Very simple. T-Mobile is going to charge $199 for the CLIQ. That’s just not going to work.
Sorry, but you can’t charge $100 more than the iPhone for a phone that’s not as good as the iPhone. The CLIQ should cost no more than $99; ideally, it’d be $49.
Perhaps it will attract a few T-Mobile customers who want to upgrade to the latest device, but it is not going to attract a meaningful number of new customers. And it’s definitely not going to win over any would-be iPhone buyers. This means RIM and Apple will win Christmas again.
T-Mobile ultimately sets the price here, but Motorola should have some say in the matter, based on its wholesale pricing and general pull in the relationship. But either way, Motorola ends up the loser here, because what they make up in margin getting the extra $100 or $150 for the phone, they are losing in volume.
Motorola’s chance to be relevant again is to sell a lot of affordable phones running Android that sit somewhere between the iPhone and the slew of “dumb” phones on the market. (It’s certainly not going to set the bar for the high end of the market.)
This is the wrong start.