I was in fifth grade when I got my first cell phone. It feels like just yesterday that I staring with wide eyes at the pink and white wrapped box that held my long awaited elementary school graduation gift. The hot pink Razr inside that box represented much more than a new technology I could use to text my friends; it represented a milestone in my life.
The reason I wanted that specific Motorola Razr was because it was the hip phone to have at the time. All the kids in my class wanted one, so naturally I had to have it. However as I got older, so did the coolness of my Razr. Influxes of upgraded and high tech phones were hitting the markets, and everyone wanted the next best thing. My next cell phone was the LG Envy, which I got two years later in 7th grade. Although they were only two years apart, the look of the devices was distinctively different. The Envy opened up from the side to expose a keyboard, making texting far easier compared to its flip phone counterpart.
By 9th grade I had the Blackberry. It became the biggest deal to have one because everyone in my school used Blackberry Messenger (BBM) to communicate rather than texting. The times and the technologies were changing, and I always had to keep up with them.
I used various versions of the Blackberry throughout high school until my senior year, when I got the holy grail of modern technology, the iPhone. My first iPhone was an iPhone 4s, and I was so happy to hop on the Apple bandwagon. Last year I got the iPhone 5s, and I’ve used it ever since. I have been very happy with all my cell phones throughout the years at the time of their use, but I am by far most obsessed with my iPhone because it is like a portable computer that you carry around with you 24/7.
I never really considered what had happened to my old mobile devices, the ones I once cherished so dearly. When you think about what a cell phone is used for, to communicate, my hot pink razor should still be perfectly fine for people to use today. However, due to planned obsolescence, the desire for consumers to buy something simply because it is better and newer, my Razor was thrown away and disregarded after a year or two of using it. It has now come to my attention how wasteful I have been with my products despite the fact that they were perfectly functional. Most of my old cell phones sit in an old bin in my attic, or used as a toy for my little sisters to play with.
The wastefulness of technology that our culture has become so prone to is more detrimental then most believe it to be. While the cell phones of my past sit around my house collecting dust, I could still be using them today if I had taken better care of them or not bought into the desire of the “next best thing.”
One of my most outdated obsolete devices is the Razr cellphone. The phone was created by Motorola as part of their 4LTR line in July 2003, and was released in the market in 2004.
Compared to where the company was when I first got my Razr in 2005, its cell phone division is struggling. Unlike 10 years ago when the sleek flip phone was fashionable and in high demand, today the company has to compete with iPhones and other smartphones.
As of 2011, the company split into two firms, Motorola Mobility, which covers handsets and set-top boxes, and Motorola Solutions Inc., which sell police radios and barcode scanners to government and business customers. Google purchased the company for $12.5 million dollars in 2011, where they helped launch Moto X, Motorola’s first smart phone (The Telegraph 2013).
Only three years later Google sold it to China’s Lenovo for less than $3 billion dollars. According to Google’s CEO Larry Page this decision was because “The smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all in when it comes to making mobile devices.” (Forbes 2014). However the purchase was not entirely advantageous because as of May 1, 2014, the profits of the company fell 8.7% percent from 2013 (Marketwatch 2014).
The history of Motorola from the birth of the Razr to today shows how changing modern technology is, and how consumers constantly want the next best thing. The disposal of the Razr and the Motorola cellphone division clearly hurt the company’s profits over time.
With the growing number of technological devices being thrown away or covered with dust in an attic somewhere, there has been an increase in environmentally damaging e-waste. The public has become more and more aware of the dangers of discarded electronic waste and Motorola has taken note of the public’s concern for the environment.
As of 2009, Motorola announced it was offering a free take back and recycling program for all of its enterprise mobility equipment. This program allows companies and users to responsibly dispose of electronics once their use has expired, rather than allowing them to contribute to an unhealthy planet.
Takeback is free for companies, and the program accepts a wide variety of Motorola-branded equipment from radios to desktop computers to cell phones, as well as non-Motorola products. Motorola has also set up takeback bins in service centers and retail outlets all over the world, expanding the companies recycling projects.
The steps to return a cellular device or other electronics are made very simple. A user simply has to download a postage label from the Motorola website, mail their packaged device to the headquarters, and it will then be refurbished for resale or recycled.
I think that this push towards recycling technology is a smart move on Motorola’s part. They appear to be very eco-friendly which is a good marketing tool for gaining the acceptance of the public. But that is exactly the problem. Some might argue that this corporate support for environmentalism is actually masking the branding opportunities for retailers and advertisers. This is referred to as the green commodity discourse, which promotes the fusion of environmentalism and the growth of profits and pleasure. Motorola’s effort to recycle e-waste makes the company looks reliable and ecofriendly, a very good business move.
Even if these recent programs developed by corporate technology companies are created with the idea of profit rather than environmentalism, I still think they are putting us in the right direction. By recycling their products or refurbishing them for resale, Motorola is making money while at the same time creating less damage to the environment: it is a win-win situation.
“Moto X: A New Start for Motorola?” By Laura Leichtfried, The Telegraph August 1, 2013
“Google Profits Billions With Motorola Sale to Lenovo, Keeps Patents” By Jean Baptiste Su, Forbes January 26, 2014
“Motorola Solutions Profit, Sales Drop; Project Revenue Decline” By MarketWatch May 1, 2014
“Greening The Media” By Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller. Oxford University Press 2012
“Motorola Expands E-Waste Takeback As Awareness Problem Grows” By Greener Computing Staff, Green Biz November 25, 2009