Motorola Is Betting on Wood and Fake Leather to Sell Smartphones Overseas

Motorola Is Betting on Wood and Fake Leather to Sell Smartphones Overseas

Motorola has announced its new family of flagships, the Edge 50 series. The series features three new models, from premium to mid-range, available in various finishes, from vegan leather (plastic) to wood. And like the rest of the Android brood, Motorola is hedging its bets on AI-infused software features to attract users.

The Edge 50 Ultra is the most loaded of the three devices. It has a 6.7-inch pOLED display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 processor—the successor to the regular 8 Gen 3, which powers up competing flagships—and 16GB of RAM, which is how much you’ll typically find in an Android device that’s claiming to be a processing powerhouse. The Edge 50 Ultra also has a 4,500 mAh battery with proprietary 125W TurboPower charging. Motorola claims you can charge up enough for a day’s use with just four minutes on the cable.

The rear-facing camera system is where Motorola hopes you’ll give it another chance. It’s a three-camera array with a 50-MP primary camera with OIS, a 50-MP ultrawide camera, and a 50-MP telephoto camera. AI-enhanced features within the camera app could boost its capabilities, including a new photo enhancement engine that will fine-tune your shots after you take them and a long exposure mode for taking “moving” photos of waterfalls and lights at night.

I read reports that last year’s Edge release was finally delivering on the company’s camera promises, but I’ll believe it when I see it myself. The camera performance of the Edge+ from two years ago, and even last year’s ThinkPhone, made me dubious about Motorola’s abilities to compete alongside Samsung and Google’s offerings.

The Edge 50 Ultra has several finishes, including vegan leather in Forest Grey and Peach Fuzz. There’s also the aforementioned Nordic Wood, which barely looks like wood in the marketing imagery. The idea harkens back to when Android brands like LG, no longer in the smartphone business, tried on leather backs with the LG G4 for an added premium feel. It’ll be curious to see how it ages with time.

The other devices in the Edge 50 family include the Edge 50 Pro and the Edge 50 Fusion. The Edge 50 Pro features a Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 mobile processor and 12GB of RAM. It also has a three-camera array, and it comes in various vegan leather finishes, plus a polymer version called Moonlight Pearl.

The Edge 50 Fusion is a slightly pared-down version of the Edge 50 Pro. It has a Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 processor and up to 12GB of memory—there is an 8GB option available, as the Fusion is supposed to be the cheapest of the bunch. Its rear camera system is a two-camera array, and it’s available with a hot pink vegan suede backing.

The Motorola Edge 50 series starts at €700 ($1160.57) and has no U.S. launch date. The devices will debut in Europe first, followed by Latin America, Asia, and Oceania, which includes Australia and New Zealand. Motorola likely has other plans for its U.S. users later this year—no teaser yet on whether that consists of a wooden or vegan leather backside.