Motorola plans to differentiate from other Android makers with a focus on the user experience
1. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)
personally, I wont buy any Motorola phone no matter how innovative and high tech it is if they will continue to release a new model every month or 2.. why dont they just continue to innovate and get all of their techs all at the same time in one device instead of making a new model for every new feature they come up with.. just doesnt make any sense to me.. just saying..
2. SGSII (Posts: 53; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
They release phones about every 4 months and that's much better than other android OEMs so learn you facts before you run your big mouth.
13. bucky (Posts: 1200; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
You have run your mouth and at the same time made no valuable counterpoint...
52. warrenellis (Posts: 42; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
actually he ran his fingers, not his mouth*
42. ardent1 (Posts: 1969; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)
People tend to write figuratively speaking as well as literally. Smart readers can detect the difference.
"continue to release a new model every month or 2" is used in a figuratively speaking manner.
5. SBrown (Posts: 9; Member since: 02 Jul 2010)
I actually agree with this. Regardless of how many other OEMs do it, doesn't make it any better.
6. Tux4g63 (Posts: 114; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)
They release phones as often as possible because as a business strategy, it is what the consumers want, and they have multiple carriers they must make deals with and multiple sourcing OEM's who they must also make deals with on their hardware. The consumer wants a new phone even if it only has a few new features. The iphone 4S is the perfect example of that.
41. Gothbeard (Posts: 26; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)
Yes, they release Atrix I in Europe 1 week before they release Atrix 2 in USA. Genius strategy.
45. ardent1 (Posts: 1969; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)
> They release phones as often as possible because as a business strategy, it is what the consumers want
I call that argument horsesh*t because Moto released better Razr's (i.e. a 4.5" display) in mainland China when they could have done the same in the US.
Are you telling me US customers want inferior Razr's compared to the ones in mainland China?
Here are the facts, Moto SCREWED UP and needs to get it's marketing dept out of its a**.
Tux4g63 -- look up the word "market segmentation". Moto clearly took market segmentation a bit too far and is causing A LOT of resent amongst its US customer base as evidenced by buyer's remorse, low customer satisfaction ratings, return rates, etc
7. Firedrops (Posts: 198; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)
Even if they're not the ones to release newer(and better) products every few months, other companies will. You might as well never get a smartphone at all.
67. BattleBrat (Posts: 883; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
You find one you like and you stick with it, I bought the Droid 1, and was VERY pleased with it's performance, I just got the RAZR, and so far, am pleased with it's performance as well
18. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
ALL manufacturers do this. HTC drops a new phone every few weeks with barely any changes from the last. As new tech develops an new phone follows it. Tech is being developed at a breakneck speed. That is not going to change any time soon.
So, its not the manufacturers that need to change.. as they are just trying to survive, its your perception that needs to change. Who gives a damn how often they release a phone? It sounds more like you have "top of the heap" jealousy than anything. You buy the best phone that you want/can afford and ignore all the rest as they come out. Just because a new tech comes out doesnt mean your phone is now junk. If you want a slow release cycle there are WP7 and iOS phones out there for ya.
23. taz89 (Posts: 1897; Member since: 03 May 2011)
i think samsung have not done this with its high end model too much...they have had the s2 as there only flagship device and depending on carriers it was altered a bit but was still a galaxy s2...htc and moto have just been ''out dating'' there own phones only after a month or two...the example i use is what is samsungs 2011 flagship device and the easy answer is the gs2 but what is htc flagship device this year,is the sensation,sensation xe,evo 3d,amaze,rezound,sensation xl etc and the same goes with moto,whats there flagship device of 2011 the droid x2,atrix,droid 3,BIONIC,droid razr...atleast with samsung so far they dont update there flagship phone every 2 month..they have one main flagship device which is the galaxy s series and then they have lots and lots of mid and low end phones.(nexus not included as thats a google phone)
31. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
for their flagship, thats partially true. but you also have the note, the 20 different variants of the SGS2, ect. its still a new device even if its called an SGS2. Most of HTC's phones are 95% identical just with different names. Samsung is doing the same with the SGS2 but they are all named the SGS2, which i think is smarter as it cuts down on the confusion between devices. Some SGS2's have bigger screens, keyboards, different chips, different batteries, ect ect ect.. but they are all called SGS2. HTC would have given each of them a different name.
The sensation, mytouch 4gslide, evo3d, amaze, are all basically the same phone. they should all just be called one name.
Besides that, samsung's flagships are top of the heap and selling like wildfire. HTC and Moto keep releasing devices hoping one of them will top the SGS2.. which they havent been able to do.
38. taz89 (Posts: 1897; Member since: 03 May 2011)
agree that not all the gs2 have the same specs but they are close enough and all run the same touchwiz 4 that it dont feel likely that another carrier has an updated version in my opinion(dont think there is a gs2 with keyboard)...with htc the differences are bigger such as some have 3d,some have beats,some have higher res screen and some have sense 3.0 and some have 3.5...just think that htc should create a ''galaxy s series'' for themselves and keep it streamlined....moto is the worst of the lot having about 4 flagships on just verizon being released only a few months after...also with htc they have sensation,amaze,mytouch,mytouch slide all on just t-mobile....correct me if i am wrong but i dont see 4 or 5 different variants of the sg2 on just 1 carrier....just hope in 2012 will be seeing fewer versions of the same phone on,as much as choices is great its not a great feeling if you buy a phone for £500 and a month later a better version comes out for the same price.6 month later would be nice although with my gs2 i have had that feeling just thinking i would be a pi**ed of smartphone owner if i lived in the US.
47. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
That was kind of my point. Htc's brand identity is that all the phones look and act the same but there is tons of confusion over models because there is no naming cohesion. The fact that the same model exists on the same carrier with slight variations does not help.
I agree completely about the sgs2 point. Tons of variation but only one per carrier. Makes life simple.
39. mikerouche (Posts: 14; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
i think the only one whos really gotten the hang of making a actual flagship device is samsung. yeah theres a slightly different variant on each carrier but theres only one per carrier. and the whole skyrocket /sgs2 thing is a mess up but i think thats at&ts fault. theres a reason though that the sgs2 is the highest selling android phone ever.
46. ardent1 (Posts: 1969; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)
> ALL manufacturers do this. HTC drops a new phone every few weeks with barely any changes from the last.
No, Apple doesn't do this.
Here's my point, releasing one model a year like Apple is too slow, but releasing variants of one model (i.e. market segmentation) too quickly creates buyer's remorse. There has to be a happy medium somewhere between one year and one month.
49. taz89 (Posts: 1897; Member since: 03 May 2011)
perfect scenario would be this,htc,samsung,moto,sony release 1 or max 2 flagship device per year like apple,it looks the same on every carrier and has same specs etc and they can continue releasing multiple mid and low range phone...but the chances of that happening is 0.
64. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
no ardent, apple doesnt drop a new phone thats barely changed every few months, they do it once a year. i4s, 3gs anyone? And idiots run out n buy it in droves even though they own the older model which is 90% the same.
29. shafboy (Posts: 179; Member since: 26 Sep 2010)
I think in Googles hands it should be good.
44. ardent1 (Posts: 1969; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)
arcq12, the term you want to use is "buyer's remorse." Moto is not going to win customers if it keeps generating buyer's remorse.
At my Costco, they are pushing both the Bionic and Razr side by side and the while the Bionic has better accessories, the price difference was only $50 less for the Bionic, respectively. I wouldn't pick up the Bionic because I would spend the extra $50 for the better display and processor. Just my two cents.
58. ledbetterp3 (Posts: 466; Member since: 31 Aug 2011)
Sorry I thumbed you up, I meant to thumb you down because I disagree. That is a stupid reason not to buy a Motorola phone. They make great phones and release just as many, if not less,phones than Samsung. Other they don't really add new features to every phone they release, the razr is the only really unique one out of their line-up for the past few months. I think you just don't like Motorola, for nearly no reason, and decided to say something that is not entirely true about them just to hate.
59. Phullofphil (Posts: 798; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)
Well just because it happened once. Realeasing the droid 4 is a razr with a keyboard wich complaments each other. It only happened to the bionic with the razr. Wich is only from the delay of the bionic with how fast the razr was ready
60. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
well you can enjoy your pos Samsung instead? :P
i would say get used to this trend...most companies are creating a "bigger better" phone way too quickly (Samsung, HTC, pick your poison)
the ironic race that the first company to slow down their release and create a solid phone wins?
I'd take a Moto over most phones released in the states at this point.
3. ivanprskalo (Posts: 102; Member since: 09 Dec 2010)
I would buy Motorola RAZR XZ910, and I probably will next month, when I collect enough money.
I think it is overall the best phone around..
4. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)
@SGSII sorry man I'm at work and we use an old browser where I can't see the reply, thumbs and report button..
anyways, you're not getting my point and you sound like a troll to me, I'm obviously talking about flagship phones here, when did they release the droid x2? droid 3? and the bionic? how bout the razr? and whats the new thing their coming up with called razr maxx? see what I'm saying? these phones where released the same year and these are all flagships..
9. Tux4g63 (Posts: 114; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)
The bionic I will definitely agree with you on for the simple fact it was shown at the beginning of the year at CES and did not release until the fall. That was a pretty epic fail. Otherwise Motorola is still essentially trying to find a market niche and play catch up to many other Manufacturers who jumped on the Android wagon long before they did. Please keep in mind that the reason the company really survived was when they released the OG Droid for Verizon. After that it was simply they are trying to increase brand awareness and market share by putting new features and hardware into phones and releasing them as fast as they become available. There products do not have the same luxury item status as an iphone, so they have to make up for it by volume and different handsets hoping one will strike a chord with consumers, or that overall volume sales of all handsets will help them with greater brand recognition overall.
8. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)
@Tux4g63 I dont think the iPhone 4S is an example simply because Apple releases only 1 phone every year. I get it, you're here to troll don't you?
12. Tux4g63 (Posts: 114; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)
If you look at my other posts, I would strongly debate I post thoughtful, comments that are worded as carefully as I can make them, and that speak to your point(s).
I think the iphone 4S is a perfect example because Apple chose to wait and release one phone this year and they put all of their new features in it. Not trying to say they could have released the iphone 5 this year, but they just chose not too for whatever reasons. I am not an Apple hater, if you look at my phones I have owned, I used to have an iphone.
24. taz89 (Posts: 1897; Member since: 03 May 2011)
apples model is create 1 new phone per year(this year wait was longer) and they make enough profit from that one product that with the loyal fanbase they have they dont need to make more models to capture more market share as that loyal fanbase for now is more than good enough...where as with android oems they are targeting everyone from iphone,bb,wp,symbian etc customers that they need to have more than just one model per year as that one model will not meet every one needs,some want keyboard,some want bigger screen etc and the people that want those features will most likely not get an iphone and get android or even a wp7 device as it provides these features,,if apple were to release more models such as bigger screen version or one with keyboard i am more than sure that they would take market share away from android....lol hope what i said makes sense.
11. Pugs53 (Posts: 7; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)
Arcq, why do you worry about the number of phones being released? Just pick the phone that has the features and functionality that fit your taste and ignore the rest.
Motorola is trying to satisfy different consumer requirements. I bought the Thunderbult when it was released in march and it is doing fine for my needs. I ignored all the others until my next purchase which is going to be a Motorola Xyboard tbalet, which is the best on the market today.
32. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)
I understand that some people constantly want to have the latest greatest device, and if that applies to you ANDROID IS NOT FOR YOU.
Buy an iPhone and you're guaranteed to have "the best" for 12-16 months. Yay for you.
I would rather have new phones coming out every month or two so that there are options... Also I don't mind forking over $400-500 for a new phone if that's what I want.
61. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
"Buy an iPhone and you're guaranteed to have "the best" for 12-16 months. Yay for you."
not really...when the iphone 4 came out they had to release a 4s as they wanted "new features" and had to match dual core processors in other phones.
the ipad2 was actually suppose to be the first ipad.
apple just sits and waits as their ignorant fan base messes their pants over a device they are holding back on intentionally because they know they'll follow the cult.
Apple isnt intuitive in anything it releases. There was "siri" before there was siri. they just market well
the iphone 5 or ipad 3 will probably hold back features as well and still not have anything that the android market didnt have already.
I would rather they slow down production and actually release a phone that has reception as a number one priority and then its features. feel free to spend 400 every few months to keep up tho ;)
69. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
i think he meant "the best" as in "the best phone with iOS on it", not the best phone out there.
14. SBrown (Posts: 9; Member since: 02 Jul 2010)
I wonder how Motorola plans to really be known for their UI. So far, when it comes to UI on the phone, objectively speaking, iOS is still the best (and I am most certainly no Apple fan, but I do give credit where it is due) . But on the android, HTC is the only company that really understands UI and what the customers want from an UI. I wonder if Motorola will be able to surpass HTC with their own unique UI. They have a long way to go, but I look forward to seeing it.
62. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
i agree that IOS looks nice and runs quite stable, however it's extremely linear in its functionality and doesnt have widgets!
settings > general > this > that > run a few laps > done
I just got my htc rezound and love the OS tho!
Good call mr brown
15. WirelessCon (Posts: 309; Member since: 11 May 2010)
Say what you will about Motorola, their phones still get the best reception i the U.S. on both GSM and CDMA.
The new RAZR looks amazing, to bad it's not up to snuff.
I wonder when/if Google's ownership will make Motorola better.
63. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
lg may beg to differ in terms of CDMA
30. bigdawg23 (Posts: 295; Member since: 25 May 2011)
I couldn't agree more. All companies need to dump there custom UI(Touch Wiz, Motoblur & Sense). The UI complicate and cause issue with other programs. I have the SGS2 SR on AT&T. Until I moved to CM7 Enhanced Email had issues with Touchwiz. Other versions of Android OS did not.
36. SBrown (Posts: 9; Member since: 02 Jul 2010)
Personally, I disagree. I absolutely loathe stock android (im still undecided on ICS though). But I am grateful that the manufacturers do give me an option by making these UIs. And if, for whatever reason, I do decide that I like stock better, I can do what you do and flash a custom rom with stock on it. But I wouldn't like it very much if the manufacturers stopped developing their UIs and that option was taken away from me.
40. taz89 (Posts: 1897; Member since: 03 May 2011)
oem skins actually add features and just cause people like us may want stock i guarantee that many casual samrtphone buyers that dont come to these sites would hands down prefer tw4,sense or motoblur over stock especially gingerbread...ics looks nice but still doesnt provide some things that stock do such as toggles in notification and most of the ''new features'' in ics already existed on tw4,sense,motoblur...i personally love tw4 as it provides a lot of good features and isnt as bloated as sense and most importantly is super fast and smooth...so i cant wait to see what tw5 adds to ics because at the moment the ui of ics doesnt blow me away,social and contract intergration,send quick message when phone rings,resizeable widgets,fast browser with flash etc i can do all of them already.
19. DechyX (Posts: 109; Member since: 16 May 2011)
I hope Motorola keeps the UI that they have. I know it I'm in the minority but I honestly love it. No other UI has the time consistent push updateins that Motorola has, I like being informed from various sources such as Facebook, Twitter, and news feeds, which is how I came across this site. HTC may be pretty... but that's it, Samsung is too close to Apple and LG is just lacking in so many ways. Everyone has a different use for their phone and only Motorola has been able to satisfy my needs.
26. taz89 (Posts: 1897; Member since: 03 May 2011)
yep dont have a motorola device but have to agree the current moto ui is very very nice(hate the moto icons though),its vey smooth has nice transitions,folders in app drawer,resizeable widgets etc.dont see why people hate on it and dont give it a chance because the old motoblur ui was rubbish.same with touchwiz 4 which is arguably the smoothest and fastest skin and has the best managment of widgets,fastest/smoothest skinned browser,resizeable widgets and is hated on because of the old touchwiz 3...personally i hate sense,i can see wht people like it because it looks nice but its just not as fast or smooth as the others and does not have any transition effect,no resizeable widgets etc...guess thats why android is good as it provides something for everyone.
20. trin (Posts: 88; Member since: 11 May 2010)
Lol. Only in America will you find folks complaining about having too many options.
21. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)
@remixfa when was the last time HTC released a new flagship? it was the Rezound right? before the Rezound as I could remember it was the Vivid and before that it was the Amaze. You know what the difference is? HTC releases new phones on different carriers. Thats not what Moto is doing are they? And you sound like you havent purchased a new phone lately, did you? Hear those Bionic owners and you will understand.
27. taz89 (Posts: 1897; Member since: 03 May 2011)
but what is htc flagship device of 2011,agree they are on different network but theres just too many flagship devices, i would prefere it to be like samsung and have 1 main flagship device ie the gs2 and have thatt device on multiple carriers,yes they are slightly different but they all are still the gs2 and they are pretty much the same and dont feel like that carriers got a updated version of mine where as with htc you get an amaze on t-mobile and then for almost the same price a month later a better speced version comes on another carrier,rezound is an awesome phone and if they had just released that phone on all carriers but modified it slightly depending carriers like samsung would have been a better idea....i hate the fact that moto and htc better there own devices every couple of month,with samsung you get the one flagship device on all carriers except verizon who got the nexus(really a google phone)....agree that moto is the worst of the bunch releasing multiple flagships within months of eachother on the same carrier although i would guess thats more verizons doing than anything....well thats whats android all about choices,would be nice if they calm down on the amount of high end phones release,think all oems should stick to 2 top end devices and make how many mid and low end they want.
48. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
bionic owners need to understand that life goes on.. just because u buy a phone doesn't mean development and new releases should stop until you are ready for the next upgrade. That's not how life works.
And FYI I work in the industry I'm quite aware. :)
22. ccortazzo (Posts: 1; Member since: 30 Dec 2011)
I have an atrix, and it's a great phone, though i'm concerned i won't get upgraded to ICS because there is an atrix2 out already. Motorola makes a fine phone, but the problem i have with android handsets is that it seems there are too many models that don't get the same kind of support that apple gives it's iphones.
25. fanboy1974 (Posts: 942; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
The more garbage they add the slower it takes to upgrades the OS.
28. LewsTherin006 (Posts: 140; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)
Moto best smartphone was the Droid 1. it had awesome hardware and stock android. If they want to sell phones, just make awesome hardware with a few good tweaks to Android. Get rid of most of not all of motoblur. The razr is a step in the right direction, but they also need to scale back on their product releases. They are already on the Droid 4, and the droid 1 came out 2 years ago.
33. dsDoan (Posts: 208; Member since: 28 Dec 2011)
Sounds like a bunch of bloatware to me. Throw it in the market, and if I want it, I'll get it. You want to improve user experience? Don't force software on me; Allow me to make decisions for myself.
35. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 612; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
People with zero business degrees or skills attempting to tell a company how to make business decisions? What?!? Do you even know why companies keep pushing out multiple new phones? They spent so much money on R&D, to recoup that they have to continue releasing phones ever so often. It's the nature of business, you have to go with mass manufacturing and quickly get your product out there. Notice that Motorola as of late have been bringing out top notch devices with the Bionic being the only so-so device released the entire year. Check out their line, most of their releases have been given Droid status, meaning that from Motorola that is their best phone at the time of purchases.
The only reason manufacturers stick all this garbage excess software is to appease the Network guys VZW, AT&T. Now if networks wouldn't be such jackasses about certain features like tethering perhaps these wonderful phones would make more sense. Another thing each OEM wants to make their product standout which is why they all have their own custom skins, remember they are still bringing you a product of their making so they have to show off their wares. Vanilla Android experience on any new devices will probably never ever be seen again, and no stock Android isn't the smoothest nor the fastest especially when you consider the Galaxy Nexus with ICS hiccups and that is stock ICS. I like Motorolas new skin, it's less in your face and gives you access to things that you would need on hand and they are very slick looking. Want stock android go get one of the pure google phones, but don't complain to OEM's about it, it's their product and they have to show their work. It's like a project for class, everyone is given the same stock piece and is told to make this their own and bring it in for show and tell.
The OP has penis envy, who cares if they release a newer more powerful device, how is that affecting you? unless you are one of those people who must have the best device(which is think is one retarded issue) you might need counseling or something.
Not sure about some of the decisions the Motorola are about to make, but at least they are attempting to become a one stop shop like Apple. Perhaps once they get this type of recognition they might just release 5 different phones on networks and just perfect each throughout the year each on a 8-12 month cycle. That hasn't happened yet, but I do admire some of their cooler ideas, like the keyboard dock and HDMI port. Everyone does their own thing, why complain about Motorola doing theirs?
37. SBrown (Posts: 9; Member since: 02 Jul 2010)
I do realize that the manufacturers may see it as an excellent business strategy to make this many models of phones, but I believe that most of us are viewing their actions from the consumer's prospective and how it affects us.
Here are what I believe to be the two main issues that I have with releasing so many so many highend models so soon:
1)From my previous experience working as a VZW sales rep, most customers see buying smartphones as an investment. And when they buy, they want to invest in the best of the best thats out there, and they don't want to have buyer's remorse later. But if they spend $300 on the "best", they don't expect or appreciate it being surpassed so quickly, which leads to buyer's remorse. They feel cheated. I personally understand how quickly phones get outdated, but I do have empathy for other consumers who find that fact hard to accept.
2) Also from a consumer's perspective, too many models can be a bad thing when it comes to updates. There is nothing worse than buying a high end smartphone that has the hardware to be competitive over time, only to have it not receive a major update (or have to wait forever) because there are too many "newer" devices out that take priority.
*) Personally the biggest issue that I have is that differences between all the different model's software and hardware just aren't that vast to demand so many different models.
On the other hand, having so many different models out there does allow for the consumer to more choices and options to find a device that fits their needs. Another good thing is that there we are able to see advances in technology and hardware physically in our hands sooner. The question is do the pros outweigh the cons?
50. ardent1 (Posts: 1969; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)
> People with zero business degrees or skills attempting to tell a company how to make business decisions?
Because we are the consumers (as in customer satisfaction), and given Moto's ability to generate high levels of buyer's remorse, is it any surprise Moto is in such a bad shape financially speaking.
> Do you even know why companies keep pushing out multiple new phones?
Because these OEMs don't understand the basic business concept of ROIC or return on invested capital. Moto is a perfect example of failure at generating an acceptable ROIC and it's value wasn't the phone franchise, it was its patents!!!! Google is acquiring Motorola for their patents.
> They spent so much money on R&D, to recoup that they have to continue releasing phones ever so often. It's the nature of business have to go with mass manufacturing and quickly get your product out there.
Sorry, but that argument is horseh*t. Apple spends more money than Moto on R&D and Apple does not continue to release new phones every month and somehow Apple has the highest ROIC amongst the major handset OEMs. One of the biggest problems with Android OEMs is their poor ROIC and that poor ROIC will remain given that android OS is free and the low-cost OEMs (i.e. ZTE and Huawei for now) are going to take share in the long run.
> Check out their line, most of their releases have been given Droid status, meaning that from Motorola that is their best phone at the time of purchases.
More horseh*t. Motorola released 3 Razr handsets in mainland China around the time it released the Razr in the US. Based on the contemporary articles, it was clear Moto gave the BETTER handsets to mainland China than to the US. To add insult to injury, the Razr Maxx is "supposed to be" the 4.5" display that is ALREADY in the market in mainland China.
> Now if networks wouldn't be such jackasses about certain features like tethering perhaps these wonderful phones would make more sense
Even more horsesh*t ...
A) NOTHING is stopping the OEMs to sell their phones direct to the consumer; these OEMS can make phones work on certain networks. If you recall the history of the iPhone, Steve Jobs wanted to buy airtime and wanted Apple to sell the phones, but Cingular caved into Jobs' demands and the rest was history and for the first time, a handset OEM was dictating terms to the network carriers.
B) The carriers use multiple distribution channels to sell their phones, i.e. in their stores, on their websites, via third party such as Amazon, Wirefly, Costco, Best Buy, etc. meaning that SAME phone is being sold at different price points -- again, the ceteris paribus condition is the same phone on the same network but different prices. The smart consumers are not fooled.
I have more to add but this message is subject to 3000 character limit. Cheers.