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Moxell Readies Motorola CE Introductions

LAS VEGAS — The U.S. business unit of Moxell Technology took the wraps of its first Motorola-branded flat-panel television displays at the Motorola booth and in the CES HDTV Sports Bar here.

Under the leadership of Rick Calacci, Moxell Technology president, the company will first deliver a range of LCD and plasma-TV monitors, DVD players and recorders and various IT-related components, including rewritable DVD drives, DVD-ROM drives and LCD PC monitors.

Deliveries are slated to begin by the second quarter of 2004, likely starting with IT-related goods, followed by electronic entertainment devices. Eventually, Moxell will deliver a range of products that will interface with the wide range of connected home networking solutions under development by Moxell partner Motorola. Those connected home concepts are on display at the Motorola booth, along with a number of Moxell’s products slated for delivery ‘within 90 days,’ Calacci said.

Moxell, which is a division of Taiwan-based Proview, is licensing the Motorola brand for CE products, and is working in collaboration with the communications technology giant on future technologies for the various connected-home solutions that Motorola is demonstrating at CES.

‘We’ve spent an enormous amount of time at Motorola’s think-tank working with their engineers on the connected home strategy,’ Calacci said. ‘This is an alliance. We can’t just slap their name on a product and bring it to the United States. Everything has to pass Motorola’s performance expectations, and that will take some time.’

Even cosmetically, Moxell is keeping in step with its namesake, Calacci said, ‘everything with the Motorola name on it will have the same look and feel.’

CES is serving as ‘the soft launch’ for Moxell’s first television products, which are now slated to roll out between March and October, after plans for a fourth quarter 2003 launch were delayed to conform to Motorola’s guidelines.

‘As we get later into the year, in our flagship models, you will start to see Motorola’s connectivity capability integrated into our products,’ said Michael Amkreutz, Moxell product marketing VP.

Moxell is also planning DLP-based rear- and front-projection displays, which will be manufactured in at an undisclosed factory in the Americas.

Going forward, Moxell is planning ‘some very unique products focused on lifestyle that will be introduced in the first quarter of 2005.’

The bulk of the company’s products will come from Proview factories, in Shenzhen, China; Taipei, Taiwan and Brazil.

But Calacci said Moxells’ access to supply ‘is vitually unlimited,’ thanks, in part, to the stature of the Motorola name in Asia and other parts of the world.

‘Our signing with Motorola has virtually every supplier in Asia wanting to become part of it,’ Calacci said.

Moxell will utilize one sales organization to handle all products under the Motorola brand, including both IT and CE-focused goods, Calacci said. He said the Moxell management team ‘will go to market with a limited number of manufacturers’ reps, and we will also go very carefully with some two-step distribution to handle the rural markets.’

As for its retail distribution plans, Calacci said Moxell plans to begin product launches in ‘both the A and B channels, where A channels represent the assisted selling floors — like Tweeter, Good Guys and NATM accounts, and B channels would be Circuit City, Best Buy and so forth. As we evolve into 2005, we may possibly bring in the C channel, which is the warehouse clubs, to help launch new products, but that is a long way down the line.’

To start, products will be launched within a very select group of dealers and then expanded, he said, but going forward the plan is to move back and launch new technology products in the A channel, first.

‘We realize that we will be handling products that have to be sold,’ Calacci said, adding that Moxell is meeting with 25 of the top dealers at the Venetian Hotel during the show. ‘This is not self-serve technology. It is going to evolve over time.’

Moxell is in the process of setting up offices in Garden Grove, Calif., and Chicago.

Moxell plans to launch advertising as products become available. But, the company expects to enjoy a built-in brand recognition from Motorola’s many years of handling advanced communications technologies.

In late 2004 and 2005, Calacci said he expects to push some of the secret high-tech products they have in development with advertising to help separate Motorola’s image from the competition.