Motorola started in Chicago, Illinois as Galvin Manufacturing Corporation (at 847 West Harrison Street) in 1928, with its first product being a battery eliminator. At that time the radio had not yet been developed for use in automobiles, but Bill Lear and Howard Gates of Zenith made a pair; Lear designed the circuit and layout, Gates did the metal work and Lear assembled them. Bill Lear presented Paul Galvin with the prototype, and he last dismissed it. Later the idea was taken up by Galvin and a 200 unit production run was made. In 1930 Galvin Manufacturing Corporation introduced the Motorola radio, one of the first commercially successful car radios. Company's founder Paul V. Galvin and investor Bill Lear created the brand name Motorola. Galvin and Lear mulled over names for the product on a cross-country trip and came up with "Motorola" which was a blend of "motor" and the then popular suffix -ola used with audio equipment of the time (for example "Victrola"). The product was such a success that Galvin changed the name of the company to Motorola.
The name "Motorola" was adopted in 1930, and the word has been used as a trademark since the 1930s.
Many of Motorola's products have been radio-related, starting with a battery eliminator for radios, through the first walkie-talkie in the world in 1940, defense electronics, cellular infrastructure equipment, and mobile phone manufacturing. In the same year, the company built its research and development program with Dan Noble, a pioneer in FM radio and semiconductor technologies joined the company as director of research. The company produced the hand-held AM SCR-536 radio during World War II, which was vital to Allied communication. Motorola ranked 94th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.
In 1943, Motorola went public and in 1947, the name changed to its present name. At this time, Motorola's main business was producing and selling televisions and radios.
In October 1946, Motorola communications equipment carried the first calls on Illinois Bell telephone company's new car radiotelephone service in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1955, years after Motorola started its research and development laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona, to research new solid-state technology, Motorola introduced the world's first commercial high-power germanium-based transistor. The present "batwing" logo was also introduced in 1955 (having been created by award-winning Chicago graphic designer Morton Goldsholl in late 1954).
Beginning in 1958, with Explorer 1, Motorola provided radio equipment for most NASA space-flights for decades including during the 1969 moon landing. A year later, it established a subsidiary to conduct licensing and manufacturing for international markets.
Motorola created numerous products for use by the government, public safety officials, business installments, and the general public. These products include cell phones, laptops, computer processors, and radio communication devices. The Motorola RAZR line has sold over 120 million units bringing the company to the number two mobile phone slot in 2005.
Since the 1950s, used Motorola radio equipment has been popular with amateur radio ("ham") operators. Known as "Ma Batwings," Motorola has provided little to no support to hobbyists, who keep using these radios for years or even decades after they were taken out of production.
The company began making televisions in 1947. The Cathode ray tube, developed by the company in a joint venture with National Video Corporation became the industry standard. In 1960, it introduced the world's first "large-screen" (19-inch), transistorized, cordless portable television. In 1963 it, introduced the world's first truly rectangular color TV. In 1974, Motorola sold its television business to the Japan-based parent company of Panasonic.
In 1952, Motorola opened its first international subsidiary in Toronto, Canada to produce radios and televisions. In 1953, the company established the Motorola Foundation to support leading universities in the United States. In 1964, it opened its first company Research and Development branch outside of the United States, in Israel under the management of Moses Basin.
In 1969 Neil Armstrong spoke the famous words "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" from the Moon on a Motorola transceiver.
In 1973, Motorola demonstrated the first hand-held portable telephone.
In 1976, Motorola moved to its present headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois.Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first private handheld mobile phone call on a larger prototype model in 1973. This is a reenactment in 2007.
In September 1983, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the DynaTAC 8000X telephone, the world's first commercial cellular device. By 1998, cellphones accounted for two thirds of Motorola's gross revenue. The company was also strong in semiconductor technology, including integrated circuits used in computers. In particular, it is well known for the 6800 family and 68000 family of microprocessors used in Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Color Computer, and Apple Macintosh personal computers. The PowerPC family was developed with IBM and in a partnership with Apple (known as the AIM alliance). Motorola also has a diverse line of communication products, including satellite systems, digital cable boxes and modems.
In 1986, Motorola invented the Six Sigma quality improvement process. This became a global standard. In 1990, General Instrument Corporation, which was later acquired by Motorola, proposed the first all-digital HDTV standard. In the same year, the company introduced the Bravo numeric pager which became the world's best-selling pager.
In 1991, Motorola demonstrated the world's first working-prototype digital cellular system and phones using GSM standard in Hanover, Germany. In 1994, Motorola introduced the world's first commercial digital radio system that combined paging, data and cellular communications and voice dispatch in a single radio network and handset. In 1995 Motorola introduced the world's first two-way pager which allowed users to receive text messages and e-mail and reply with a standard response.
In 1998, Motorola was overtaken by Nokia as the world's biggest seller of mobile phone handsets.
On September 15, 1999, Motorola announced it would buy General Instrument in an $11 billion stock swap. General Instrument had long been the No. 1 cable TV equipment provider, supplying cable operators with end-to-end hybrid fiber coax cable solutions. This meant that GI offers all cable TV transmission network components from the head-end to the fiber optic transmission nodes to the cable set-top boxes, now at the availability of Motorola.
In 1999, Motorola separated the Semiconductor Component Group (SCG) and formed ON Semiconductor, headquarters located in Phoenix, Arizona.
In June 2000, Motorola and Cisco supplied the world's first commercial GPRS cellular network to BT Cellnet in the United Kingdom. The world's first GPRS cell phone was also developed by Motorola.
In 2002, Motorola introduced the world's first wireless cable modem gateway which combined a high-speed cable modem router with an ethernet switch and wireless home gateway.
In 2003, Motorola introduced the world's first handset to combine a Linux operating system and Java technology with "full PDA functionality".
In June 2005 Motorola overtook the intellectual property of Sendo for $30,000 and paid £362,575 for the plant, machinery and equipment.
In June 2006, Motorola acquired the world-class software platform (AJAR) developed by the British company TTP Communications plc.
In 2006, the firm announced a music subscription service named iRadio. The technology came after a break in a partnership with Apple Computer (which in 2005 had produced an iTunes compatible cell phone ROKR E1, and most recently, mid-2007, its own iPhone). iRadio has many similarities with existing satellite radio services (such as Sirius and XM Radio) by offering live streams of commercial-free music content. Unlike satellite services, however, iRadio content will be downloaded via a broadband internet connection. As of 2008, iRadio has not been commercially released and no further information is available.
In 2007, Motorola acquired Symbol Technologies, Inc. to provide products and systems for enterprise mobility solutions, including rugged mobile computing, advanced data capture, and radio frequency identification (RFID).
January 2011, Motorola splits into two separate companies, each still using the word Motorola as part of their name. One company, Motorola Solutions (using a blue version of the Motorola logo), is based in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois and concentrates on police technologies, radios, and commercial needs. The other company, Motorola Mobility (using a red logo), is based in the Chicago suburb of Libertyville, Illinois and is the mobile handset producer.
August 15, 2011, Google announced that it would purchase Motorola Mobility for about $12.5 billion. On November 17, 2011, Motorola Mobility stockholders “voted overwhelmingly to approve the proposed merger with Google Inc”.
May 22, 2012, "Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that the acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: MMI) has closed, with Google acquiring MMI for $40.00 per share in cash." ($12.5 billion) – from the Google Press Announcement, http://investor.google.com/releases/2012/0522.html
Divisional Products:Enterprise Mobility Solutions: Headquarters located in Schaumburg, Illinois; comprises communications offered to government and public safety sectors and enterprise mobility business. Motorola develops analog and digital two-way radio, voice and data communications products and systems, mobile computing, advanced data capture, wireless infrastructure and RFID solutions to customers worldwide. Home & Networks Mobility: Headquarters located in Arlington Heights, Illinois; produces end-to-end systems that facilitate uninterrupted access to digital entertainment, information and communications services via wired and wireless mediums. Motorola develops digital video system solutions, interactive set-top devices, voice and data modems for digital subscriber line and cable networks, broadband access systems for cable and satellite television operators, and also wireline carriers and wireless service providers. Mobile Devices: Headquarters located in Libertyville, Illinois; currently the least prosperous arm of the firm; designs wireless handsets, but also licenses much of its intellectual properties. This includes cellular and wireless systems and as well as integrated applications and Bluetooth accessories.