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Double or Nothing?

The jury's still out on the new Pebl. Its fate hinges on the interplay among design (the Pebl), the balance sheet (paper), and finicky consumers (scissors), who can cut even the savviest strategy to ribbons.

  • Paper Beats Pebl

    The Pebl falls prey to the economics: Typically, it costs $20 million to develop a new product and another $200 million to launch it globally. That's why a product's life cycle is four years or, more often, four months.
  • Scissors Beats Paper

    Moto's play—phones as fashion statements—gets cut short when consumers fail to embrace the Pebl and tire of the Razr derivatives, shredding Motorola's recent sales growth and leaving it between a rock and a hard place.
  • Pebl Beats Scissors

    The Pebl rocks. Its smooth, rounded body and velvet-soft skin blunt consumer criticism that it's too clunky. Instead, it evokes simplicity and proves to be another iconic design for Motorola.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 2006 issue of Fast Company magazine.