By Harry McCracken | Monday, November 3, 2008 at 10:00 am
You’ve just spent two grand on Motorola’s Aura, the cell phone that thinks it’s a Swiss watch. You suffer sudden buyer’s remorse. No problem–you can just put it on eBay and recoup at least part of your dough, right?
Um, problem. According to the blogosphere, the Aura comes with a contract that forbids you from dumping the phone on eBay. Instead, you can sell the phone back to Motorola. Supposedly, the company thinks it would tarnish the Aura’s image if it were available on the second-hand market.
It reminds me of the contract that Oscar winners need to sign to get their statuettes. That one mandates that before they can sell their trophy, they must offer to sell it back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences–for $1. I don’t know what Motorola’s buyback price is–I assume it’s more than a buck, but less than $2000.
Anyhow, it seems damned presumptuous of Moto to tell Aura buyers what they can with an Aura once they’ve plunked down their money. You also gotta wonder why a company that’s laying off thousands of people and trying to get out of the phone business altogether is devoting energy to the idiosyncratic Aura. I’m guessing that Aura will be short-lived–kind of like Sony’s equally preposterous Qualia line of a few years back, which included stuff like a $4000 2-megapixel digital camera. Which, as far as I know, you could do whatever you wanted with once you’d lost interest in it…