It may be coming in spring (finally), but the white iPhone 4 could be too late to make much of an impact of a rapidly growing smartphone market. In the United States, at least.

Motorola Mobility invests enormous amounts of money and time in discovering exactly what it is that customers want, and current trends suggest that white is no longer on the agenda.

Speaking to Pocket-lint, Jim Wicks, the company's corporate VP, director, Consumer Experience Design, Mobile Devices, said: "The trend over the last few years has been rather a non-colour: white".

However, things have changed: "In North America, white doesn’t resonate as much in the market as it does in Latin America or China, for example".

Not only does it explain why a majority of the mobile phones spotted at CES 2011 were darker colours or, indeed, black, but also that the white iPhone 4 may not have as much of an impact as it would have done in the summer of 2010.

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Recently, the newly formed offshoot, Motorola Mobility, has changed its working practices, especially when it comes to device design and engineering. In the past, the manufacturer would rely on its designers and engineers to come up with new products, and hope that the public like them. Now, it enters a period of intense research with consumers, to find out what they most want: "We’re trying to understand consumer needs in a much better way than ever before", said Wicks.

"We spent almost a month with consumers in eight different markets. We are now listening to the consumers, and then giving our designers a brief".

The Motorola Atrix 4G is one of the first products born from the new way of thinking. And, from what we've seen of that device at Pocket-lint so far, it's a positive step in the right direction for the manufacturer.

Do you disagree with Motorola? Do you have a hankering for white mobile devices? Let us know in the comments below...

First Look: Motorola Atrix 4G review