Motorola unveils second-gen RAZR smart phone

Editor’s Note: This story is reprinted from Computerworld. For more Mac coverage, visit Computerworld’s Macintosh Knowledge Center.

Motorola Tuesday announced the next-generation RAZR phone, called RAZR2.

It is a slimmer second-generation device, reduced in size by 2 millimeters from the original, best-selling RAZR, according to a statement by Motorola.

“With the modern style and powerful performance of RAZR2, Motorola is once again redefining the cell phone,” said Motorola CEO Ed Zander in a statement.

The RAZR2 ships in July, shortly after Apple is scheduled to release the iPhone in late June. Pricing and terms with particular network providers were not announced. Many analysts have been urging Motorola to provide an update of the RAZR, which has sold 98 million units.

With the thinner dimension, RAZR2 measures 103 x 53x 11.9 millimeters. Among its features, users may be impressed that it will ship in three versions for three separate wireless networks: 3G HSDPA, EVDO/CDMA and GSM, Motorola said. Some versions will run Linux/Java5. It ships with up to 2GB of memory for handling Web browsing and real-time video and songs.

It includes a 500Mhz processor, a full 10 times faster than the original RAZR, Motorola said. It includes an external 2-inch phone display and an internal 2.2 inch display.

“I think this is going to be an impetus to get Motorola back on an uptick, because they didn’t do well this quarter,” said Will Strauss, an analyst with Forward Concepts. “Motorola needs a winner. They’ve pretty much tapped out their original Razr, with prices coming down from the hundreds of dollars to 30 bucks now. The prices are so low, it’s almost a break-even device.”

Motorola also moved to rescue its mass-market sales today. The company upgraded its W-Series and Motofone, expecting to launch those entry-level cell phones in the fourth quarter in an effort to reinforce its bulk sales volume. Even though the profit margins are far slimmer on those sub-US$100 phones than the Razr2, the strategy is important for allowing Motorola to protect its market share, retain bragging rights for advertising and keep its manufacturing efficiencies, Strauss said.

Together, launching devices for the high-end and low-end market segments could lead Motorola to increased sales in a period when the entire cellular market is expected to rebound with a strong second half of 2007, after drifting with flat sales in the past two quarters, he said.

Motorola also updated the rest of its handset line, announcing plans for a new Moto Q 9, Moto Z8 and Rokr Z6, all set to start shipping in Europe and Asia by June.

Ben Ames of the IDG News Service contributed to this report.

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