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Wed, May 24, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Motorola unveils `Q' phone


Motorola CEO Ed Zander holds the new ``Moto Q'' on Monday.


Motorola Inc, the world's second-largest maker of mobile phones, unveiled its highly anticipated "Q" cellphone on Monday, joining other manufacturers in aiming for businesspeople who want their e-mail to go.

The Q, which has a QWERTY keyboard and runs a version of Microsoft's Windows, enters a crowded field dominated by Research in Motion Ltd's BlackBerry and Palm Inc's Treo smartphones. Samsung Electronics Corp and Nokia Oyj have similar devices.

Motorola said the Q will be available for Verizon Wireless customers next Wednesday. A version running on technology compatible with Cingular Wireless will be available at the end of the year, although Motorola didn't specifically name the carrier.

Verizon Wireless will sell the Q for US$199.99 after a US$100 rebate with a two-year wireless agreement, Motorola said in a statement on Monday.

Motorola chief executive officer Ed Zander said that while the Q will initially target corporate customers, there is more potential for the device among "prosumers." The phone is designed to replace the regular handset, the e-mail pager, and the digital music player.

"The Q packs a lot of wallop and we expect to sell a lot of them," said Zander in an interview on Monday.

He declined to give specific targets.

While complimenting the BlackBerry, Zander said that for mass adoption, the device has to contain software familiar to businesses. For now, that means the use of Microsoft Corp's Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system.

Motorola has spent roughly two years developing the device, which has seen delays due to the integration of software and technology like Bluetooth. The device was initially expected to launch earlier this year.

Motorola has made a few phones with Windows Mobile before, but they were poorly reviewed and never launched in the US.

Research In Motion plans to add cameras and music players to the BlackBerry to counter competition from Motorola and larger rival Nokia. Waterloo, Ontario-based Research In Motion last month said it has almost 5 million subscribers and expects to add 675,000 in the three months through June 3.

Motorola increased its share of the cell-phone market to 20.1 percent in the quarter, the highest since 1998, from 16.5 percent, helped by sales of its Razr, Slvr and Pebl phones, Boston-based researcher Strategy Analytics said last month.

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