Click here for a slideshow of Motorola's new Android phones.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) executives offered a brief glimpse into the future of Motorola Mobility during the company's launch of a trio of new Droid-branded Android smartphones for Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ). The launch is Motorola's first major event since Google closed its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola in May.
"The new Motorola starts today," proclaimed Dennis Woodside, Motorola Mobility's new CEO, during the company's launch event.
At the event, Motorola announced three new devices that will be sold by Verizon Wireless: The Droid Razr M, the Droid Razr HD and the Droid Razr Maxx HD. The Droid Razr M, which sports a 4.3-inch screen that stretches from one edge of the device to the other, will go on sale next week for just $99 with a contract. The price indicates an aggressive move by Verizon to subsidize the phone below the industry-standard $199 for high-end smartphones. The price could be key for Motorola as it competes against Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5, which is expected to go on sale later this month.
Motorola said the Droid Razr HD features a new 4.7-inch Super AMOLED HD display, and will go on sale before the holidays. The Droid Razr Maxx HD is essentially the same as the Droid Razr HD but features a larger battery. Motorola did not provide pricing for either device.
Interestingly, Motorola said the three devices will initially launch with Android version Ice Cream Sandwich, but all will be upgraded to the newer Android version Jelly Bean before year-end. They will all ship with Google's new Chrome Android browser pre-installed. Motorola also said it will offer "developer" versions of the phones, which will allow owners to modify the phone's software.
Click here to watch Motorola's full launch event.
Woodside said Motorola under Google will focus on three main areas: Speed, power management and, not surprisingly, Android. Woodside said the company will ensure its devices sport powerful, speedy processors and run on 4G networks like Verizon's LTE network. He also said the company will "extend our lead in power management" by developing products such as the previously released Droid Razr Maxx, which features an enormous 3300 mAh Li-Ion battery with up to 21 hours of talk time.
As for Android, Google executives trumpeted the success of the platform and promised Motorola products would continue to rely on the operating system.
And, as if to reiterate the reasons behind Google's acquisition of Motorola, Woodside pointed out that "Motorola invented the technology that underpins the mobile industry." He said Neil Armstrong's moon landing relied on communications equipment from Motorola, and the first mobile phone call was made by Motorola engineer Martin Cooper with a Motorola DynaTAC phone. A major reason behind Google's acquisition of Motorola was to obtain Motorola's patent portfolio and use it to protect other Android licensees from patent-infringement lawsuits. Indeed, the importance of those patents gained even greater clarity following Apple's recent $1 billion victory in its patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest Android smartphone vendor.
Motorola was once the world's second largest cell phone maker, but the company has since been eclipsed by the likes of Apple, Samsung and others. Motorola in the second quarter accounted for just 2 percent of the globe's cell phone shipments, according to ABI Research.
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