Will T-Mobile USA offer the Linux-based RAZR2?

Following Verizon Wireless' announcement early Friday morning that it would offer the RAZR2 V9m (the EV-DO version), AT&T and Sprint have announced their own RAZR2 plans and Motorola chimed in to remind us that Alltel, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, US Cellular and Verizon Wireless will all have the RAZR2. AT&T is going to offer the 3G version of the handset, the RAZR2 V9, while Sprint is offering the EV-DO version (V9m), like Verizon Wireless.

Current Analysis' principal analyst for mobile devices, Avi Greengart believes T-Mobile USA is going to launch the Linux-based version of the handset, the V8, which is the first one to run on Motorola's MOTOMAGX Linux platform. "It's fast," Greengart said. "It's not obvious to end users that it's a Linux phone, but it is obviously much faster than previous RAZR's. It's running on a 500MHz processor."

AT&T noted in its release that its former brand Cingular had an exclusive with Motorola for the launch of the first RAZR, but no such deal exists between carriers and the handset maker for the RAZR2. Greengart says that the onus is on Motorola to convince consumers to buy the RAZR2 as a result. "Motorola is going to have to foot the bill on this one. Carrier advertising budgets tend to be spent on marketing exclusive devices to consumers. I suspect AT&T will continue to focus on the iPhone. Verizon Wireless will likely focus on the LG Chocolate 2, which is only at Verizon. It's good for Motorola that this handset will have wide distribution, but it's going to have to convince consumers to seek this out, and [the RAZR2] is pricey [at $299.99]," Greengart said. Especially when you can get an iPhone for another couple hundred dollars. 

Greengart says the critical question that will decide the fate of the RAZR2 is whether consumers are going to view this as a hot new fashion item that they need to pay a premium for or are they going to just see it as another version of the RAZR. "That's why I think Motorola is going to have to do a good job marketing it. The RAZR2 is not only a more attractive phone, and it is more attractive, but it's also more durable. I think marketing campaigns could play off of that.... maybe they should show Beyonce falling down the stairs with [a RAZR2 in her hand]. Then she gets up and says, 'See? Still beautiful,'" Greengart quipped.

For more on the RAZR2 launch:
- read this release from Motorola
- read this release from AT&T
- read this release from Sprint