July 25, 2005 6:26 PM PDT

Motorola unveils keyboard phone, sunglasses

Motorola announced a new range of wireless products on Monday, ranging from a Blackberry-like keyboard phone to a pair of sunglasses with a phone built into the stems.

Still missing, however, was the iTunes-compatible phone that the company first announced along with Apple Computer a year ago. In a nod to the eager speculation around that device, Motorola Chief Executive Officer Ed Zander said the product would be sold by major operators by the end of the current quarter, but was not yet ready to officially be unveiled.

"Every time I talk about that, I end up putting my foot in my mouth," Zander said in a Webcast showing off the new products. "We're not going to launch the iTunes phone today. Steve Jobs is not going to jump out of a cake...(but) it's real, and it is happening."

The wireless products that Motorola announced Monday include the following:

• Moto Q: A thin QWERTY mobile phone built on the Razr design, the Q features e-mail and voicemail running on the Windows Mobile 5.0 platform.

• Razrwire: Motorola and Oakley introduce eyewear that offers active users wireless, hands-free connections to Bluetooth-enabled devices. It will be available in early August.

•  Motorola WiMax: Designed to deliver wireless broadband, Motorola's new Wi4 products will use all-IP technology and peer-to-peer architecture to reduce hierarchical cellular network equipment.

•  Ojo: A personal video phone that allows video mail that offers high-quality video and synchronized audio. Users can record a video greeting for incoming calls, and callers can leave a video message.

•  Rokr: A family of music phones that offers dedicated music keys, music player interface, extensive memory and long battery life.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer attended the product release event via video to tout the benefits of Microsoft's mobile operating system for the new Q device. The two companies will be jointly selling the keyboard phone to businesses, Zander said.

The iTunes phone has been the subject of intense speculation for months, as delays led analysts to say Motorola and Apple had misread the potential demand for the device.

Unlike the MP3 player market, wireless carriers--which typically subsidize phones for their subscribers--are the primary customers for phone handset manufacturers.

Wireless carriers are eagerly looking to music services to attract customers, and they plan to support music-enabled phones. However, their primary goal is to drive people to use their expensive new broadband data networks, and they see over-the-air music downloads as a potential gold mine.

By contrast, Motorola's iTunes phone is designed to allow people to transfer music from a computer running the iTunes software. That will lead people to download music over their home Internet connections, rather than over the airwaves--a less attractive option for carriers.

"What the carriers want is people to use the networks," said Iain Gillott, who heads telecommunications consulting firm iGillott Research. "They want revenues. Motorola and Apple missed that fact."

The latest release of Apple's iTunes jukebox software for computers did show hints of the coming phone support, but did not reveal any details.

Reuters contributed to this report.

2 comments

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Copying Nokia are we?
Nokia already has a Blackberry-like keyboard phone...And who would want a pair of sunglasses with a phone built in the stems? You won't be wearing those sunglasses inside...
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
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Consumers first, for a change?
<quote>
"What the carriers want is people to use the networks," said Iain Gillott, who heads telecommunications consulting firm iGillott Research. "They want revenues. Motorola and Apple missed that fact."
</quote>

No, I don't think Motorola and Apple missed anything. I think they are putting the consumer first, for a change, because they realized it could generate more revenue for them (i.e. more units sold) if the product is consumer friendly.
Posted by C.Schroeder (126 comments )
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