Motorola (Finally!) Admits It Is Working On Touch Screen Phone - InformationWeek

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8/1/2008
12:45 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Motorola (Finally!) Admits It Is Working On Touch Screen Phone

In a recent interview, Motorola CEO Greg Brown said that the company will release a slew of new handsets in the second half of the year, including a touch-based device to compete with the iPhone. About time, or too little too late?

In a recent interview, Motorola CEO Greg Brown said that the company will release a slew of new handsets in the second half of the year, including a touch-based device to compete with the iPhone. About time, or too little too late?Yesterday, Motorola posted its second-quarter results. Even though the mobile phone division lost money, the company as a whole eked out a small profit. If there's anything Motorola's mobile phone division needs right now, it is some exciting handsets to rally around. The Motozine ZN5 was the first ray of hope to poke out of Motorola's design studio last month. Speaking with Crain's Chicago Business, Motorola CEO Greg Brown indicated that more is on the way.

According to Crain's, Motorola is set to unleash 34 new handsets before 2008 closes. Nestled into that bunch of new phones will be Motorola's answer to the Apple iPhone. Brown didn't go into specifics on what the phone would be like or what it could do, only that it is working on a touch device.

Motorola has surely produced touch-based devices in the past. Its Linux-based Ming phone has been available in the Asian market for years, and was a big success there. Whether or not Brown was referring to a North American version of the Ming, or an altogether brand new product is not entirely clear.

Even so, it's about time that Motorola even talked about competing with the iPhone and other successful touch devices. Just about every other major manufacturer already has a touch screen device in the market (LG, Samsung, HTC, Palm) or has announced that one is in the works (Nokia, Sony Ericsson). Until now, Motorola had not even announced plans to enter a mass-market focused touch screen device into the market to compete with the iPhone, Instinct, Vu and others.

Crain's reports that "a person familiar with Motorola's road map says the company has shown at least 10 to 12 new products so far, including a touch-screen smartphone similar to HTC's popular Touch. The Motorola product has been referred to as Halo."

I don't know if Motorola needs a halo so much as it needs a Hail Mary touchdown at the moment. But even the rumor of a touch device from Motorola is noteworthy. For the CEO to speak of it openly is a good sign. Let's hope the second half of the year is exciting as this report says it will be.

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