Under pressure from Apple's iPhone and Nokia's claims of cell phone market share gains, Motorola launched its hoped-for savior phone, the Razr2, in Korea this week, with introduction likely scheduled to take place next month in the United States.
At about $630 (in Korea), the phone isn't inexpensive. But it's thinner than Motorola's popular earlier Razr models, its screen is larger, and call quality is reportedly much improved.
The Razr2 features a large external screen for viewing incoming calls and text messages without opening the phone, as well as a stainless-steel internal frame for durability and a scratch-resistant glass surface. Beyond a nicer form factor, Motorola said the phone will be available to users of all three major cellular technology networks around the world: HSDPA, EVDO, and GSM. And since call quality can't solely be blamed on wireless carriers, Motorola included its CrystalTalk patented technology on the Razr2, which automatically adjusts the phone's audio to make calls clearer in noisy environments.
But the most impressive thing about the Razr2 is its multimedia capabilities, including a full HTML browser, Google mobile search, a music player, and a videoconferencing feature that lets users stream live video calls. Motorola plans to introduce a lot more phones -- both smartphones and feature phones -- with similar capabilities.
In a statement, Motorola's Korean unit observed: "We're releasing our new phone in the Korean market first in recognition of tech-savvy and fashion-aware Korean consumers." The phone is offered in Korea through SK Telecom, the country's largest mobile phone service provider.
In the Korean market share standings, Motorola is in third place with 11.5% of the market, according to Korean market research studies. Korean supplier Samsung Electronics has 55% of the market, and LG Electronics has 19%. Nokia is the market share pacesetter in worldwide handset deliveries.
Motorola has sold nearly 100 million Razr phones, which were a minor sensation when they first hit the market. However, competition quickly forced the firm to lower its prices, and Motorola's earnings suffered accordingly.