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Motorola's Holiday Buzz, Er, Ring Fest

As visions of ring tones dance in their heads, the lineup offers Moto Q smartphones with built-in HSDPA technology and worldwide capabilities, along with a slider phone that can stream live TV and Razr's that adjust volume in noisy rooms.

Did you hear that present ringing?

There's no question that mobile phones are a hot item on gift lists this year. While there are plenty of choices, Motorola this week released its own "must-have" holiday lineup, which includes the latest smartphones and cell phones.

The first on the list is the Moto Q smartphone, which is being offered in three flavors: the Moto Q 9h Global for international travelers, the Moto Q 9c for U.S.-based mobile professionals, and the Moto Q 9m for music lovers.

The 3G-enabled Moto Q 9h, which became available in stores last month, has the ability to access high-speed cellular data networks through its built-in HSDPA technology and it's the first Moto Q smartphone sold in the United States with worldwide capabilities.

The Moto Q 9h and the Q9c both come with Microsoft's latest Windows Mobile 6 operating system, which includes Direct Push Technology for automatic delivery of e-mails from Exchange servers. The Moto Q 9c also has 3G connectivity with its built-in EVDO technology, providing average download speeds of 400 Kbps to 700 Kbps.

In addition to Windows Mobile 6, the Moto Q 9m features an integrated music player and 3G connectivity for faster downloads. The smartphone has a media-centric home screen that allows users to navigate through multimedia content. Users also can create photo slide shows choreographed to music on the phone using Microsoft's Photo Story software.

The good news is subscribers of all three major carriers in the United States can get their hands on one of the Moto Q smartphones. The bad news is the carriers have exclusive rights to specific models. For example, the Moto Q 9h is available from AT&T for $200 with a two-year contract, the Moto Q 9c is being offered by Sprint for $150 with a two-year contract and a rebate, and the Moto Q 9m runs on Verizon Wireless' network and costs $150 with a two-year contract.

Motorola's early Moto Q model was first introduced in the United States through Verizon Wireless last May. The initial model had several limitations, particularly the omission of the full Mobile Office Suite, making it impossible to create and edit documents. The new Moto Q smartphones with Windows Mobile 6 solve that problem by offering full Office capabilities.

Motorola's lineup also includes the Moto Rizr Z6tv from Verizon Wireless. The $180 slider phone is capable of streaming live TV and has an integrated digital audio player.

Of course, Motorola didn't forget its most popular phone, the Moto Razr. Its 3G-enabled successor, the Razr 2, is available from AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in V8, V9, and V9m models; prices range from $200 to $400. The Razr 2 V9 from AT&T and the Razr 2 V8 from T-Mobile include "Crystal Talk" technology that automatically adjusts volume and tone in noisy environments.

For those who don't want to be tied to specific carriers, Motorola is offering unlocked phone models as well. The Razr V3i, in lime green and chrome, has quad-band GSM global capabilities and costs $240. Then there's the Moto Rokr Z6, also unlocked for GSM networks and available for $280.

Let the holiday shopping begin.

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