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5/22/2006
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Verizon To Sell Motorola's BlackBerry Competitor

The Moto Q combines features of the BlackBerry with the video iPod from Apple Computer. It can be purchased online May 31 and on June 5 in Verizon's retail stores.

Motorola Inc. on Monday said the Moto Q, a handheld device expected to go head-to-head against Research In Motion Ltd.'s popular BlackBerry, is scheduled for release at the end of the month through Verizon Wireless.

The new device that combines features of the BlackBerry with the video iPod from Apple Computer Inc. can be purchased online May 31 and on June 5 through the carrier's retail stores. Verizon is the exclusive seller, Schaumburg, Ill.-based, Motorola said.

With the Moto Q, Motorola is apparently trying to interest businesspeople with features for accessing and synchronizing with corporate email, calendar and contact applications; and support for standard desktop documents, such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint; and Adobe System's Acrobat. The device runs on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0, which offers the familiar Windows interface.

The ultra-thin device supports standard corporate virtual private networks and offers password authentication for security. It also includes a standard QWERTY keyboard, which is also part of the BlackBerry.

In trying to lure customers, however, Motorola has added features such as music and video playback through Microsoft's Windows Media Player Mobile, Web browsing and instant messaging. These features, as well as the other data services, require access to Verizon's high-speed EV-DO network.

The Moto Q also supports Bluetooth 1.2 wireless technology for communicating with compatible headsets, car kits and other devices.

In taking on the BlackBerry, however, Motorola is up against a formidable competitor for business customers. RIM in the first quarter posted a 30.8 percent increase in shipments of the BlackBerry to take a market-leading 25.5 percent share, according to Gartner Inc. Palm was No. 2 with 12.6 percent of the market for personal digital assistants, followed by Hewlett-Packard, 11.5 percent.

The Moto Q is expected to sell for $200, after a $100 instant credit when purchased with a two-year voice and data plan from Verizon Wireless.

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