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Motorola Disappoints With "New" Device

This morning in a studio in Chelsea on the west side of Manhattan Motorola unveiled a slew of mobile devices that will be hitting the market in coming months. The portfolio marks what's next for Motorola. Too bad it was a rehash of the devices announced three months ago at 3GSM. The one new device was, well, read on to find out...
This morning in a studio in Chelsea on the west side of Manhattan Motorola unveiled a slew of mobile devices that will be hitting the market in coming months. The portfolio marks what's next for Motorola. Too bad it was a rehash of the devices announced three months ago at 3GSM. The one new device was, well, read on to find out...As I sat in the audience among the best and brightest tech journalists and analysts, we were quietly wondering what new products Motorola was about to dazzle us with. The pre-show din belied our cautious optimism. After all, Ed Zander was quoted last week as saying how impressed he was with Motorola's new "media monster." The monster tuned out to be the Z8, which was first shown to audiences in Barcelona during February's 3GSM Congress. Um. We were expecting a bit more. True, the Z8 is am impressive phone in its own right. The video quality is superb, the screen fantastic, and its multimedia lifestyle applications rank with the best.

Instead, Motorola announced…wait for it, wait for it…another RAZR. Called the RAZR 2 (the originality here stuns even me), the new device does have a small amount of sex appeal. We're talking about a phone that's similar in design to the original RAZR, but is actually 2mm thinner. Nice, but not a necessary upgrade. Don't get me wrong, thin is in. But it's not like the original RAZR was a large device to start with.

There are three versions of the RAZR 2. A 3G HSDPA version, an EDGE variant (for Asian and Latin American markets) and a CDMA version. Each has different names and slightly different features.

Not only do they have different features some are disappointingly not available on the versions of the phone that will be sold in the U.S. GSM versions, for example, will have full HTML Web browsers, meaning you can say good-bye to crummy WAP Web sites. The CDMA version, however, will be limited to whatever proprietary browser the carrier decides to put on there.

The GSM/EDGE variant uses a cool Linux-Java hybrid operating system. It was highly customizable and using it was quick and easy. Not so the HDSPA and CDMA versions, though. They come with Motorola's old Synergy platform. Puzzling.

There are interesting advances, to be sure. It's rugged. Zander actually slammed his RAZR 2 onto a hard surface to demonstrate that it can take a beating. Now we don't have to worry about accidentally sitting on the thing and breaking it.

There is also a new ARM 11 processor in there that pushes 500 MHz, which is 10 times faster than the original RAZR's processor. Using it to zoom through menus, the improvement was obvious. It is definitely a fast phone.

Motorola put a 2-megapixel camera in the new RAZR (not a leap forward), USB 2.0 in micro form, and varying amounts of internal memory depending on which variant you select.

There was no real word carriers or when exactly they will be available. You can assume that the 3G HSDPA version will be available for Cingular in the next 90 days, with the CDMA version following on Sprint or Verizon not too long after that.

The RAZR 2 is a solid feature phone for the middle class user. It's just not what we were hoping for.

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
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John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
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