July 26, 2005 1:00 am

Motorola unveils its latest range

Motorola, the US-based electronics group, announced on Monday a slew of new products including the Moto Q, a sleek mobile communicator powered by Microsoft software and designed to compete with RIM's Blackberry device.

Motorola described the Moto Q, which is modelled on its stylish Razr handset and uses Microsoft's Windows Mobile software, as “the world's thinnest, lightest Qwerty phone”.

Like the Blackberry and other mobile communicators from Nokia, Sony Ericsson and others, the Moto Q combines the features of a traditional mobile phone with email capability.

The Moto Q, which is expected to be available in the first quarter of next year, could pose a serious challenge for RIM whose wireless email-capable Blackberry devices have become enormously popular.

Nevertheless, some companies have balked at RIM's corporate software licensing fees while Blackberry users often complain about the device's lack of advanced phone features and voice call quality complaints that Motorola is clearly aiming to exploit. “Great email and good looks aren't enough,” said Motorola. “True productivity demands superior voice quality too.”

Like RIM's Blackberry, the Moto Q features thumb-wheel navigation but Motorola claimed it was “50 per cent thinner than its top competitors” despite building in additional features including a 1.3 mega-pixel camera and flash.

The Moto Q is also one of the first devices to use the latest version of Microsoft's Windows Mobile software - a move that ensures it will hook up easily to corporate email systems built around Microsoft's Exchange 2003 and Outlook email software.

Among other product announcements last night, Motorola unveiled sunglasses with a built-in Bluetooth hands-free headset in partnership with Oakley, the eyewear specialist, and a video mail service designed to work with Motorola's Ojo Personal Video Phone.

Noticeably missing from the line-up was Motorola's long-promised Apple iTunes phone which Ed Zander, Motorola's chief executive, has said will be launched this summer.

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