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Motorola: Next Year's Models?

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) claims to be unfazed by a leak of slides giving details of some of the mobile phones it plans to introduce next year, saying that the images are "out of date."

"The material is interesting," Motorola spokesperson, Alan Buddendeck told Unstrung. "But I don't know that I would want people to think that they're getting a comprehensive overview of the latest and greatest from Motorola." The purported roadmap -- which you can see in all its slideware glory here -- shows off a brace of new high-end, mid-range, and low-cost models.

Some analysts have suggested that the "roadmap" shows Motorola is trailing competitors such as Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, and Samsung Electronics.

"There is simply not enough here to make Nokia or Samsung nervous regarding their market shares in 2003," says Richard Windsor, a communications equipment analyst for Nomura Holdings Inc. in a research note. "Many models appear to be aimed to compete with other models that will have been in the market for a significant period at the time of launch."

For instance, the slides show a particularly striking new smartphone called the Paragon II. This sleek vessel of virtue is a high-end color smartphone running the Symbian 7.0 operating system and dolled up with 802.11, Bluetooth connectivity, and polyphonic sound for extra-annoying ringtones.

It looks as if it could be a strong competitor for new smartphones like the Sony Ericsson P800 (see Sony Ericsson Races Santa). But -- according to the slides -- the Paragon II is slated to hit the market in the fourth quarter of 2003, a full year after the P800.

However, Motorola's Buddendeck says that all the information on the slides is subject to change -- fast. "The development process is pretty fluid," he claims.

In fact, he's says, the silver lining to the whole affair is the fact that Motorola is getting a lot of "real-time response and reaction" from Motorola users about the designs. [Ed note: cheaper than a focus group at any rate, eh?]

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
http://www.unstrung.com
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