Moto's Q Pulls Up to the Curb

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Verizon Wireless are hoping to break the price barrier for smartphones today with the hotly anticipated launch of the uber-skinny Q device. The device will retail for $199 -- after a $100 mail-in rebate -- when it hits the shelves at the end of this month.

On the face of it, the $200 Q, which will run on Verizon's EV-DO 3G network, looks like sharp competition for the latest Palm Inc. Treos and BlackBerry BlackBerry devices, which tend to retail for around $300, after rebates.

"It is going to be interesting," says Mark Shockley, VP of seamless mobility at Motorola's mobile devices business unit. "We're looking at this as something to drive enterprise [sales], as is Verizon. But the $199 price-point really opens up some possibilities in the consumer market as well."

As Unstrung revealed Friday, however, enterprise users might find one piece of the jigsaw missing. The device isn't yet shipping with the Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP) update for its Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows Mobile 5.0, which enables wireless "push email" between the device and Microsoft's Exchange email server. (See No Push for the Q?.)

"We'll be bringing that out later this year is the plan," says Shockley. Analysts have been suprised that Motorola didn't have the update available at launch.

Nonetheless, Shockley says that Motorola is "pretty pleased" with the messaging options already offered on Q. The phone can be wirelessly linked to corporate email systems via Good Technology Inc. 's GoodLink system, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s Intellisync software.

Then, of course, there is what Shockley calls the "cool, lifestyle factor." The phone, which sports a QWERTY keyboard, is as slim as Motorola's best-selling RAZR phones. It also has MP3 audio/video onboard, a digital camera, and Bluetooth 1.2.

Verizon calling plans will cost between $80 and $170 per month. All of the plans feature unlimited data usage.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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