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Handsets on Parade

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
7/26/2006

It's been a big week in the handset market. The top two cellphone vendors -- Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) -- have introduced new models, and High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) is planning to start selling smartphones under its own name in Europe. (See HTC Steps Out of the Shadows.)

The most interesting devices initially for enterprise users appear to be some of Motorola's new models. The firm has unveiled seven new models, including a handful of 3G models. This includes one CDMA EV-DO and two HSDPA versions of the best-selling RAZR and an EV-DO version of the SLVR [ed. note: the one that looks a bit like a RAZR but isn't]. All of these phones are expected to be on the market by the end of this year.

The world's number two cellphone maker introduced a new thinner RAZR, which is called the KRZR. A slide version of the RAZR -- the RIZR(!) -- is on the books, too. The vendor also has an ultra-skinny design called MOTOFONE in the works.

Analysts reckon that Moto's moves should bolster its cellphone sales as RAZR sales gradually level off. Motorola has been seeing strong sales from its skinny RAZR for several quarters now. (See Moto's Handy Quarter.)

Top-ranked cellphone vendor Nokia has a couple of N-series "multimedia" phones in its new summer lineup. The N73 and N93 are more entertainment-focused devices, according to Jack Gold at J.Gold Associates.

"The type N series seems more oriented towards the entertainment end of things," says Gold. "While there probably are some enterprise users who may adopt such devices, I think most will move towards the E series devices, which have more features geared towards business users."

Nokia is pinning a lot on its E-series phones, as Unstrung has reported before. Gold points out, however, that the E61 phones are only shipping in Europe so far, not the U.S. The company is expecting to have more E-series phones on the market by the third quarter of this year. (See Nokia: No Enterprise Love.)

Korean ODM giant HTC, meanwhile, is planning to start shipping phones under its own name in Europe. Its plans for the U.S. market are less certain at the moment.

"In Europe, where there is more of a market for unlocked devices, HTC will begin to sell under their own brand name, but as it stands now and for the foreseeable future, HTC does not have any plans to market branded devices in the U.S.," a spokesperson for the company told Unstrung.

— Dan JNZR, Site Editor, Unstrung

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