Motorola Stages First Major Smartphone Launch As A Google Company


Motorola Mobility hosted Wednesday its first major product launch since being acquired by Google in May, unveiling a new family of Droid smartphones running Google's Android OS.

Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside referred to the handset maker during a press event in New York City as "the new Motorola Mobility," emphasizing its close-knit relationship with parent company Google and the fact that it is "the only major OEM to go all in with Android."

"In many ways, Google and Motorola have only just begun," Woodside told the crowd.

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Motorola confirmed its commitment to Android by decking out all three of its new Droid smartphones with Android 4.0.4, Ice Cream Sandwich, a version that's easily upgradeable to the latest release, version 4.1 Jelly Bean. What's more, Motorola said all of the Android-based phones it has launched since 2011 will be updated to Jelly Bean by the end of the year.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said on stage Wednesday that nearly 1.3 million Android activations happen every day, a staggering adoption rate that has propelled the OS to become the most widely used smartphone software in the world.

The first smartphone introduced by Motorola was the new Droid Razr HD, which sports a 4.7-inch HD display that has 78 percent more pixels than the original Droid Razr. The new Droid Razr HD also gets nearly 40 percent greater battery capacity than its predecessor, an enhancement that boosts its average talk time to 16 hours and allows it to surf the Web more than four times faster than Apple's iPhone 4S, Motorola said.

Also announced was the new Droid Razr Maxx, a more souped up-version of the Droid Razr that offers an even longer 21 hours of talk time and a higher memory capacity. And, the last to be unveiled was the Razr M, a smaller 4.3-inch phone that features an edge-to-edge display Motorola says affords users 40 percent more screen real estate than the iPhone.

All three phones are exclusive to Verizon and run on its 4G LTE network. They also all come pre-loaded with Google's Chrome Web browser. Pricing details were not disclosed for the two new Droids, which are slated to launch in time for the holiday season, but the new Razr M will hit shelves next week with a $100 price tag.

Google acquired Motorola Mobility in May in a $12.5 billion deal, thrusting itself into the competitive realm of smartphone and tablet hardware. The acquisition has not yet given Motorola enough of a competitive boost to go head-to-head with mobile giant Apple, though many projected it would give the handset maker an upper hand against other Google OEM partners, including Samsung and LG.

Last month, Google announced its plans to lay off nearly 4,000 employees from its Motorola Mobility unit, or about 20 percent of the unit's 20,000 headcount, in an effort to cut down on operational costs.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 5, 2012