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South Korea first to dial Motorola's iPhone challenger

Posted: 03 Jul 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:iPhone challenger? Motorola Razr2? South Korea cellphone market?

Under pressure from the Apple iPhone and Nokia's claims of cellphone market share gains, Motorola launched its hoped-for savior phone, the Razr2, in Korea this week. U.S. introduction is likely scheduled to take place next month.

Priced at $630 in Korea, the phone isn't inexpensive. But it's thinner than Motorola's popular earlier Razr models, its screen is larger, and call quality is reportedly much improved.

The Razr2 features a large external screen for viewing incoming calls and text messages without opening the phone, as well as a stainless-steel internal frame for durability and a scratch-resistant glass surface. Beyond a nicer form factor, Motorola said the phone will be available to users of all three major cellular technology networks around the world: HSDPA, EVDO and GSM. And since call quality can't solely be blamed on wireless carriers, Motorola included its CrystalTalk patented technology on the Razr2, which automatically adjusts the phone's audio to make calls clearer in noisy environments.

It has full HTML browser, too
But the most impressive thing about the Razr2 is its multimedia capabilities, including a full HTML browser, Google mobile search, a music player and a videoconferencing feature that lets users stream live video calls. Motorola plans to introduce more phonesboth smart phones and feature phoneswith similar capabilities.

Motorola has been preparing a batch of new handsets in an effort to recapture lost market share.

In a statement, Motorola's Korean unit observed: "We're releasing our new phone in the Korean market first in recognition of tech-savvy and fashion-aware Korean consumers." The phone is offered in Korea through SK Telecom, the country's largest mobile phone service provider.

In the Korean market share standings, Motorola is in third place with 11.5 percent of the market, according to Korean market research studies. Korean supplier Samsung Electronics has 55 percent of the market and LG Electronics has 19 percent. Nokia is the market share pacesetter in worldwide handset deliveries.

Motorola has sold nearly 100 million Razr phones, which were a minor sensation when they first hit the market. However, competition quickly forced the firm to lower its prices, and Motorola's earnings suffered accordingly.

- W. David Gardner

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