Motorola, Verizon to sell Droid business phone

Motorola, Verizon to sell Droid business phone

By Reuters

Sanfrancisco: Motorola Inc said on Tuesday Verizon Wireless would sell the Droid Pro, the mobile phone maker’s first device for business customers based on Google Inc’s popular Android operating system.

Boasting push email with corporate-level security among the phone’s features, Motorola is aiming squarely at the market dominated by Research In Motion’s Blackberry, which is also sold at Verizon Wireless, the No. 1 US mobile operator.

Verizon’s heavy promotion of Motorola’s first two Droid phones the Droid and the Droid X, has helped Motorola revitalize its ailing phone business since late last year.

Motorola said the new device will supports Adobe Systems’ Flash software and has Wi-Fi short-range wireless connections that can be used in areas of spotty cellular network coverage.

The Droid Pro somewhat resembles a BlackBerry, with a keyboard bar as well as a 3.1-inch touchscreen display, which is smaller than other Droid models. Motorola did not reveal pricing, and said the Droid Pro will be available in the coming weeks through the mobile venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone.

“There is a particular trend, which is consumerization of the enterprise," Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha said in an interview on Tuesday ahead of the CTIA trade show in San Francisco. CTIA-The Wireless Association, an international trade group, represents all wireless communication sectors.

“We’ve added a lot of the business functionality that will allow the CIO (chief information officer) to say you can buy that device and bring it to the enterprise," he said.

Motorola also announced a slew of new consumer smartphones based on Android, including a cheaper model named Citrus, which will also be sold at Verizon Wireless in the fourth quarter.

Citrus comes with a Qwerty key-board and features Microsoft Corp’s Bing search engine.

Motorola competes with Apple Inc’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics in the fast-growing smartphone market.

While Verizon Wireless has helped put Motorola back on the map in smartphones, some analysts have worried that Motorola is too dependent on the operator, especially because of rumors Apple will expend iPhone distribution next year.

With this in mind, Motorola earlier Tuesday announced three new lower-end Android phones that will go on sale at No. 2 US operator AT&T Inc in time for holiday shoppers.

Android-based phones have surged in popularity this year. According to the latest data from research group Nielsen, Android is the No. 3 smartphone platform in the United States, behind BlackBerry and Apple’s iOS.

But Android was the most popular platform among customers who bought smartphones in the past six months, Nielsen said.

Motorola plans to separate its phone and set-top box units from its wireless enterprise business in the first quarter.

The cellphone and set-top business will become a new entity called Motorola Mobility while Motorola is renaming itself Motorola Solutions after the split. Greg Brown will head Motorola Solutions, while Jha will run the phone business.