Motorola in phone launch to rival Apple

 
Steve Dinneen
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MOTOROLA yesterday set out to show it is still a force in the mobile market with a “reboot” of its top-selling Razr handset, saying the phone is “out of the league” of rivals Apple and Samsung.

The ultra-thin device, the first launched since Google announced its $12.5bn (£7.91bn) takeover of the firm, looks set to become one of the flagship phones running Google’s Android operating system.

Speaking to City A.M. at the phone’s launch in Berlin yesterday, the firm’s head of devices Alain Mutricy said the Razr is the perfect opportunity to restore Motorola’s flagging European brand.

He said: “It’s true the Motorola brand in Europe is not as strong as some others – it’s very strong in the US, China and Latin America – but to reboot your brand you need to have a very strong product and a very unique product. And if there is a time we can do that, it is with this device.

“I don’t think this phone is in the same league [as the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy S2] – I think it’s out of their league.”

The launch came in a frenzied 24 hours in the mobile industry, in which Google revealed the latest version of its Android mobile software, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich, which will go head-to-head with Apple’s new iOS 5.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Nexus, created in collaboration with Google, will be the first device to run the update, which includes a feature that uses facial recognition to unlock your phone.

Samsung is tipped to overtake Apple in smartphone sales this quarter after setting a blistering pace with its Galaxy S2 and receiving a boost from news of a weaker than expected 17m iPhone sales.

However, extra competition in the Android market from a rejuvenated Motorola could chip away at Samsung’s lead.

FIRST LOOK

By Steve Dinneen in Berlin

COMEBACK gigs are difficult to get right. Success is often as much about capturing a moment in time as outright talent. Get it right and it can be a glorious reminder of your glory days – think Pulp at Glastonbury – but get it wrong and you risk tarnishing your memory, much like the Stone Roses at Leeds. Double or quits. It's a risky business.

This is the situation Motorola finds itself in with its new Razr. Back in the heady days of 2004 it was the coolest phone on the market but Motorola has never quite replicated its success. Now it’s decided it's time for that comeback gig.

First impressions are impressive. Its screen dwarfs that of the iPhone 4S and it is a good bit thinner, with curves bending into each corner. The downside is this makes it look a little like its been squashed. It also suffers slightly from being too light for its own good, feeling a bit like a display model minus its innards.

It packs some serious processing power into its 7.1mm shell and if it had been released on a world without Samsung, the Razr could have become an instant hit. As it is, you get the nagging feeling you’ve seen this act before.