By Mark Long / Mobile Tech Today. Updated February 03, 2010.
Verizon Wireless said Wednesday that it will launch another Android-based smartphone from Motorola next month. The Motorola Devour will be the first phone on Verizon's national network to feature MOTOBLUR -- an application and service suite that provides users with dynamically pushed Internet content via a unique user interface.
The unveiling of the Motorola Devour is the latest sign that the struggling handset maker will continue to fiercely contend for a sizable slice of the lucrative smartphone market. Motorola's first Android smartphones -- the Droid and the CLIQ -- have been "very well received by consumers, resulting in shipments of two million smartphones in the fourth quarter to more than 20 countries," Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha told investors last month.
Gartner analysts argue that the majority of Motorola's smartphone sales were Droids, and a good indication that Android helped boost the company's performance in the quarter. "What I would say, though, is that considering the tremendous push from Verizon, those results are somewhat underwhelming," said Gartner Research Director Carolina Milanesi.
Instant Social-Network Updates
Sporting a touch-sensitive navigation pad and 3.1-inch capacitive touchscreen, the Motorola Devour integrates a slide-out QWERTY keyboard; Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi radios; a USB 2.0 port and DLNA interface for wirelessly sharing content with other compatible devices; and a motion-sensing accelerometer. The new handset, which ships with an 8GB microSD card, also offers support for to 32GB of storage.
On the software side, the Devour integrates an Android-based web browser featuring Adobe's Flash Lite player. Other preloaded applications include Gmail, Google Search, Google Talk, and YouTube, together with Google Maps and Google Maps Navigation. Additionally, users will be able to select and choose from among the 20,000 applications available at the Android Market.
Featuring an extruded aluminum case, the 5.89-ounce Motorola Devour integrates a native music player. According to Motorola, the device is cable of playing video clips and music tracks in the AAC, AMR, H.263, H.264, MP3, MPEG-4, WAV, WMA, WMV, MIDI and AAC+ file formats.
What's more, Motorola's MOTOBLUR user interface automatically delivers streams of selected content from social-networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, enabling users to quickly flick through the latest updates and fire back responses. The technology also syncs contacts from work and personal e-mail services with posts, messages, photos and other content from social-networking sites.
More Android Phones Coming
Motorola's future plans for MOTOBLUR include expanding the technology to offer additional security and management functionality, Jha told investors. "We also plan to broaden the scope of MOTOBLUR by doing to multimedia what we did to social messaging by enabling users to share music, photos and other content in an interactive and dynamic way," Jha said.
Moving forward, Motorola has slated additional Android models for release later in 2010, including the Backflip, Motoroi, MT710 and the XT800. Overall, the struggling handset maker intends to broaden its handset portfolio through the launch of at least 20 smartphone devices around the world this year, Jha said.
However, Motorola's new Android phones aren't expected to have any impact in regional markets such as western Europe -- where the company has severely cut staff and reduced its portfolio to just two non-Android products, the Dext and Milestone, noted IDC Research Manager Francisco Jeronimo.
Network operators in Europe "don't believe Motorola will survive, and there's no point to create a customer base for a brand that might disappear," Jeronimo said. "Secondly, consumers don't trust Motorola products" because the company has had "serious quality problems in Europe with huge levels of returns in the past and consumers remember that still."