Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s Motorola Mobility division updated its phone lineup at Verizon Wireless with three new models, including one with an edge-to-edge screen, in a bid to challenge Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) and Samsung Electronics Co.
The centerpiece of the new products is the Razr M, a smartphone with a 4.3-inch display that extends across most of the device, meaning it lacks the typical frame or bezel at the edge. The phone has a 1.5-gigahertz dual-core processor, an 8- megapixel camera and will go on sale today at Verizon for $99 with a two-year contract, Motorola Mobility said.
The rollout represents the biggest product release since Google acquired Motorola Mobility for about $12.5 billion in May, thrusting the Internet-search giant into mobile-phone manufacturing. Google is using the purchase to promote its Android operating system, which Motorola Mobility was already using in its smartphones before the merger.
“We want to make devices that drive the Android ecosystem forward,” Motorola Mobility Chief Executive Officer Dennis Woodside said in an interview. “Market share is not part of the discussion.”
In addition to unveiling the Razr M, the company is introducing the Razr HD and the Razr Maxx HD, new versions of previous models with better battery life and 4.7-inch high- definition screens. All three phones will be available through Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. wireless carrier.
Ice Cream Sandwich
The Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD will come out before the holidays, said Woodside, though Verizon hasn’t given specific release dates or prices. All the new Razrs will be equipped with the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android and can be upgraded to the next iteration -- called Jelly Bean -- by year-end, he said.
While Google’s Android is the top smartphone operating system worldwide -- with more than 68 percent of the market, according to research firm IDC -- Motorola Mobility’s phones have struggled to compete with Apple’s iPhone and models from Samsung.
Google also faces the risk of alienating its Android partners, which license the software for use in their own phones. To avoid rankling those companies, including Samsung, Mountain View, California-based Google has decided to run the Android and Motorola units separately. Aside from using Google’s Chrome browser, the new Razrs don’t have more of a Google influence than other Android devices.
“There are no advantages for Motorola, no special access to code and no integration of the two teams,” Woodside said.
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