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July 'beam down' for 2G RAZR phone

Motorola has announced the next-generation RAZR phone, called RAZR2. It is a slimmer second-generation device, reduced in size by two millimetres from the original RAZR.

"With the modern style and powerful performance of RAZR2, Motorola is once again redefining the cell phone," says Motorola CEO Ed Zander.

The RAZR2 ships in July, shortly after Apple is scheduled to release the iPhone in late June. Pricing and terms with particular network providers were not announced.

With the slightly thinner dimension, RAZR2 measures 103 x 53 x 11.9mm. It will ship in three versions for three separate wireless networks: 3G HSDPA, EVDO/CDMA and GSM, Motorola says. Some versions will run Linux/JavaTM5. It ships with up to 2GB of memory for handling web browsing and real-time video and songs.

It includes a 500Mhz processor that is 10 times faster than the original RAZR, Motorola says. It includes an external two-inch phone display and an internal 2.2 inch display.

"I think this is going to be an impetus to get Motorola back on an uptick, because they didn't do well this quarter," says Will Strauss, an analyst with Forward Concepts. "Motorola needs a winner. They've pretty much tapped out its original Razr, with prices coming down from the hundreds of dollars to 30 bucks now. The prices are so low, it's almost a break-even device."

Motorola also moved to rescue its mass-market sales. The company upgraded its W-Series and Motofone, expecting to launch those entry-level cell phones in the fourth quarter in an effort to reinforce its bulk sales volume. Even though the profit margins are far slimmer on those sub-US$100 phones than the Razr2, the strategy is important for allowing Motorola to protect its market share and keep its manufacturing efficiencies, Strauss says.

Motorola also updated the rest of its handset line, announcing plans for a new Moto Q 9, Moto Z8 and Rokr Z6, all set to start shipping in Europe and Asia by June.