Motorola seeks new users for simple Motofone

Motorola launched the entry-level Motofone cell phone in India Tuesday

Motorola launched an entry-level cell phone on Tuesday, hoping to make up ground on rival Nokia by selling a large number of the simple handsets instead of relying on high-priced smartphones.

Motorola launched the Motofone F3 in India, planning to roll it out soon to worldwide markets. The company will focus its sales efforts on developing countries in an effort to enlist the world's next billion mobile phone users, said Ron Garriques, president of Motorola's mobile devices division.

The value-priced handset is designed to attract first-time users by substituting graphical icons and voice commands for the standard text-based interface. The phone saves weight and cost by using a plastic screen instead of glass, and extends battery life by using a monochrome "electronic ink" display.

Motorola launched a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) version called the Motofone F3 Tuesday, and said it would launch a CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) version called Motofone F3c by the end of 2006. The company predicted the phone will cost less than US$50, although specific prices are set by carriers.

Motorola plans to use the product to win business in a different market segment than its high-end Q smartphone and ultra-slim Razr and Krzr cell phones.

Sales of those phones pushed Motorola to sell 53.7 million handsets in the third quarter of 2006, an increase of 39 percent over that period last year and a larger gain than the market average. As a whole, worldwide mobile phone sales grew 21.5 percent in the third quarter, to 251 million units, according to market research firm Gartner.

Despite its strong performance, Motorola was not able to catch up to Nokia, which retained its position as the world's largest mobile phone vendor with 35.1 percent of the market. Motorola trailed with 20.6 percent market share, ahead of Samsung with 12.2 percent, Gartner said.

Still, by launching its Motofone before the end of 2006, Motorola surprised some analysts who had predicted a seasonal slump for the company. "The Krzr is struggling to enjoy the same reception that greeted the Razr, and the Motofone might not be available until 2007. Christmas might not be so jolly for Motorola in some markets," Gartner said in its report.

By targeting developing markets, Motorola has made a smart move to fight that challenge, said the report by Carolina Milanesi, Gartner's principal analyst for mobile terminals research. "Although sales of replacement handsets during the third quarter in more mature markets were not as buoyant as we have been accustomed to, they were offset by continuing momentum in sales to first-time buyers in emerging markets."

With Motofone, Motorola has made a strong bet that she is right. The company relied heavily on its mobile devices division for US$7.03 billion of its total US$10.6 billion revenue for the third quarter.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ben Ames

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?