Motorola introduces Q smart phone at last

Motorola finally introduced its Q smart phone on Monday.

The long-awaited Q smart phone from Motorola debuted Monday, nearly half a year late and facing tough competition from the likes of Research In Motion's BlackBerry.

Verizon Wireless is Motorola's exclusive carrier partner on the device, which runs Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0 and boasts what Motorola calls the world's thinnest design for a handset with a QWERTY keypad: just 11.5 millimeters (0.45 inches) thick. The Q will use Verizon's BroadbandAccess service, based on the mobile operator's fastest network technology, EV-DO (Evolution Data-Optimized).

The Q is designed for users who want e-mail and productivity applications. It lets workers view documents from desktop applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel and Adobe Systems Acrobat. The phone also features Windows Media Player Mobile and dual speakers, along with a speakerphone function, and built-in Bluetooth for headsets and car kits. It's part of a proliferation of business mobile devices running on wireless networks that finally deliver something comparable to wired broadband speeds.

Also Monday, Good Technology announced its GoodLink push e-mail software will be available on the phone, and Sybase said the Q will support several of its iAnywhere mobile tools. They include SQL Anywhere data management and synchronization software and OneBridge infrastructure software for mobilizing any enterprise application. Through Sybase's XTNDConnect PC, Q users will be able to synchronize e-mail and other data with Microsoft Outlook, IBM Lotus Notes and Organizer, Novell GroupWise and Sage Software's Act.

In addition to the BlackBerry, which is backed by an installed base of RIM servers in thousands of enterprises, Motorola's new device goes up against Nokia's E61 and Palm's Treo. Microsoft's relatively immature software may be the Q's greatest weakness in the fight, Gartner mobile analyst Ken Dulaney said last week.

Motorola Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ed Zander first showed off the Q last July, saying it would ship in the first quarter of 2006. Last week he acknowledged the phone was late, saying the company had hoped to roll it out in January.

The Q goes on sale May 31 on Verizon's Web site and June 5 in its stores. It will cost $US199.99 after a $US100 instant credit when purchased with a two-year agreement on one of three Verizon voice and data plans. The three plans all include unlimited data usage for Internet browsing, e-mail and intranet access. They range in price from $US79.99 to $US169.99 per month.

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