(Repeats for wider distribution)
* Motorola also to make phone for Google direct channel
* Google channel phone may have Motorola brand on it
* Consumer feedback positive on Droid, Cliq
(Adds executive quotes, phone details, analyst comment,
By Sinead Carew
LAS VEGAS, Jan 6 Motorola Inc MOT.N said it
will sell a new "inside-out" Android flip-phone with a keyboard
and display on the outside, and is considering joining the
latest craze for tablet computing devices.
Co-Chief Executive Sanjay Jha said the company is mulling
making a tablet that is bigger than a typical cellphone as it
looks for the best way to combine wireless and computing
Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) are
also launching tablets this year, while Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is
widely expected to take the wraps off its tablet in late
"The tablet is one answer," Jha told Reuters in an
interview with Reuters on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics
Show in Las Vegas. "We're considering lots of things."
Motorola's biggest rival, Nokia NOK1V.HE, has already
branched outside of phones with a netbook computer. Motorola
itself is working on turning around its money-losing mobile
devices business by focusing mostly on smartphones based on
Android, the Google Inc (GOOG.O) mobile operating system.
Jha said Motorola's newest Android phone, the Backflip,
will go on sale in the first quarter. It has a full QWERTY
keyboard that flips back from the screen, and an unusual track
pad that functions like a computer mouse behind the screen.
The device also has a high-resolution display that can be
used for watching videos when it is slanted at an angle.
Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart said the Backflip's
success will depend on whether young consumers like it.
"It's definitely different and in some ways different is
good because it will stand out on the shelves," he said, noting
a lot of competition among several phone makers who sell
Android phones. "There's no question. They're innovating with
this product in terms of hardware."
Motorola already sells Android phones at Verizon Wireless
(VZ.N) (VOD.L) and T-Mobile USA (DTEGn.DE). Jha said those
devices had been well received by consumers.
AT&T Inc said earlier on Wednesday that it would sell
Motorola Android phones but gave few details. [ID:nN06166574]
Jha said that Motorola will "absolutely" bring out a
full-touchscreen device for the U.S. market, and showed off two
touchscreen phones to sell in China around the Lunar New Year.
He also said the company plans to make a phone for Google
Inc (GOOG.O) to sell directly to consumers -- a day after
Google introduced its first own-branded smartphone, which will
be sold exclusively on its website. [ID:nN06167276]
The Motorola device for Google's direct sales channel could
potentially sport the Motorola brand, Jha told Reuters.
While some analysts have queried whether Google was seeking
to break the hold that carriers have over device distribution
in the United States by selling handsets directly to consumers,
Jha said he sees Google's move as just another way for Motorola
to reach consumers.
But he noted that Motorola would not be getting into the
contract manufacturing business.
"One of the subsequent devices Google will sell to their
direct channel will be made by us," Jha said in the interview.
"It's an alternative channel to deliver devices to consumers."
The executive said that while some details were not yet
clear, he saw Motorola's strong brand as one of the reasons
Google wanted it to be part of its direct sales project.
The executive said Motorola was on track to come out with
at least 20 different models of Android phones this year.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and