* Jha plans slimmer lapdoc accessories for more phones
* Eyes 2011 phone range around similar size to 2010
* Does not plan to offer Microsoft based phone
By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, Jan 5 Its dumb and its called a
lapdoc but Motorola Mobility (MMI.N) bets consumers will want
to use this gadget to make their smartphones work more like
real computers and help Motorola stand out from the crowd.
The company that invented the cellphone unveiled the Atrix
4G phone, which will attach to a new type of accessory called
a lapdoc -- a "dumb" device that looks like a laptop computer
but does not work without the phone attached. It has a laptop
size screen and a keyboard aimed at better Web browsing, video
viewing and typing than on a phone.
Chief Executive Sanjay Jha told Reuters in an interview at
the Consumer Electronics Show that he aims to develop slimmer
lapdocs onto which consumers could attach multiple phones.
While consumers can use smartphones for a lot of computing
activities such as web browsing, Jha said they need more than
this for long emails or watching a movie on a plane.
"I like it a lot because all we've done is added
accessories to our devices and added applications that change
the way you can use them," Jha said. "I think we've a chance
of differentiating ourselves."
After the product unveiling in a big packed room where
attendees cheered and clapped after seeing the demonstration
Jha said he already has plans in place to expand the line up.
"If you wait you miss the slot, so you have to commit," he
The No. 2 U.S. mobile provider AT&T Inc (T.N) highlighted
Atrix at its product showcase earlier in the day and said it
would sell it at a "competitive price" starting this quarter.
Motorola will also try to boost sales in the new product
category with a marketing splash on the Atrix and lapdoc,
which are so unusual, they need to be explained more carefully
to consumers than typical phones, Jha said.
But Chief Marketing Officer Bill Ogle told Reuters that
while Motorola will spend "dramatically more" on marketing
this year it will still be a relatively small amount versus
spending on devices like Razr, its flagship phone from 2004 to
Jha said Motorola Mobility, which was newly created a day
before Jan. 4 as a spin off from Motorola Inc, would be
cautious not to over-extend itself this year. The executive
has revamped the company in the last two years by focusing
solely on smartphones based on Google Inc's (GOOG.O) Android
With this in mind Jha said Motorola would not branch into
new operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft
Corp (MSFT.O) and will instead continue to focus on building
Android phones for the foreseeable future.
Motorola will also keep its device lineup the same size or
smaller than its 2010 range of 23 phone models, Jha said.
"We think more and more than doing fewer devices better is
more important that doing lots of devices," Jha said noting
that some mid-range devices made less of a financial
contribution than Motorola had expected last year. He did not
give details about these phones.
Jha said the company would launch a range of tablet
computers this year. The top two U.S. mobile operators Verizon
Wireless and AT&T Inc (T.N) both said they would sell Motorola
tablets, which compete with the Apple Inc (AAPL.O) iPad.
Jha had a positive outlook for the industry in 2011.
"It looks like 2011, at a macro economic level, will be
good. And as I look at the quality of developments, the
competition between carriers and between handset makers, it
kind of feels like 2011 should be a exciting year," Jha said.
For other stories from the CES, see [ID:nN03289143].
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Gary Hill)
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