Motorola plans 5-6 smartphones in China this year

SEOUL (Reuters) - Motorola Inc is planning to launch five to six smartphones in China this year with one model ready to be unveiled shortly, officials of the U.S. mobile phone maker said on Monday.

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“In China, we’ve already launched two models last month, and there will be another one very very shortly, and probably another four or five later,” John Gherghetta, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Mobile Devices Business, told reporters in Seoul.

Motorola is betting on smartphones after losing market share to rivals for more than two years and has reorganized its mobile business around developing phones running on Google’s Android operating system.

Gherghetta was speaking at a news conference for the launch of its ‘MOTOROI’ smartphone in South Korea, to be offered by SK Telecom.

The new model has a bigger camera and more media features than its Droid model sold in the United States, according to Motorola.

“There will be a version of this phone in China in the first half,” Gherghetta said. He declined to identify which Chinese operator would offer the new model.

Spiros Nikolakopoulos, Vice President of Mobile Devices in charge of Asian and international retail distribution, said Motorola was planning “at least” 20 models across the world this year, “probably four to five in every country.”

Motorola executives also said it was open to developing devices with other platforms, such as Microsoft’s Windows Mobile.

Partner China Mobile in October said it would introduce eight smartphone models from Motorola this year using a lower-cost platform called OPhone.

Worldwide factory shipments of smartphones are expected to rise about 28 percent in 2010, according to iSuppli.

Reporting by Shin Jieun; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner