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Moto unveils autumn collection

Embattled handset vendor Motorola lifted the curtain on a raft of new devices late last week, after delaying the launch of its autumn collection due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

Moto had been planning to unveil its new range of devices on October 3 but something delayed the event until October 11.

The devices themselves are a bit of a mixture. The company is still trying to squeeze every last drop of value out of the RAZR brand, unveiling a special edition RAZR2 for the Christmas holidays. For special edition, read gold and snakeskin effect casing.

The U9, which makes a play for the music space, reworks the PEBL design with music player controls on the front.

Moto also introduced seven lower end W series devices – the W156, W160, W175, W180, W206, W213, and W377. All models follow the candy bar design, with the exception of the 377, which is a clamshell. Some incorporate an FM radio and others feature a VGA camera, which does not put them in a particularly competitive position.

Moto is in a bit of a pickle at the moment after reporting that net loss for the second quarter plummeted to $28m, down from a profit of $1.4bn in the same period last year. Revenues also dropped from $10.8bn a year ago to $8.7bn, as the company’s mobile handsets unit continued its downward trajectory.

Motorola shipped just 35.5 million units during the second quarter, down from 51.9 million in the same period last year.

Martin Garner, analyst with Ovum, commented: “Motorola is currently pinning its recovery hopes on re-vamped versions of its existing models, rather than attempting completely new models.”

Garner notes that the U9 is important here. The original PEBL sold in respectable quantities but was down on features and was eclipsed by the RAZR. “With this refresh, Motorola has kept the original tactile appeal of the PEBL but addressed the niggles,” Garner said, adding that, “the refresh of the W-Series is welcome, bringing stylistic updates, some new features.”

But he also said that the analyst’s main concern with the overall approach, is whether Motorola can position these releases as enough of an upgrade.

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