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Moto unsheathes RAZR 2

Embattled vendor Motorola debuted the RAZR(2), the handset which may have the company’s future riding on it, with a handful of US carriers on Friday afternoon.

The device will be available from Alltel, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless, within 14 days, the company said.

Attempting to cover all bases, Motorola has made the RAZR(2) family available for three technology platforms. The V9 is targeted at 3G HSDPA operators, the V9m is for 3G EV-DO CDMA networks and the V8 is for 2G GSM networks.

But the successor to the iconic RAZR has more in common than just the name. Thin is still in over at Moto and the RAZR 2 is a full 2mm slimmer than the original skinny model.

All three incarnations feature a larger internal screen for full HTML web browsing and an external screen for viewing media, music and/or messaging without opening the clamshell phone. Users will apparently receive touch feedback on the external screen through “haptic” key technology.

Under the hood, the UI has been completely redesigned and the new focus is on multimedia. Some variants are available with up to 2GB of memory and the ability to download music over the air. Google search tools also come pre-installed.

But for such a thin device, it’s under an awful lot of pressure.

Motorola reported that net loss for the second quarter plummeted to $28m, down from a profit of $1.4bn in the same period last year.

Revenues 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. Some critics have noted that the most telling evidence of weaknesses in the company’s product line comes from the fact that the vendor is still going on about the RAZR. Now Moto has shipped its 100 millionth device apparently.

Sales in the Mobile Devices segment were $4.3bn, down 40 per cent compared with the year ago quarter. The unit incurred an operating loss of $264m, compared with operating profit of $804m a year ago.

So far this year, the firm has eliminated 7,500 jobs, not counting those of its CFO or the head of mobile devices. Although Carl Icahn’s attempt to force his way onto the board was repelled, the shareholders are predictably unhappy.

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