Motorola, Microsoft to launch smartphone next month

Motorola will launch its first Microsoft-powered smartphone in the Middle East next month, within a range of devices to be made available by the US mobile provider before the end of the year.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  September 17, 2003

Motorola will launch its first Microsoft-powered smartphone in the Middle East next month, within a range of devices to be made available by the US mobile provider before the end of the year.

Costing around US$500, the MPx200 will be marketed alongside three other clam-shell devices; the V500, V300 and V600; an entertainment-oriented effort, the E365; and a low-end device, the C200.

It will also be the first of a series of smartphones to be made available by Motorola and Microsoft following this month's formal announcement of their alliance to jointly develop and market mobile devices.

"We'll be launching it [the MPx200] in the Middle East in October," says Patrick Mulligan, general manager, personal communications sector, Motorola, Middle East and North Africa.

"This is a first in a series of phones with the Microsoft operating system. Next year will probably see two or three new devices, all with enhanced functionality," he adds.

The MPx200, developed by Taiwanese manufacturer, Chi Mei Communications, includes an expandable memory card of up to one gigabyte and allows customers to browse the web using Microsoft's Pocket Internet Explorer.

Users can also download and listen to digital music, view video clips via Windows Media Player and install applications on their handset wirelessly or via a USB connection.

However, the phone was developed on Microsoft's current Windows 2002 software so does not support camera or Bluetooth functions.

Globally, the MPx200 is expected to be available in October through mobile operator, Orange, and other distributors in Europe. AT&T Wireless is expected to launch the device in the US in Q4.

Its launch follows Motorola's recent decision to sell its stake in Microsoft's rival mobile software consortium, Symbian, although the provider will continue to licence the Symbian operating system for some of its future products.

Earlier this year, Motorola also launched a smartphone in the Far East, which uses Linux as its operating system and Java as a framework for multimedia applications.

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