Motorola Licenses iTunes, Announces Five New Phones

Motorola Licenses iTunes, Announces Five New Phones

Sascha Segan

Motorola got busy this week, announcing five new phones. This ups the company’s total of highly-anticipated models to ten. As if that wasn’t enough, it also announced that Apple will license iTunes (and the iTunes Music Store’s protected file format) to Motorola for use with its phones. In addition, the company also entered into an agreement with Research in Motion to bring the popular Blackberry e-mail technology to some of Motorola’s smartphones.

Here’s the rundown of what’s coming from Motorola:

The V710, previously announced and available in August from Verizon Wireless, is guaranteed to be a hot seller: it’s Verizon’s first phone with Bluetooth networking. It also features a 1.2-megapixel camera and TransFlash expandable memory to store your still and video shots. It’ll sell for $249 after a $70 rebate, with a two-year service contract.

The V810, also previously announced, is coming in September from U.S. Cellular. It’s a bit less thrilling than the 710—it’s your typical flip phone with a VGA camera and CDMA 1X data support. Expect it to sell for $150 to $200, with a two-year contract.

We’ve been waiting for the MPx220 Windows Smartphone for a while; Motorola announced officially that it will arrive before the end of the year. In addition to the Windows Smartphone OS, the MPx220 will have Bluetooth and a 1.3-megapixel camera with flash. If you don’t love Microsoft’s built-in e-mail solution, no problem. Motorola and Research in Motion announced today that the MPx220 will be able to connect to RIM’s Blackberry servers for push-style e-mail.

And now for the new handsets, which are all supposedly coming out by the end of the year:

The RAZR V3 is all about style: it’s made of titanium and aircraft-grade aluminum and measures just half an inch thick. This GSM phone hasn’t been picked up by a carrier, but rumors have its price tag around $700.

The A780 is a chunky, flip-up GSM smartphone that runs on Linux. It will have Bluetooth, a TransFlash memory slot, EDGE high-speed data, a big 320 by 240 screen, a 1.3-megapixel camera, MP3 player, and a document reader, supporting Microsoft Office and PDF files. The Linux OS will be the big question here—will the phone come with sufficient software to let it compete with Symbian, Palm and Microsoft OS phones?

The CN620 may be the first U.S. phone to roam between Wi-Fi and cellular networks…if a carrier here picks it up. The phone will let you make a Voice over IP (VoIP) call, say, in the office and roll the same call onto GSM when you leave the building. Now that’s very cool. It’s apparently based on Windows CE, so we expect it’ll have some smartphone features as well.

Rounding out the new releases, the V551 and V620 update the existing V500 and V600 models, respectively. The V551 will add EDGE high-speed data (so it’ll be offered by either AT&T or Cingular, both of which are building EDGE networks), and both phones will allow video recording.

Though Motorola’s press release barrage didn’t mention it, the A840 is also marked for release this year. The phone will combine GSM and CDMA, letting Verizon customers roam worldwide (Samsung already has a phone on the market letting you do this).

Finally, the company may be keeping mum at the moment, but word is out on the MPx. This strange Pocket PC phone with a full QWERTY keyboard is also scheduled for release later this year.

As mentioned previously, Motorola’s deal with Apple means, sometime next year, Apple will produce a version of its iTunes music software for Motorola’s phones. More than likely, you won’t be able to upgrade existing phones to get iTunes—it’ll just come installed on new handsets. You’ll be able to download songs from your PC via USB or Bluetooth in MP3, AAC or Apple’s protected AAC format and listen to them on your phone.

This last announcement comes on the heels of RealNetworks’ announcing that it has reverse-engineered Apple’s digital rights management code and will be offering iPod- (and thus, possibly, Motorola phone) compatible downloads from its Rhapsody music service.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in PC Magazine.