Consumers Get More Droids, Too

By Reuters  |  Print this article Print

Shooting right for RIM's BlackBerry market, Verizon and Motorola announced they will offer a line of Android-based smartphones for business users that feature a fixed keyboard and a 3.1-inch touchscreen.

Motorola also announced a slew of new consumer smartphones based on Android, including a cheaper model named Citrus, which will also be sold at Verizon Wireless in the fourth quarter.

Citrus comes with a Qwerty key-board and features Microsoft Corp's Bing search engine.

Motorola competes with Apple Inc's iPhone and Samsung Electronics in the fast-growing smartphone market.

While Verizon Wireless has helped put Motorola back on the map in smartphones, some analysts have worried that Motorola is too dependent on the operator, especially because of rumors Apple will expend iPhone distribution next year.

With this in mind, Motorola earlier Tuesday announced three new lower-end Android phones that will go on sale at No. 2 U.S. operator AT&T Inc in time for holiday shoppers.

Android-based phones have surged in popularity this year. According to the latest data from research group Nielsen, Android is the No. 3 smartphone platform in the United States, behind BlackBerry and Apple's iOS.

But Android was the most popular platform among customers who bought smartphones in the past six months, Nielsen said. (Additional reporting by Sinead Carew in New York; Editing by Richard Chang, Gary Hill)