Analyst: Motorola gadgets holding own in crowded smartphone market

Wed, 01/06/2010 - 7:10am
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – Motorola Inc.'s smartphones are holding their own in an increasingly crowded field, an Oppenheimer & Co. analyst said Wednesday.

Oppenheimer's Ittai Kidron estimates the cell phone maker shipped about 1.2 million units of the Droid during the last three months of the year. The phone went on sale in November through Verizon Wireless.

Combined with another 200,000 to 250,000 shipments of the Cliq smartphone, his total estimate for the quarter comes to between 1.4 million and 1.5 million shipments. That's up from a previous forecast of 950,000.

Motorola is in the midst of trying to win back its share of the cell phone market, where it has been losing ground for years. Central to the effort are the new smartphones, which carry Google Inc.'s Android operating system and the high-end features such as Web browsing and e-mail that more consumers are looking for in their mobile gadgets.

Competition is high. The new phones face competition from Apple Inc.'s iPhone and BlackBerrys from Research in Motion Ltd. On Tuesday, Google introduced its first offering, the Nexus One, calling it a "super" phone.

In a note to investors Wednesday, Kidron said he expects Motorola to fire back with "several" of its own new launches early in the year and reiterated an "Outperform" rating on the company's stock.

Motorola has said it will introduce 20 new smartphone models in 2010. And there have been some tentative signs that the company is turning things around. It posted an unexpected third-quarter profit in October and an earnings forecast for the rest of the year that surpassed analysts' projections.

The company's shares edged up 4 cents to $7.90 in pre-market trading.

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