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Motorola Readies Its Gphone?




Unless someone’s better at keeping a secret than Motorola’s being, the second Gphone to hit the market will be coming to the US in Q2 2009 (Europe, Q3 2009), according to a Business Week report. The phone is slated to cost about $150.

Like the T-Mobile G1, manufactured by HTC, Motorola’s Gphone is slated to feature a touchscreen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Of course, last week’s reviews noted a few deficiencies in the first Gphone’s design, including issues with the keyboard/phone layout. Motorola’s latest phone, the Krave NZ4 (Engadget review) is a flip phone with an external and internal touch screen. It just arrived with Verizon last week.

Business Week also reports that Motorola’s Gphone will feature “a host of social-network-friendly features”:

The phone will appear among a new class of social smartphones designed to make it easy for users to connect quickly and easily to mobile social networks such as Facebook and News Corp.’s MySpace. Such phones let users message in-network friends directly from phone contact lists, for example.

That feature sounds interesting and may even be useful—but is that the real reason why people are springing for the iPhone and G1? Are we really that addicted to Facebook?

So far in this arena, yes, smartphones are used for social networking (beyond the normal phone calls and text messages), but that hasn’t been the primary reason for purchasing the phones. Most people who buy the top-of-the-line, laptop-in-your-pocket cell phones buy them for work. The play aspects are a peripheral advantage.

Of course, there are plenty of people who do spend $200 – $400 on a phone so they can write on their friends’ walls—and according to analysts, that number will grow tenfold in the coming years:

According to consultancy Informa, the number of mobile social-networking users will rise from 2.3% of global cell-phone users at the end of 2007 to as many as 23% of all mobile users by the end of 2012.

If that’s the case, will Motorola succeed in appealing to a quarter of mobile users in five years by launching a social-networking-integrated phone now?

Business Week says that even Q2 2009 might be too late, as other companies continue to work on their Gphones. Notably, “London-based INQ will unveil its social-networking phone, INQ1, in Britain and Australia in about a month. The slider phone, which integrates Facebook features into its address book and camera, is expected to enter the U.S. market next year.”

However, the INQ1 is slated to launch in the first half of 2009, and the manufacturer doesn’t have any relationships with US phone companies yet. But when it does create those relationships, look out—the company wants to create low-cost phones for “the 90%” that don’t buy high-priced phones.

What do you think? Is there already a huge demand for social networking on smartphones? Are these phones “ahead of their time”? Or will this wave of social networking smartphones create a larger demand for in-phone networking features?

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  • http://jessicaknows.com Jessica Smith

    I pre-ordered the G1 and am hoping it arrives this week as promised. I did order it because it will make social networking easier. But for me, that means I’ll be using it for business use even more. As advertising budgets get strained, companies will depend on word-of-mouth marketing to get their message out to the consumers. And a lot of this will happen via social networking.

    I also use Google for my mail and calendar so these Gphones will be great for those who use these Google Apps because there’s no “syncing” up to your computer required.

    Great post!

    Jessica Smith’s last blog post..Business Coaching by the Imagination Movers?

  • http://www.jordankasteler.com/utah-seo-pro-blog/ Utah SEO Pro

    I’m excited for all the Gphones coming out. We need someone to create a good competitor to the iPhone.

    Utah SEO Pro’s last blog post..Link Metrics for SEO

  • http://promote-my-site.com Don Draper

    I was one of the first Motorola Q users. After that debacle, I’m not sure I’ll ever jump on a first release product from Motorola again.

    Don Draper’s last blog post..More Reasons Not to Buy Our Software

  • http://www.gadgets4nowt.co.uk PS3

    Why does Europe always lag behind so badly – except when it comes to the price of course(:. Q3 2009 – pah !

  • http://www.greatpriceshere.com Nicole Price

    There is a great deal of unsatisfied demand as well as new customers coming on board for these gadgets. The total market itself is expanding. More the merrier. Prices will fall, service levels will go up and all of us will benefit.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Plan for Halloween

  • http://solinkable.com SoLinkable

    @PS3:
    Europe laggin behind? Try living in Canada and using a cell phone… ugh. Its next to impossible to afford. The iPhone prices were insane, last time I checked, data prices here are on par with Uganda.

    SoLinkable’s last blog post..Brainwave most likely to strike at 10.04pm

  • http://www.dealgiant.co.uk Saz

    Us Europeans want Americans to first use and test the product, remove any bugs and then bring the finished package down to Europe :)

    Saz’s last blog post..World’s Lightest Blue-ray Laptop – Sony Launches Sony Vaio TT Series

  • http://www.ipwner.net/ipwner iPwner

    It’s only out for T-Mobile right now. Where is Verizon, and why does Verizon never have those cool phones? :P

    iPwner’s last blog post..Week 9 NFL Power Rankings Titans Undefeated!