Motorola Xoom, Atrix 4G Coming End of February
Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha reaffirmed launch timing for the Motorola Xoom tablet and Atrix 4G and Droid Bionic smartphones three weeks after wowing the Consumer Electronics Show crowds with the gadgets.
Jha, who disappointed financial analysts in announcing lower-than-expected smartphone shipments for Motorola's fourth quarter, said the Atrix 4G smartphone will launch from AT&T by the end of February.
He currently expects the Xoom 3G tablet will arrive from Verizon Wireless in the same time frame. However, he allowed during the earnings call that the Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet, which sports improved graphics capabilities optimized for larger touchs creens offered by tablets, could slip to March.
The Droid Bionic, which features a dual-core processor, and 4G LTE versions of the Xoom will arrive from Verizon at the end of the second quarter, which meshes with the target times Jha offered for the products at CES.
The update follows a Jan. 16 report from Android Central that the Atrix 4G, which sports a dual-core processor and the ability to dock to a computer, was coming March 1. The blog cited an internal AT&T screen showing March 1 as the launch date for the device.
However, the blog noted that March 1 falls on a Tuesday this year and AT&T typically launches phones on Sunday. Given Jha's firmer target date of late February, perhaps the Atrix 4G will launch Sunday, Feb. 27.
Meanwhile, Engadget received an internal Best Buy document pegging the Xoom 3G launch date at Feb. 17, ahead of Jha's target time latest time frame. It's important to note that the 3G-enabled Xooms will be upgradeable to Verizon's snappier 4G LTE network.
Jha's latest updates will be encouraging to Motorola watchers and Android gadget fans, particularly after the company shipped only 4.9 million smartphones compared to analyst consensus of 5.2 million for the fourth quarter.
Jha said Motorola is weathering the news hit that Verizon, its main Android carrier, would launch the iPhone 4 Feb. 10.
He said Motorola's first-quarter phone sales, which typically fall 7 percent to 10 percent from Q4 holiday sales, will fall even more with the Verizon iPhone coming.
Some analysts aren't as nervous. Susquehanna Research's Jeffrey Fidacaro said in a Jan. 27 research note: "We believe consumer interest in 4G , and the launch of the Xoom tablet could help offset the impact from the [Verizon] iPhone."
Motorola Mobility Jan. 4 officially split into two publicly-traded companies. Jha's company sells smartphones and tablets, while Motorola Solutions sells enterprise products.