Motorola Finally Launches U.S. Linux Phone

Years after it promised Linux in phones, Motorola is finally delivering the Linux-powered "Rokr" and "Razr2" models to the U.S. market.

Linux/Java has topped CEO Ed Zanders list of things to look for from Motorola as it attempts a financial turnaround. At a New York press conference this morning, Zander introduced Linux-based "Rokr" and "Razr2" models, along with new top-level executives.

Zander opened the conference by introducing a new CFO, and new VPs of products and sales. He said the company is working to reset its strategy, prioritize its markets and technology investments, and "put the Wow back" into its devices.

Referring back to a March investor call at which Motorola announced a $1B shortfall in projected earnings, Zander said, "We talked about three things to look for from our new strategy. One was Linux/Java—today youll see some products. Another was 3G—today youll see some products. The third was multimedia and messaging, and weve got some wild stuff there, too."

Motorola announced plans to adopt Linux more than four years ago, but has shipped Linux phones in volume only in Asia and Latin America, to date. That should change in the weeks ahead, as the companys Linux-based MotoRokr Z6 (formerly known as the MotoRizr Z6) rolls out around world.

And, it should really change in early summer, as the worlds second-largest handset vendor begins releasing the second generation of its flagship Razr line of fashion phones. Some Razr2 models will be based on Linux/Java, Zander revealed.

Zander also hinted that Motorolas now-mature Linux-based Ming (a1200) touchscreen phone, a big seller in Asia, stands ready for the U.S. market, should Apples touchscreen-based iPhone disprove the conventional wisdom that Western language users prefer keyboards.

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