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Motorola revenue up thanks to Droid

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Motorola has a hit smartphone line on its hands, something it hasn’t been able to say for several years. The mobile phone manufacturer posted revenue of $5.8 billion in the third quarter of 2010, while estimates had it pegged at $5.66 billion. It is Motorola’s first year-over-year revenue increase since late 2006, reports Bloomberg. The company can thank its CEO Sanjay Jha’s gamble on the Android smartphone OS for the increase in sales. Android has become the most popular smartphone operating system, overtaking the iPhone, thanks to successful devices like the Motorola Droid line.

“He bet on Android two years ago when it was still a risky platform,” said Matt Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities LLC in Boston. “He made the right choices. So far, he’s been excellent.”

Motorola shipped 9.1 million phones during the three-month period, including 3.8 million smartphones. Analysts expected the company to ship 3.57 million smartphones. Motorola’s phone unit posted a $3 million operating profit, which is impressive when compared to the $183 million loss it posted last year.

The Motorola Droid line represents the company’s first big hit since sales of its flagship Razr phones rose to dominance in the middle of the last decade. The Razr sold 110 million units before it slowly fell off the charts in the later half of the decade. Its decline is tightly linked to Apple introducing the iPhone in 2007. Motorola has been unable to replicate the massive success of the Razr. The Droid line represents its first smart gamble in some time.