Delayed Motorola Camera Phone Released

Motorola Inc. said on Friday its V400 wireless telephone, which includes an integrated camera, will go on sale this week through wireless operator Cingular, arriving several months after originally scheduled.

The phone, which will sell for as low as $150 after rebate, had been scheduled for shipment ahead of last year’s crucial holiday selling season, but was delayed due to parts shortages.

Analysts said Motorola seems to be fixing problems that have plagued the world’s No. 2 maker of wireless telephones behind Finland’s Nokia.

“It appears they’re working some of the kinks out,” said Schwab SoundView Capital markets analyst Matt Hoffman, who has an “outperform” rating on the stock and does not own shares.

“Their reputation will certainly be improved by finally delivering the products, but it has been a long time coming and they have gotten a black eye over the situation,” he added.

Camera phones — cell phones with integrated digital cameras that consumers can use to snap and send pictures to friends — are the hottest part of the global handset market. However, Motorola has had delays in rolling out some models, last month blaming shortages of parts, especially lenses.

Last fall, Cingular and Verizon Wireless reported delays in receiving camera phones from Motorola in time for the holiday shopping season. A Cingular spokeswoman said the V400 was the phone that had been delayed.

“Are we supposed to get excited and jump up and down?” said Jane Zweig, CEO of The Shosteck Group, a Washington-based wireless consulting firm. “The reality is, (the V400) is three or four months late and Motorola missed the Christmas season.”

However, some analysts said last week that Motorola’s parts shortages seemed to be easing after the Schaumburg, Illinois, company said it would offer its V600 camera phone through AT&T Wireless Services Inc., starting next month.

Cingular, the No. 2 U.S. wireless operator and a joint venture between SBC Communications Inc.and BellSouth Corp., will be the first North American carrier to offer the flip-phone V400.

Motorola said the phone includes photo messaging features, full-color display, e-mail, mobile gaming and personalized MP3 ringtones. It also has quad-band technology, which allows for voice calls on different frequencies in countries around the world.

It is based on the same platform as the company’s “triplets,” three high-end phones (V300, V500 and V600) that analysts expect to be shipping in higher volume during most of the first quarter.

Motorola’s shares were up 25 cents, or 1.5 percent, at $16.56 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Source: Reuters