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Motorola Q Could Spell Trouble For Treo

If you weren't confused enough in deciding between Research in Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry and the Palm Treo, Motorola today unveiled its Moto Q phone.

Verizon Wireless says it will offer the slim smartphone online starting May 31.

Powered by Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 and using Verizon's high-speed EVDO network, the Q is described by Motorola as a "mini-notebook" for home and office. "The Moto brings together all the converged solutions you need to work, stay in touch or have fun," Ed Zander, Motorola CEO said in a statement.

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Is the Q a Treo killer?
Source: Motorola

With a design based on Motorola's best-selling RAZR slim-line phone, the Q is 11.5mm thick with thumbwheel navigation, the ability to sync calendars and contacts and a wireless e-mail package from Good Technology.

The Q offers Windows applications, integrates with corporate IT and emphasizes security, including VPNs and password authentication.

Good's e-mail software, GoodLink, provides IT departments "peace of mind of end-to-end security and control," according to a statement by Mark Shockley, vice president of seamless mobility devices for Motorola Mobile Devices.

The Q, priced at $199.99 (before $100 rebate) plus a Verizon monthly calling plan ranging from $79.99 to $169.99, also features Integrated Bluetooth and dual stereo speakers.

"Enterprise technology, consumer electronics and mobile are converging to create major productivity advantages for the work world," Denny Strigi, Verizon president and CEO, said in a statement.

Despite the comparisons to other smartphones on the market, the Q still has a ways to go, according to some analysts.

Ken Dulaney of Gartner said the product is missing critical pieces needed to compete with RIM, even though a a year ago he said that it is the closest device we have seen to the BlackBerry.

For Motorola to attract corporate buyers, the mobile phone company "will have to recast their machine," Dulaney said. Todd Kort, an analyst with Gartner, said that the Q is more of a "prosumer" device and so doesn't expect many BlackBerry users to be swayed.

"I expect Motorola will launch a camera-less version of the Q that will be targeted more directly at the BlackBerry," Kort said. Motorola will compete most strongly with RIM in 2007.

Kort predicts the Q "will blunt RIM's efforts to succeed in the prosumer space" as RIM launches BlackBerries with digital cameras, MP3 players and MiniSD slots.

But that's the BlackBerry.

Last week, Palm unveiled its latest smartphone, the Treo 700p, which uses the Palm OS and supports EVDO. And there's the Palm 700w, which is a direct alternative to the Motorola Q, according to Bill Hughes, an analyst with In-Stat.

The 700w uses Windows Mobile, as does the Q. The competition is based on additional phone features.

"The Palm Treo (especially the 700w) is going to feel the impact of the Q more than the BlackBerry will," said Kort. Palm will need to reconsider the Treo's pricing. "Only hard core Palm fans will remain loyal to Palm Treo 700p."