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Motorola looking to take bite out of Blackberry

WASHINGTON, Oct 6 – US handset maker Motorola is taking aim at the Blackberry with a new smartphone designed for business users, the "Droid Pro."

Motorola and US wireless carrier Verizon unveiled the Droid Pro on Tuesday along with another new touchscreen smartphone, the "Citrus." Both devices are powered by Google\’s Android mobile operating system.

Motorola is touting the Droid Pro as "the first Android-based smartphone optimized for business use," permitting voice and data coverage in more than 200 countries.

The Droid Pro features a built-in keyboard, email with corporate level security and Microsoft\’s productivity tools Excel, PowerPoint and Word.

The Blackberry is currently the most popular smartphone among professionals and Motorola, with the Droid Pro, is clearly aiming to take a bite out of the market share of the device made by Canada\’s Research in Motion.

"The Droid Pro is an advanced business-ready solution that provides users with the full smartphone experience," said Sanjay Jha, chief executive of Motorola Mobility. "The Droid Pro consolidates users\’ work and personal needs."

The Droid Pro also features a five-megapixel camera and DVD-quality video

Motorola said the Droid Pro will be available through Verizon in the coming weeks and the price will be announced closer to launch.

Motorola said the Citrus, described as an "entry-level" smartphone, will hit stores in the fourth quarter of the year. Pricing will be announced later.

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Motorola\’s Jha said meanwhile that he is open to developing devices that run Microsoft\’s new mobile operating system despite a patent infringement lawsuit the US software giant recently filed against his company.

"I am open to finding ways to work with Microsoft," Jha told The Wall Street Journal in an interview. "But it has to be a compelling offering."

Microsoft is scheduled to unveil its new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7, on Monday.

Jha told the newspaper he isn\’t "overly unsettled" by the Microsoft legal complaint and that "some of these lawsuits are part of business."

"I would much rather have done without that lawsuit, but it doesn\’t always work out that way," he said. "We will consider all of our options."

Microsoft filed suit against Motorola on Friday, accusing the company of violating its patents in Android-powered smartphones.

The patents in question relate to synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power, according to Microsoft.

Google\’s Android operating system is used in an array of devices that have been gaining ground in the hotly competitive global smartphone market.

The Nielsen Co. said Tuesday that Android-powered smartphones were the most popular among US consumers over the past six months ahead of the Blackberry and Apple\’s iPhone.

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