Sprint Nextel, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service provider, plans to launch two Motorola Mobility smartphones this summer, opening up a new market for Motorola, which has been absent from Sprint’s high-end phone line up until now.
Sprint is looking to the advanced phones to fend off rivals while Motorola is pushing for new operator customers since its biggest client Verizon Wireless started selling the Apple Inc iPhone in February.
Motorola also hopes to compete more directly with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion for business customers through Sprint.
Both of the new phones announced on Thursday are based on Google Inc’s Android software, which has surpassed iPhone in popularity and helped Motorola revamp itself in the last year and a half.
The Motorola Photon 4G, the most advanced of the devices, will run on Sprint’s highest-speed data service and come with advanced security features aimed at attracting business users who often favor BlackBerrys, Sprint and Motorola said.
Photon also will work overseas, which is typically not the case for Sprint phones.
Photon will run on an advanced dual-core Tegra 2 processor from Nvidia and will come with an accessory dock that looks like a laptop but needs to be attached to the phone to work similar to the Atrix phone sold by AT&T Inc.