FORTUNE -- Executives from Google and its Motorola Mobility handset maker unveiled a new premium phone, Moto X, in New York on Thursday. But Dennis Woodside, Motorola's CEO, and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt say they are eager to deliver lower-priced smartphones to what Woodside calls the "super value segment."
"If I'm a middle-class mother in Brazil I might not be able to afford an iPhone or a Galaxy," Woodside says. But those consumers would clearly benefit from the applications and broadband access that an entry-level smartphone would provide. Google's Android OS already powers a wide variety of devices from rival manufacturers, many of them aimed at such consumers.
Woodside characterized the Moto X as the first high-end phone Motorola has launched since Google (GOOG) acquired the company in 2012. The phone, which features a suite of voice-activated controls and an "active display" feature that pushes key pieces of information onto the screen while it is in "sleep" mode, will be available in the U.S. in late August or early September on all major carriers.
But Woodside and Schmidt are keen to capture the billion or so users of mobile phones who presently don't have Internet access on their devices. Motorola wins sales and new customers if it is able to convert those customers to smartphones, but more crucially, Google benefits by broadening the pool of consumers who may do mobile searches. "It is strategically important for us to serve this end of the market," Schmidt says.
While Woodside and Schmidt didn't offer any details on pricing or profit margins for such phones, Motorola's "super value" gambit is reminiscent of its Android strategy: Google does not charge handset manufacturers to use its Android operating system for mobile phones. From the outset, the aim was to proliferate the world with smartphones, thereby encouraging consumers to use their phones for search, maps, email, and other Google products. Android is currently the leading smartphone operating system worldwide, with 80% market share, according to research from Strategy Analytics.
Google CEO Larry Page envisions a future in which computers plan your vacations, drive your cars, and anticipate your whims. Audacious? Maybe. But Page's dreams have a way of coming true.
Note: On Jan 3, as Fortune published this article, the Federal Trade Commission ended its investigation of Google's search practices saying it found no evidence that the company manipulated search results in violation of antitrust laws. The European Commission and MOREMiguel Helft, senior writer - Jan 3, 2013 5:00 AM ET
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Groupon feels the heat [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]
A Groupon attorney last month sent Mr. Silagadze a letter saying Top Hat was improperly recruiting Groupon employees. Top Hat's 25-person sales staff includes eight former Groupon employees. Groupon's turnover is "getting even worse when their best people are starting to leave," Mr. Silagadze said, adding that he plans to continue hiring MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Aug 13, 2012 5:00 AM ET
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"We are working as hard as ever this year to deliver an incredible year and some products that will blow your mind." -- CEO Tim Cook at Apple's annual shareholder meeting
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Sony's tablet could be the next to stumble, says another
Wall Street's best and brightest are expressing varying degrees of shock at the news Thursday that Research in Motion (RIMM), which delivered 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets in the quarter that ended in May, shipped a dismal 200,000 in the August quarter -- suggesting that most of those first half-million units are still sitting, unsold, on store shelves.
"We believe the PlayBook is MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 16, 2011 10:31 AM ET
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"There are a lot of sweet patents in that portfolio." -- Dean Becker, ICAP Patent Brokerage CEO, on Motorola Mobility's (MMI) 17,000 patents. (Bloomberg)
* Arik Hesseldahl over at All Things D does the math and guestimates that HP (HPQ) could be losing anywhere between $140 million and $300 million MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Aug 23, 2011 3:30 AM ET
The search giant's $12.5 billion acquisition bid is a bold move that could reshape the mobile business. It's also fraught with potential pitfalls.
By Alex Konrad, contributor
FORTUNE -- Sometimes, plan B is pretty good. When Google missed out on buying Nortel Networks' patent hoard earlier this summer, few could have predicted it would make a stunning $12.5 billion cash bid for Motorola Mobility.
The move is sure to change Google's (GOOG) business, MOREAug 18, 2011 10:33 AM ET
The market has had 3 days to chew over the Googorola news. It's not sitting well.
After thousands of news reports, analysts notes, blogs and tweets, the chart at right may tell you all you need to know about Google's (GOOG) plan to fight/emulate Apple (AAPL) by buying Motorola Mobility's (MMI) brand, patents and device manufacturing business for $12.5 billion.
In the three days of trading since the news broke, Google has dropped more than $30 a MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 18, 2011 7:57 AM ET
In the Harvard Business Review and a 50-minute podcast, a deep dive into what it means
Horace Dediu -- the Harvard-trained analyst who writes the influential Asymco blog -- was studying the mobile phone market for Nokia (NOK) in 2005 when Google (GOOG) bought Android, primarily as a defense against the perceived threat that Microsoft (MSFT) was about to do to cellular telephony what it did to desktop computing.
The real threat, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 17, 2011 1:12 PM ET
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