NEW YORK – Motorola is broadening the use of its Razr brand to a family of smartphones in its first major product launch under new owner Google.
Verizon Wireless started taking pre-orders Wednesday for the first of the new phones, the Droid Razr M. It's a cheaper, smaller phone than the Razr that Motorola Mobility launched last year. The Razr is the name of the wildly popular clamshell phone launched in 2004. Motorola hasn't had a hit since then.
The $99 Razr M will be in stores next week.
Motorola is following up with the launch of two high-end models, the Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD, later this year. It's emphasizing long battery life -- up to 21 hours of talk time for the Maxx HD, or 10 hours of video streaming.
The new phones will run on Google's Android operating system. It will ship with an older version, Ice Cream Sandwich, and can be upgraded later to the latest one, Jelly Bean.
Google Inc. bought Motorola for $12.4 billion in May. Though it's a pioneer in the cellphone industry, Motorola has been struggling in recent years. In buying Motorola, Google was mostly seeking a patent portfolio that might help Android phone makers fend off lawsuits from Apple. Samsung lost one such lawsuit in Silicon Valley last month.
Motorola's announcement came on the same day Nokia Corp. announced new phones based on the next version of Windows. Apple is expected to reveal the iPhone 5 next week, making for a tough season for competitors.
Google's stock fell 67 cents to close Wednesday at $680.37.