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Motorola to ship Q 'Blackberry-beater' early

Debuting December, claims CEO

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Motorola has brought forward the release of its would-be Blackberry-beating smart phone, CEO Ed Zander revealed on Friday.

When the mobile phone company launched its Q smart phone in July, it said the QWERTY keyboard-equipped device would ship Q1 2006.

According to Zander, speaking to reporters at a Churchill Club event held at the Computer History Museum on Friday, the released was actually pegged to January 2006, but that's now been moved ahead to December 2005.

The improvement could amount to just a few days, but it's a whole quarter as far as Wall Street is concerned.

Palm is expected to unveil the Windows Mobile-based Treo 700 later today, and it's entirely possible Motorola's move was prompted by its rival's announcement that it's holding a press conference with Verizon and Microsoft later today.

Motorola's pitch for the Q is that it will be the "thinnest, lightest" handset with an integrated QWERTY keypad. It measures 11.5 x 6.3 x 1.1cm, which is certainly thinner than the 2cm-thick Palm Treo 650 and the 1.8cm-thick RIM Blackberry 7780, though the Palm device's face is smaller. Unlike the Treo, the Q has no antenna stub.

The Q's display is a 2.4in, 320 x 240, 65,536-colour job, and the handset also incorporates a 1.3 megapixel digicam with a flash. There's a Mini SD slot for memory expansion, and Bluetooth for wireless connectivity. The keypad is backlit, and Motorola has built in speakerphone capability. The device will run Windows Mobile 5.0. ®

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