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Sprint, Motorola Unveil Photon 4G

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Also-rans in the mobile race, Sprint (S) and Motorola (MMI - Get Report) unveiled a new Google (GOOG) Android superphone Thursday afternoon in New York City.

Sprint chief Dan Hesse and Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha were on hand to lend some hard-driving emphasis to the event. Up first: the Photon 4G, what looks like a beefed-up version of Motorola's much-hyped Atrix for AT&T (T - Get Report), which debuted at CES in Febuary.

The Motorola Photon features a 4.3-inch screen, front- and back-facing cameras (8-megapixels on the back, VGA on front), Android 2.3/Gingerbread, and a dual-core Nvidia (NVDA) Tegra 2 processor. The Photon runs on Sprint's 4G WiMax network, a strong selling point as faster data speeds have become one of the telcos' key competitive points.

Like the Atrix, the new phone can be docked to a user's PC to access and create content from a larger screen. It's also a world phone, which means it runs on Sprint's network overseas.

The Photon goes on sale sometime during the summer, and the execs didn't announce pricing.

The new superphone comes at a scorching hot time for the Google Android movement. It's also a window of opportunity for Motorola as rivals Research In Motion (RIMM) and Apple (AAPL) have delayed new phones until fall.

For Sprint, the Motorola Photon helps pick up where the HTC Evo left off. It also arrives just ahead of the hyped Samsung Galaxy II S phone, which will arrive at Verizon (VZ - Get Report) next month.

It also helps fill out Sprint's phone lineup, also includes the Samsung Nexus S, an Android phone made to Google's specifications that features a near field communication chip for mobile payments.

By fall, Motorola is expected to introduce the Verizon version of the Atrix, which was originally introduced in January as the Bionic, but reports have surfaced noting that Motorola has revamped the phone under the codename Targa.

Shortly after the announcement, Sprint shares were inching up 1.78% to $5.43, while Motorola Mobility's were dropping nearly 3% to $23.33.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email:

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