SCHAUMBURG, Illinois ( TheStreet) -- Motorola ( MOT) is in the spotlight after activist investor Carl Icahn snapped up an additional $86 million worth of the phonemaker's shares, underlining the compay's growth potential.

The purchase takes Icahn's stake in Motorola to 10.4%, according to The Wall Street Journal, and highlights the company's momentum in the fiercely competitive smartphone space. Icahn's move comes at a time when Motorola is undergoing a major metamorphosis designed to boost its smartphone sales.
Motorola Droid 2

Motorola is in the process of splitting into two companies -- one for networking equipment, the other for mobile phones and TV set-top boxes. Last month, the gearmaker also announced a deal to sell most of its wireless network infrastructure assets to Nokia Siemens Networks for $1.2 billion.

Despite intense competition, Motorola's phone business is already enjoying success. The company expects to sell 12 million to 14 million smartphones in 2010 and recently launched the Google ( GOOG) Android-powered Droid 2 phone.

Sold via Verizon ( VZ), the Droid 2 offers twice the speed and memory of the original Droid phone and is already being cited as a major positive for Motorola and its investors.

Motorola is also preparing to launch its Droid Pro phone later this year to challenge Apple's ( AAPL) popular iPhone 4.

Analyst firm NPD Group recently reported that Android had overtaken Research In Motion's ( RIMM) BlackBerry OS as the most popular U.S. smartphone operating system, thanks partly to Motorola.

Motorola shares crept up 2 cents, or 0.27%, to $7.52 in Friday trading, mirroring the modest advance in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq gain 0.38%.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers.

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