NEW YORK (
seems to have some lofty goals for its new line of
Android-powered superphones, with code names inspired by Mediterranean mountains: Olympus and Etna.
iPhone on the horizon in January, there will be a crucial hill to climb for Motorola.
Motorola is building the Olympus for launch at
. The Etna is headed to Verizon late in the first quarter, Geller's source says.
One item of note here for wireless investors: The phones are expected to run on
Tegra 2 processors. This would be a big breakthrough for Nvidia, which has been
promising and failing
to deliver a mobile chip for the smartphone market over the past three years.
The Tegra 2 chip is the first of a new generation of dual-core processors that promise low-power consumption and exceptionally fast speeds.
, it should be noted, is expected to have a dual core version of its Snapdragon processor available in phones in the coming months.
Motorola's big bet on Nvidia, if true, could give AT&T and Motorola an eye-catching offer just as Verizon and Apple introduce the CDMA iPhone. Verizon is Motorola's top customer; Motorola has the most to lose with the arrival of the Verizon iPhone.
While the timing is great for Motorola and AT&T, the big challenge, said MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittinen, will be how the two companies try to sell a high-powered phone to the public.
"It will be interesting to see how they position this," said Kuittinen. "How are they going to convince people they need dual core phones?"
Making the task even more complicated for AT&T is the oncoming buzz about next-generation 4G LTE phones coming to Verizon. The Motorola Etna is also expected to be powered by Android, have Nvidia's Tegra 2 chip and work on Verizon's new LTE network.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.To follow Scott on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/MoritzDispatch.>To send a tip, email: email@example.com.