Ina Fried

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Motorola Mobility Posts Narrower Loss as Mobile Device Revenues Rise

Motorola Mobility, the cell phone part of the now-divided Motorola, posted a narrower loss for the first quarter as sales rose 22 percent from a year earlier.

The company’s per-share loss was 27 cents, compared with a 72 cent per-share loss a year earlier as revenue rose to $3 billion.

In a statement, CEO Sanjay Jha touted the release of the Xoom tablet and Atrix smartphone as highlights for the company’s first quarter as an independent company. “With a well-recognized brand, a strong balance sheet and industry-leading intellectual property, we have the right assets to deliver an exciting pipeline of products, continue to grow our business and further improve our financial results.”

Having bet its future on Android, though, Motorola Mobility now faces the challenge of standing out in an increasingly crowded field that includes not only heavyweights like HTC, Samsung and LG, but also challengers such as China’s Huawei. Analysts have been particularly concerned that Xoom sales may have been weak, despite Motorola’s status as being the first out of the gate with a Honeycomb-based tablet.

Jha had warned this quarter could be particularly tough as Verizon began shipping an iPhone, potentially shifting attention away from other products, such as Motorola-built Droid models.

For the coming quarter, the company forecasts it will either break even or post a modest profit of up to 12 cents per share, before charges.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik