The V70 mobile phone is small, sleek and swings open smoothly, and Motorola hopes the new GPRS (general packet radio services) wonder will help the com pany return to what it calls the 'StarTac' days, when it dominated the global mobile market with innovative designs. The V70, which will be launched first in Hong Kong, will be introduced in three months. Motorola hopes the phone will excite the market as much as the StarTac did and mark the firm's comeback as a leader in innovation and design. When it appeared in 1997, the Motorola StarTac was the lightest, smallest mobile phone around. The StarTac days were a golden era for Motorola - it dominated the mobile and paging market by a large margin and consumers looked to it for cutting-edge phone designs. Geoffrey Frost, corporate vice-president in global marketing and communications at Motorola, said the V70 was a significant product because it signalled a trend for mobile devices designed as fashionable accessories that consumers wanted to be seen with. 'This was a market really first identified by Nokia where phones are a fashionable item people have become comfortable with. More and more we see a trend where technology is increasingly becoming integrated into popular culture where it's hip to be seen carrying a mobile phone, where technology is being integrated with apparel,' Mr Frost said. The mobile-phone vendor hopes to recapture its lost market share from Nokia with its new mobile products, starting with the V70. The company is raising its marketing budget and will soon embark on a worldwide branding campaign. It will gradually launch a series of accessories for the V70 that will extend its usability, including a digital camera and small keypad to facilitate SMS (short message service). Accessories will be fashionably designed to complement the slim, silver V70. 'We want to extend the consumer experience, combining cutting-edge technology in attractive designs that are almost jewellery-like,' Mr Frost said. Motorola sees three categories in mobile-phone designs that will have broad consumer appeal. One was, Mr Frost said, a 'stylish, iconic, jewellery-like' design. The V70 fitted this category. The second is productivity-enhancement devices such as the Accompli V 6288, a smart phone running a proprietary Motorola operating system. The third is hip, relatively inexpensive and trendy designs such as the Timeport 191. This category is the volume segment. While most mobile-phone and personal digital assistant (PDA) makers have introduced smart-phone products aligning with one of the three major operating systems battling to become the standard in mobile devices, Motorola has not made a firm decision. The company is a licensee of the Symbian operating system, but has not launched a product running it. In the next two quarters, a flood of smart phones featuring Microsoft's operating system for mobile phones (codenamed Stinger) is expected from Siemens, Samsung and Mitsubishi, and a PDA with integrated telephony called the Treo is expected from Handspring. But Motorola officials are keeping a tight lid on the decision on an operating system. 'The operating system question is a hugely complex one. All I can say is that we want to make the consumer experience simpler and we'll keep making smart phones,' Mr Frost said. In the most recent quarter, Motorola reported a loss of US$1.41 billion on revenue of US$7.41 billion, down from a profit of US$531 million on revenue of US$9.49 billion in the year-ago quarter. It attributed the loss to weak sales in its two main businesses, mobile-phone handsets and semiconductors. Motorola has laid off 39,000 employees this year. It hopes to return to profitability next year by focusing on Asia, its fastest-growing market, and designing phones that will regain critical market share from Nokia.