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Motorola hopes latest phones lure newbies

Six handsets offer features such as color screens and photo messaging, which the phone maker hopes will attract new users in Asia and Europe.

Motorola on Tuesday announced plans to launch a series of handsets, with features such as enhanced messaging, in Asia and Europe over the next few weeks.

The six handsets--C550, C450, C250, C200, V150 and C343--will include color screens, messaging, text input and downloadable games. Motorola said it is targeting new users who have a range of needs and budgets. At the same time, functions such as photo messaging have the potential to increase revenue of carriers.

Cell phone makers have begun packing more features into their products, such as in-built cameras and messaging options. Nokia has been using its phones with new features to target emerging markets.

Though Motorola's new phones share some functions, each will have a distinct feature set. The C450 allows its users to see who is calling, while C250 has downloadable content from MTV and lets consumers mix music and create their own ring tones. The C550 comes with a built-in VGA camera, and the C343, a model already available in North America, offers enhanced messaging service and changeable covers.

The V150 mobile phone is a new version of the V50, which was introduced in 1999. Availability of some of its functions will depend on carrier support.

The phone maker said the C550, C200 and V150 are likely to be available in Europe and Asia this year. The C450, which is already selling in Europe, is set to enter Asian markets later this year. The C250 is available in Asia and Europe. The company did not announce pricing for its new products.