BOSTON - Motorola Inc. hasn't been able to keep up with demand for its latest line of integrated camera phones due to component sourcing problems, but the company believes it has solved the problem in time for the holiday-shopping rush, it said Thursday.
The V300 and V500 phones are shipping in the U.S., but in lower volumes than anticipated due to problems in securing the camera components from one of its suppliers, said Alan Buddendeck, a Motorola spokesman. The V600 will be released "imminently," the Schaumburg, Illinois, company said in a statement.
Motorola uses a camera built into the display portion of its clamshell phones, which means that camera needs to be up to one-third smaller than other designs that use a camera in the hinge of the phone, Buddendeck said. There are a limited number of suppliers that can deliver this particular type of component, and the company ran into problems in securing the necessary parts from its main supplier, he said.
Two additional suppliers have been identified that can produce the smaller camera parts, and the situation is improving, Buddendeck said. The V300 and V500 are also shipping in Europe, and demand is strong, he said.
"Motorola is not alone in struggling to get to volume. The market's on fire," said Ben Wood, an analyst with Gartner Inc. based in the U.K. Wood identified Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB and Siemens AG as other cell phone manufacturers that have given notice of supply problems.
Motorola said the shortage of integrated camera components is affecting the entire industry, but it was especially hit because of the unique cameras it uses in its phone. A U.S. representative from Nokia Corp., the world's largest supplier of cell phones, did not return a call seeking comment about the status of its camera suppliers.
Analysts raised concerns in September about Motorola's plan to bring the V300, V500, and V600 phones to the U.S. in late November, saying the planned ship date would create problems for carriers in trying to get the phones out in front of the holiday shopping crowd. [See, "Snappy holiday sales expected for camera phones," Sept. 26]