Ahead of the Bell: Motorola Mobility

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., which split off from the rest of Motorola early this year, reports its third-quarter results on Thursday after the market closes and investors will be keeping an eye out for increasing smartphone shipments.

With the fast-rising popularity of smartphones, Motorola has had a hard time competing in the mobile market. It hasn’t been able to churn out a phone that comes close to the success it had with the Razr cellphone, which it began selling in 2004.

The company has focused on making smartphones that run Google Inc.’s Android software, with some success: It shipped 11 million phones total in the second quarter, 4.4 million of which were smartphones.

Still, this is just a fraction of the 17.1 million iPhones Apple Inc. sold in its most recent quarter. And in addition to the wildly popular iPhone, Motorola is contending with other electronics companies such as Samsung Electronics Co.

Analysts polled by FactSet are looking for adjusted net income of 6 cents per share on $3.38 billion in third-quarter revenue. In July, Motorola predicted that adjusted earnings would range from break even to 10 cents per share in the quarter.

The quarter is likely to be one of Motorola Mobility’s last as an independent company. Google Inc. is expected to acquire the company in early 2012 ? the search leader’s $12.5 billion offer to acquire the company is currently undergoing an extensive review by the U.S. Justice Department.