Phone makers gear up for holidays

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NEW YORK (AP) — Nokia and Motorola have unveiled five new smartphones between them, while Amazon is expected to announce a new Kindle Fire this week before attention turns to a new iPhone from Apple next Wednesday.

Makers of consumer electronics are refreshing their products for the holiday shopping season. Apple’s rivals are hoping that a head start on the buzz will translate into stronger sales.

Nokia and Microsoft, in particular, are trying to generate interest in a new Windows operating system out next month. The two phones announced Wednesday by Nokia are its first to run Windows Phones 8.

Motorola Mobility, meanwhile, is extending its Razr brand. Its three new phones are the first major devices that Motorola is launching under new owner Google Inc., which also makes the Android operating system that rivals Apple’s phone software.

Sales of Apple’s iPhones are still strong, though the company lost the lead in smartphones to Samsung this year. Samsung Electronics Co. benefited from having its Galaxy S III out in the U.S. in June, while Apple was still selling an iPhone model released last October. A new iPhone is expected as early as this month.

The new iPhone is expected to work with fourth-generation, or 4G, cellular networks that phone companies have been building. That capability is something the S III and many other iPhone rivals already have. A bigger iPhone screen is also possible.

Apple has done well selling its full-sized tablet computer, which has a screen that measures nearly 10 inches diagonally. Many companies have tried to come out with iPad alternatives, but the ones that have had moderate success have tended to be those with smaller, 7-inch screens and lower price tags.

There’s speculation that Apple will come out with a mini iPad this fall — possibly with a 7.85-inch screen — to compete with those competitors. It’s not as much a certainty as a new iPhone, though. Apple hasn’t said anything about its plans.

Amazon.com Inc.’s 7-inch Kindle Fire is one of the smaller tablets with decent sales. Last week, Amazon said it has sold out of the Kindle Fire, a sign that it retooled its production lines for a successor.

Microsoft Corp. will release a new version of the Windows operating system on Oct. 26, one that’s designed to work on both traditional computers and tablet devices. A new version of the Windows Phone system is coming out, too.

Once-dominant phone maker Nokia Corp. is counting on the new Windows system for a revival.

Samsung, which surpassed Nokia as the world’s largest maker of mobile phones in 2011 and overtook Apple in smartphones this year, showed off a Windows 8 phone last week.

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