Cell phone maven Motorola has been out of the spotlight recently… The last Big Motorola Thing that captured media and consumer attention was the Razr phone, which the company marketed in a variety of models and permutations.

Now, Motorola is looking for its next Big Thing and industry insiders say that will be a new smart phone using the Android opertating system and geared to facilitate mobile social networking.

Among other things, the new Motorola phone will feature a side-out, QWERTY keyboard (giving users full access to sites such as Facebook and MySpace) as well as a large colour touchscreen.

The new phone, still to be named, is expected to sell in the (US)$150 to (US)$180. range with a standard two-year service contract, at most Motorola dealers of record. However, it’s not expected to be available until the first quarter of next year at the earliest.

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