Motorola (NYSE:MOT) more than doubled its profits in the fourth quarter and beat estimates handily, but disappointing wireless handset sales kept the stock under wraps today.

On a high note, all six operating segments reported stronger orders than last year. Sales and earnings at the soon-to-be spun off semiconductor unit were up over last year's fourth quarter, while the networking equipment business reversed a loss with operating earnings of $138 million.

And just last week, that same unit gained $1 billion in contracts from China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) -- of which $645 million in orders and $445 million in sales were recognized in 2003.

These positives prompted new CEO Ed Zander to proclaim, "These results provide further evidence that top-line growth has returned and that further improvement in profitability can be achieved." Zander, a former Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW) president and COO, took the helm earlier this month.

On a low note, sales at Motorola's flagship cell-phone unit fell 3% to $3.3 billion. While competitors -- notably Nokia (NYSE:NOK) -- enjoyed a surge in handset sales, Motorola attributed the poor showing to a delay in getting crucial new products to market in time for the holiday season.

What really hurts is that there is clearly demand for these products. Motorola introduced 21 new handset models during the quarter, helping to spur a 64% increase in orders to $3.6 billion. The company also expects first-quarter handset sales to climb 20%-25% year over year.

It was a quarter that illustrates clearly the importance of execution. That being said, Motorola really isn't in bad shape. Aside from this one -- though, admittedly major -- mishap, the company turned in a strong performance.

Talk over the latest earnings on the Motorola discussion board. Jeff Hwang can be reached at