Thursday, October 30, 2008

Motorola Gambles on Android

This is not really a surprise.  Motorola's move to Android does make Android more like to succeed as a mobile platform but it does not necessarily work the other way around. It mean not mean success for Motorola.  At least not overnight.

In addition to announcing plans to use Android to turn its fortunes around, Motorola just reported a quarterly loss of nearly $400 million and is laying off 3,000 workers.  I can understand the need to shore up its finances as it has not been successful in replace the still high popular but low-margin RAZRs.  Nor has it been able to answer the charges of Blackberries and the iPhone.

By going with Android, Motorola hopes to catch up to the front runners or, at the very least, stop the bleeding.  There still is not a lot of information on what a Motorola mobile device powered by Android is capable of.  One area that I hope to see such a device excel is the design.  As evident with the RAZR, Motorola clearly has the design talents to make a cool looking device.

I just hope their design team isn't a part of the 3,000 soon-to-be ex-Motorola workers.

Here's the bottom line: there is a lot of risk here.  In addition to Android now, Motorola has also dabbled with Windows Mobile.  Without something that will make it stand out from the rest of the field, Motorola will not benefit having an Android phone in its portfolio. 

Being a "me, too" will not work.

Note:  When Palm adopted Windows Mobile insteading of innovating, it essentially became just another WM licensee.  There are rumors flying about that Palm is looking at Android.  I've used many Palm PDAs (there's an abbreviation you haven't seen in a while) and I like them very much.  I hope they will stick to the innovation road than one that may only mean a slow death.

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