BusinessWeek says Motorola, the beleaguered Schaumburg, Ill.-based handset maker is working on an Android OS-based phone — not that it should surprise anyone. Former CEO Ed Zander was quick to sign up for the Google-sponsored Open Handset Alliance.
Sanjay Jha, who now heads up Motorola’s handset business (which is likely to be spun out some time soon), was another proponent of Android, back when he was the COO of Qualcomm. (Related: GigaOM Interview with Sanjay Jha.) Here are some notable bits about the upcoming phone:
- Motorola is showing specs and images to carriers.
- The phone could be introduced sometime in second quarter of 20098.
- The phone will have a touchscreen the size of iPhone screen and a slide-out qwerty keyboard.
- The phone will focus on social networking features.
- The team spearheading the Android development is the one that came to Motorola via acquisition of Good Technology.
The new phone based on Android may not be such a bad idea for Motorola, but the company needs to rationalize its vast array of devices that use an equally confusing number of operating systems. In addition to Android, Motorola has two different Linux efforts — its internal version and LiMo-based Linux devices — as well as Motorola’s proprietary operating system, Qualcomm’s Brew and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile.
By focusing on fewer operating systems, the company can help focus its resources on phones that are competitive with newcomers like Apple. The big question now is: Can Android provide Motorola the chance to make a comeback and become a player in the lucrative high-end smartphone business?