updated 10:45 am EDT, Mon October 15, 2007
Moto and Sony-Erisson Team
Motorola today announced that it was buying a 50 percent stake in UIQ, the phone interface behind some of Sony-Ericsson's more advanced phones such as the P1 and W960 (pictured). Although financial terms were unavailable, the deal gives Motorola joint control of the software and lets it co-develop enhancements that filter into its own phones, such as the already available RIZR Z8. The move also accomplishes the larger goal of making UIQ truly platform -independent, Sony-Ericsson says: other phone makers will receive an equal licensing scheme if they want to use the OS on their own devices.
Final approval for the deal is expected by the end of this year and should be accompanied by word of new phone maker licenses in the near future. Motorola did not say how it would expand its use of UIQ, though the shell is unlikely to replace the Linux-based OS found on the RAZR2 V8 and several other handsets. Notably, UIQ supports touchscreen input as well as 3G Internet access, which are still rare on Motorola handsets.