updated 10:15 am EDT, Mon September 29, 2008
Moto Bets on Android
Motorola's investment in phones based on Google's Android will be a heavy one, says a reported source for TechCrunch. The American company has just 50 staffers refining Android for future phones but is said by a potential recruit to be swelling its ranks to include a full 350 team members and thus making a serious commitment to the open-source platform, which only just got its start this month with formal news of HTC's T-Mobile G1.
Motorola currently uses the Linux-based MOTOMAGX and Symbian-based UIQ operating systems on some phones but has so far had little success in using these to spur new sales and avoid losing market share. The company's smartphones have so far been limited to the more business-oriented Windows Mobile and have suffered versus the iPhone, Nokia's Nseries hardware, and other offerings with friendlier interfaces.
Nokia itself may also be at least exploring the possibility of using Android, the same tipster claims. Representatives from the phone maker were reportedly spotted at an Android developer conference that was limited to companies developing apps for Google's platform, triggering speculation that it may release an Android phone of its own.
The Finnish company has historically avoided writing apps alone for outside platforms and so hints by its presence that it may have Android phones in development, though it's unknown whether this would involve a full expansion or whether it involves a simpler investigation into Android for research purposes. Nokia is heavily invested into the competing Symbian platform and recently bought Symbian outright with the intent of establishing the Symbian Foundation and encouraging cross-platform use.
The addition of Nokia would significantly boost Android and increase competition in the touchscreen phone space, which has relatively few non-proprietary platforms. Sony Ericsson has also recently expressed interest in Android as a substitute for UIQ or Windows Mobile.