updated 12:20 pm EST, Thu January 28, 2010
Motorola to follow Nexus One strategy
Motorola during a call to discuss it latest quarterly results confirmed that it will make a Google-badged phone. Chief executive Sanjay Jha told those on the call that 20 smartphones are on tap for the year and that one of them will be a "direct to consumer device with Google," much like HTC's Nexus One. He didn't provide details of the phone or a schedule for when it ships.
The device may be stylistically related to the Droid and the MOTOROI, although it's assumed it won't be either. The MOTOROI is believed to be reaching the US in March through T-Mobile and may have a closely related cousin at Verizon.
Jha's observation suggests Google considers the Nexus One more than an experiment and is trying to replicate some of the integrated hardware and software model seen at competitors like Apple, Palm and RIM. The Nexus One is known to have been very closely co-developed by Google and shows the search firm concerned about controlling the hardware as well as the software.
A greater emphasis on smartphones is believed to prove crucial for Motorola. It posted a second consecutive profit of $142 million at the end of the year courtesy of successful smartphones like the Droid but witnessed a 20 percent year-over-year drop in sales to $5.7 billion, reflecting its sheer fall in overall numbers. Estimates for the winter were also somewhat grim as it expected to turn a slight loss.
The smartphone's importance was underscored through unit numbers, as it shipped only 12 million phones total but 2 million smartphones in that mix. The Droid is widely believed to have the lion's share of those units but was helped by the Cliq. This season, it should be helped by the MOTOROI as well as the Backflip and Chinese launches.