Android powered Smartphone from Motorola delayed till 2009

By Koushik Saha on 26.10.08

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When Motorola joined Google's Open Handset Alliance under former CEO Ed Zander, there was speculation that Motorola would develop a smartphone using Google's Android mobile Relevant Products/Services operating system.

Today, with CEO Greg Brown at the helm, it's no longer speculation. Motorola is working on an Android-based smartphone that will have an iPhone-like touchscreen and a QWERTY keyboard, BusinessWeek reports. The report said the smartphone will be aimed at social networking, but will not be available until the second quarter of 2009.

Motorola would not confirm any details in the report, but spokesperson Charles Kaiser said the company is excited about innovation possibilities on Android and that Motorola is looking forward to "delivering products in partnership with Google and the Open Handset Alliance community."

"Motorola is pleased to see the industry enthusiasm and support Relevant Products/Services of the Android operating system," Motorola's Kaiser said in an e-mail. "As a pioneer in mobile Linux and a founder of OHA, Motorola believes Android promises to be one of the most powerful, flexible and customizable open platforms, enabling truly integrated mobile hardware, software and Web experiences."Ready for Launch

The news Monday comes just two days before the first Android-based smartphone is slated to launch. T-Mobile, handset maker HTC, and Google have partnered to launch the T-Mobile G1.

Cole Brodman, chief technology officer at T-Mobile, said the partners believe there needed to be a compelling set of applications and devices that take advantage of mobile broadband networks. The companies announced the device starting at $179 in September.

T-Mobile's G1 includes one-touch Google search, an iPhone-like touchscreen, a three-megapixel camera, Google Maps Street View, and a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard. There will opportunity for third-party developers to work with the G1, but it will be SIM-locked to T-Mobile, according to the company.

A Step in the Right Direction

Motorola moving into the smartphone market would be a step in the right direction for the company, which has been criticized for making dull mobile phones. The company shipped 16 new products in the first half of the year and said it plans to ship a total of 50 by year's end.

Despite shipping millions of mobile phones, Motorola has seen its profits plunge in the past year. Its sales were $8.1 billion in the second quarter, down seven percent from the same quarter in 2007.

"We expect to have more smartphones and QWERTY devices," Brown said during last quarter's earning announcement. "We expect to have additional announcements around touch and messaging and music and navigation and to strengthen the overall product portfolio in different geographies and tiers to make the overall spectrum of products more robust."

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