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Motorola May Ditch Android, Revive ARM Partnership

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the early-unadopters dept.

Android 207

siliconbits writes "It looks as if Motorola Mobility could be mulling plans to build an alternative to Google's mobile platform. Several independent sources have confirmed that the mobile phone company is working on a web-based mobile operating system to, as one observer put it, have more control on its own destiny. There's another piece in that puzzle; Motorola Mobility could take even more ownership of its destiny by reviving its ARM license as it depends at the moment on TI and Nvidia to provide the SoCs that power its products; Motorola did produce ARM systems-on-chips in the past."

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Either/Or (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610644)

Is there a reason why Motorola can't have both? They aren't a small company, they could have Android & test the waters with their own stuff too. However from previous experience, I think they should stick with Android. I've purchased several Tracfones for my wife & kids over the past years, and Motorla's software was by far the worst compared to Kyocera, LG & Samsung.

Re:Either/Or (0)

devokso (2026060) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610762)

Unless they got the team, budget and knowledge, it's better to concentrate on one system. Android has also been losing it's mojo, and is getting legal threats from everywhere.

But since they're ditching Android and turning into ARM based phones, it only means they're going to get Windows Phone 7. A good choice, as the developer tools are rock solid.

Re:Either/Or (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610852)

But it's still the only platform that seems to be holding up well against iOS...

WP7 seems to have epicfailed from the get-go (crippled compared to its predecessor with the only thing to offer being a shiny UI, causing former Windows Mobile loyalists to jump ship - many of the hardcore WM owners have gone Android, and in some cases have taken to running Android on their Windows-Mobile targeted hardware.) On top of the above issues, WP7 has had some serious issues (excessive background data usage, numerous firmware updates causing bricking)

webOS - seems dead from the start to me

BlackBerry - Hanging in their due to their incredible momentum and entrenchment within the large business connectivity segment

Motorola has tried (and failed) numerous times to do their own thing. They're idiots if they think they can do it again.

Re:Either/Or (4, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610974)

I would say Android is doing more than "holding up well" against iOS. Isn't it beating it by a handy margin now - even with iPads? If Motorola was smart they back a winning horse. Android is only going to get stronger over time.

Re:Either/Or (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611260)

I think in terms of installed base and sales, iOS is still VERY strong.

In terms of growth, though - Android is growing rapidly, iOS isn't growing nearly as fast.

Re:Either/Or (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611576)

In terms of growth, though - Android is growing rapidly, iOS isn't growing nearly as fast.

Which is clearly to be expected as Apple only releases a new iPhone model about every 2 years whereas there are literally a dozen or more new Android phones EVERY YEAR.

Re:Either/Or (1)

valerio (127670) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612038)

Which is clearly to be expected as Apple only releases a new iPhone model about every 2 years whereas there are literally a dozen or more new Android phones EVERY YEAR.

Well actually Apple has an annual release schedule for the Phone.

Re:Either/Or (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35611458)

Isn't it beating it by a handy margin now - even with iPads?

No. Only in the US.

Re:Either/Or (0)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611556)

I would say Android is doing more than "holding up well" against iOS. Isn't it beating it by a handy margin now - even with iPads? If Motorola was smart they back a winning horse. Android is only going to get stronger over time.

Depends on what you mean by beating. It's basically 1 model phone/tablet vs many. Not exactly an apples vs oranges comparison.

And, unlike the desktop, the OS in this case isn't a moneymaker... yet.

Re:Either/Or (-1, Flamebait)

Life2Death (801594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611860)

Are you stupid? Google Ads are in basically every single free android program. Try again, noob.

Re:Either/Or (1, Insightful)

matt_gaia (228110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612122)

No, not quite.... if you're comparing it on a metric such as "Do you prefer an iOS/Android/RIM environment?" then yes, Android is beating Apple and is continuing to increase it's share. That's a fair comparison, since you can't knock Android for Apple only allowing one version of its phone/tablet platform at a time.

Since we all love car analogies on /., it's equivalent to asking "Do you prefer to drive a sedan or a pickup?" It doesn't matter how many vehicles of each the manufactures make, but how many of that type get picked up by the consumers.

Re:Either/Or (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611562)

I would say Android is doing more than "holding up well" against iOS.

Sure, but there are about a magnitude more Android phone models out there versus iPhone models so one would EXPECT more sales. Yet, if you break down the sales per device per quarter it is far less than what the iPhone averages per quarter (which is about 6 million since Q1 2009). Factor in the fact that Apple itself holds about 51% of all profits for global smartphone sales and I doubt they really care. To them, having potentially less sales but clearly far more profit is to them more important.

Re:Either/Or (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35612200)

Sure, but there are about a magnitude more Android phone models out there versus iPhone models so one would EXPECT more sales.

I don't understand why people keep bringing this up in the Android vs iPhone debate. I guess a fanboi is going to do what a phandroid do. As a developer, I couldn't care less if literally, every single Android user had a different model phone. As long as my programs run on it, I'm happy. Android has the momentum and the money is definitely moving in that direction.

Re:Either/Or (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612132)

I would say Android is doing more than "holding up well" against iOS. Isn't it beating it by a handy margin now - even with iPads? If Motorola was smart they back a winning horse. Android is only going to get stronger over time.

iOS is still making most of the profit on both handsets and software sales. Android is the Windows of today: it may be forced on device manufacturers by its success and it'll ultimately provide the most benefit to Google, not them. Ultimately it might benefit companies more to try and create a viable platform now when the market is still relatively young. It needn't end up like the desktop with 1 dominant player and a couple of minor ones, there's room for several.

Re:Either/Or (5, Informative)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610944)

Android has also been losing it's mojo, and is getting legal threats from everywhere.

If by everywhere, you mean, its competition... yeah... what else is new?
[ http://www.itworld.com/open-source/140916/android-sued-microsoft-not-linux [itworld.com] ]
And Android, ie, Google isn't being sued, only companies that are involved
with it. Typical intimidation tactics.

Furthermore... if Google finds there to be any merit and since they aren't
being sued (yet), they simply can change whatever is the issue, or license
it... throw brain cells or money at it and it will go away. Android won't go
away... but the lawsuits eventually will.

Lastly... it's piddly things like this:
Patent # 5,778,372 (July 7, 1998): "Getting remote deployment and management of an electronic document with embedded images." Patent # 6,339,780 (January 15, 2002): "Status of loading in a hypermedia browser having a limited display area on screen."
Patent # 5,889,522 (March 30, 1999): "A system that provides controls to the derived windows."
Patent # 6,891,551 (May 10, 2005): "Management selection in editing electronic documents."

...that will get the snip of a few lines of code and problem is gone.

-AI

Re:Either/Or (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611194)

If by everywhere, you mean, its competition... yeah... what else is new?

I assume he is also including Oracle here... or did you forget about that one?

Also, Google could be sued by anyone who created code that Google is using in Honeycomb (Andoid 3) outside the kernel, as they're refusing to release the source for it.

I don't think so (2)

pem (1013437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611400)

Also, Google could be sued by anyone who created code that Google is using in Honeycomb (Andoid 3) outside the kernel, as they're refusing to release the source for it.

AFAIK, google's careful to keep the GPL away from any code above the kernel.

Re:Either/Or (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611178)

You remind me of a guy I once knew named viablos...

Re:Either/Or (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611348)

But since they're ditching Android and turning into ARM based phones, it only means they're going to get Windows Phone 7. A good choice, as the developer tools are rock solid.

Hi, Steve Elop!

(Android runs on ARM, just like all other phone operating systems).

Re:Either/Or (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611626)

A good choice, as the developer tools are rock solid.

Like an updated Win7 Phone?

Re:Either/Or (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611684)

Astroturf much?

Android losing mojo? Are you fucking insane?
Windows Phone 7 is pretty much a failure, Microsoft managed to kill their own market lead with WinCe.

Re:Either/Or (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611850)

This generation of Windows Phone 7 is definitely a Microsoft developers phone and will never reach the heights of Android or iOS. However, I wouldn't be surprised if their next generation was a little more competitive, moving it from dead last to above RIM in terms of market share. That may have more to do with RIM declining the WP7 getting better, and relies on them making it a phone for less-casual games and tie-ins with the 360 and XBox Live.

Re:Either/Or (3, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610770)

Motorola knows how to do hardware. The Droid put Android on the map for everyday users. The RAZR had an almost Apple-quality of hype. But I've never seen them produce new software that made me go "Wow". On the Xoom, they made the best decision they could have made, which was to use unmodified Honeycomb.

Re:Either/Or (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610888)

> On the Xoom, they made the best decision they could have made, which was to use unmodified Honeycomb.

They didn't really have a choice, since the final release of Honeycomb was only a couple of weeks before the Xoom was released. Xooms were not demo-able at CES because the OS wasn't stable yet, and that was only a month before the Xoom shipped.

Re:Either/Or (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35611640)

Droid sucks. iPhone is much better despite the iron clad control Apple has over its market place. My wife has had two droid's in the past and salivates for my iPhone. This is a smart move by Motorola as they will now be able to compete with Apple on their own terms.

Re:Either/Or (1)

drakaan (688386) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611992)

okay, if we're trolling...iPhone sucks, android is much better despite the multiple manufacturers putting custom skins on devices. My son had two iphones in the past and keeps telling me that he wants my droid when it's time for me to upgrade. This is a bonehead move by Motorola as now they will be throwing away the momentum they had from the droid phones that sold so well for them.

Re:Either/Or (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612308)

The RAZR had an almost Apple-quality of hype

I never really understood that. The first time I borrowed a RAZR, my first thought was how crap the sound quality of the call was.

Re:Either/Or (4, Insightful)

yog (19073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610792)

This [informationweek.com] is apparently the original article. If you google the headline, you find about 20 copies on various blogs. I don't understand why Slashdot submitters can't at least link to the original, unless they have a stake in the blog.

I'm with the Motorola-is-stupid crowd on this one. They are a hardware/telecom company, not a software company. They have no demonstrated track record of developing a competent, competitive smartphone OS. Short of buying Palm's WebOS, which maybe they should have done instead of letting HP have it, they don't have much hope of keeping up with the Android and iOS juggernauts. Even Rim, the erstwhile smartphone king, has a teeny little app market compared to the two others, and their market share is shrinking, not growing.

That said, I wish MOT well because a little competition is good for the consumer. I would prefer that they work on perfecting their tablets and smartphones in the Android space, however. The Xoom is a great first effort. Why not tweak it until it's flawless and best-of-breed? Why not help Google improve Android in the areas where MOT feels it's deficient? For a lot less money and resources than developing their own proprietary crappy OS, they can be very competitive.

Methinks Motorola is not thinking this through very clearly. Then again, it's just a rumor.

Re:Either/Or (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611124)

And the linked article which is the source of the rumours makes some really dumb suppositions:

Drieu left Apple in March 2010, where he was the head of the company's rich media and applications group. After a five month period without employment, he joined Motorola. His work with Web standards groups WhatWG and W3C and his Web-related patents suggest that he would be well-suited to lead an operating system development effort.

Yeah,. right, that's the ticket. Get "web standards" people to build an operating system. That's got fail written all over it.

And the reason given?

Google is shooting itself in the foot," said the person familiar with Motorola's plans, citing what he sees as concerns about Android fragmentation, product differentiation, and issues related to Google's support for its partners.

So you fix that by ... making a competing platform that nobody's going to write apps for?

I'm not buying it. And neither will consumers, because there's no App for that.

Re:Either/Or (1)

SadButTrue (848439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611758)

Google is shooting itself in the foot," said the person familiar with Motorola's plans, citing what he sees as concerns about Android fragmentation, product differentiation, and issues related to Google's support for its partners..

Even better than that is the idea that they are having issues with both differentiation AND fragmentation. It seems to me you can't really have one without the other.

Re:Either/Or (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612092)

This reminds me a lot of Samsung's proprietary smartphone OS whose name I can't be bothered to look up at the moment. It sucks, and they sell Android too. In fact, they sell a lot more Android devices than it, but they might keep it at the very low price range.

Re:Either/Or (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612166)

Yea I love the line that the Motorola Droid made the Android OS relevant. Maybe but Android saved Motorola as well. Before the Droid all that Motorola had was variations of the razor all of which where down into the give way phone range. Maybe Motorola is looking at an OS that will work at the low end of the market. A new feature/messaging phone platform for people that do not want to pay for a data plan but want things like twitter, Facebook, web mail and so on. Other wise I just see this as a new way for Motorola to fail. I guess they could always come out with WP7 phones.

Re:Either/Or (1)

asnelt (1837090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610848)

They could also fork Android to build an alternative. That is the beauty of free software.

Software is hard for hardware manufacturers (3, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610958)

Yet another Web based operating system? Isn't that was WebOS was supposed to be before it flopped and started allowign native apps? And take a look at the top mobile OSes now, iOS has its roots in NeXT and BSD, which in turn has roots in UNIX philosophy which are really old. Android is based on Linux, which is 20 years old and has it's roots in UNIX which is even older. Windows Phone 7 has it's roots in Windows CE which in turn has it's roots in DOS and Win NT which are really old. Even QNX that Blackberry is moving to has a long history and roots in UNIX and WebOS is based on Linux.

The point here is that although people think it's easy to build OSes, building one that's full featured and modern is extremely hard and can't be done by just throwing money at people . It takes years for bugs to be found and shaken off. See how Nokia failed inspite of employing tens of thousands of people to work on Symbian and Meego/Maemo. If Motorola is looking to build something from scratch, I am not optimistic.

On top of that, hardware companies and OEMs seem to universally suck at making software and they don't stop trying. Motorola's skins on Android all lag even on dual cores, OEM software on PC is the worst junk imaginable with crashes, bloat and what not, printer and webcam software is just pathetic. It's like they don't even have a indepented QA team. HTC's Sense UI is appreciated by some, but my experience is that it's laggy and bloated, heavy on features but low on performance. I think part of it is that the OEMs treat software development just like hardware which is a major mistake to make. Software is extremely hard to get right, especially when building OSes, developer APIs etc. which require a LOT of coordination among extremely large number of teams. The competition is no longer about devices or OSes but about platforms, which are extremely hard to build.

I am sure Motorola doesn't just want to be another Android OEM, but it sure needs to get its act exactly right. Expect multiyear delays and cost overruns. Maybe they can team up with HP on WebOS or Blackberry with QNX.

Re:Software is hard for hardware manufacturers (2)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611156)

Seconded. Manufacturers of rock solid hardware cannot get even the simplest of software straight.

How often did we have perfect hardware utterly destroyed by their accompanying drivers? It took GPU manufacturers years, almost decades, to work out issues in their drivers.

Software delivered by hardware manufacturers is almost always a buggy, laggy, bloated piece of stuff that is usually deactivated, deinstalled, thrown away as soon as possible, unless it's a driver or other absolute neccessity.

Re:Software is hard for hardware manufacturers (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612056)

Software delivered by hardware manufacturers is almost always a buggy, laggy, bloated piece of stuff that is usually deactivated, deinstalled, thrown away as soon as possible, unless it's a driver or other absolute neccessity.

Like every single wireless network manager that everybody everywhere disables in favor of Windows because it almost never does its sole function: connect to networks. Yet, they all seem to come with one. What is the motivation to even do that kind of thing? I can never figure it out.

Re:Software is hard for hardware manufacturers (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611966)

The point here is that although people think it's easy to build OSes, building one that's full featured and modern is extremely hard and can't be done by just throwing money at people . It takes years for bugs to be found and shaken off. See how Nokia failed inspite of employing tens of thousands of people to work on Symbian and Meego/Maemo.

Actually, Nokia was quite successful with that. Where they failed was internal execution of bringing the various R&D concepts they had developed to market, and doing so in a manner that was economically viable. They also hated the US carriers, and as a result only got low end phones on their networks.

It's sad, really. The N900 is, thus far, the last of its kind and is far superior to Android, technically, in many ways that would easily given it an edge. Too bad Nokia's management dropped the ball completely.

Locking (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610652)

They way they keep locking down their phones, perhaps it's for the best.

Re:Locking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35611940)

Agreed, after dealing with them for years, I now feel they couldn't give a shit about consumers as long as money streams from them. Their corporate mindset is lock down and own everything you sell, and Android has to be rubbing that crappy mantra raw for them. No matter what, as long as they use Android, source code is there, and good hackers will always defeat their lockdown schemes. If they own the OS, this will be far more difficult.

Considering the massive cluster**** that 'Blur' was...I wouldn't trust them to program my watch, let alone my phone's OS. I won't even go into how horrid the UI/OS in my fios tuner box is, especially considering where we are in the level of tech for this sort of thing. They continue to do things like make decent hardware, then cripple it with stupid business decisions, then leave customers hanging for what seems like forever for even solid answers to valid questions, nevermind fixes. I'm obviously using the Cliq/Dext, Backflip, and others as an example. All fairly decent hardware, that was for lack of a better word abandoned by them for greener pastures AFTER they got the money for them.

At this point, they could devise a product that does everything + wipe your butt, and I wouldn't buy it for a dollar, never mind for their self-aggrandized prices.
I used to be a huge fan of their technological/manufacturing prowess and execution, but outside of a few shining products, the last 5 years or so they've become a huge ball of lumbering suck.

Prediction (3, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610656)

Motorola will make this stab at a segment in which it has nowhere near the level of expertise required to compete, and it will fail miserably. Sell MOT.

Re:Prediction (3, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610736)

Yeah, you should have sold MOT a while ago. They were the ones who thought they could outsource all designing, manufacturing, and support out to the lowest bidder(almost always in the 3rd world), and just have management sit back and collect massive rewards. As a result their phones stagnated while the rest of the industry who was more nimble(and probably had less management overhead) sped ahead. THey have been unable to ever get back into the game of actually designing products people want and as a result I don't think they have a very bright future.

Re:Prediction (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611766)

Seriously, Motorola did that?

Wow.

I've heard of managing-by-Dilbert but I never thought it'd actually happen [dilbert.com] .

Re:Prediction (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612256)

I kind of liked the Backflip, the only problem was that it was only available in a locked down form and the processing power was anemic. But in terms of the idea it was inspired.

That being said, AT&T ruined it sufficiently to make it mostly unusable with the processing power munching apps that you couldn't uninstall.

Motorolla moaning about Android fragmentation (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610698)

...then forking its own version (whether it's Android or a do-over on top of Linux) is like me moaning about gas prices then buying a Hummer just to stick it to the Man.

Re:Motorolla moaning about Android fragmentation (0)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611580)

Motorola has to be careful about forking a version of Android and not violating the GPL.

Re:Motorolla moaning about Android fragmentation (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611804)

Not at all, only the kernel is GPLed. The rest is Apache licensed.

They did? (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610708)

Motorola did produce ARM systems-on-chips in the past

I thought that Freescale, the company formerly known as Motorola, made ARM SoCs (and still does, by the way). Zombie Motorola - the bit left after they sold off or spun out all of the interesting bits of the company - never did.

Re:They did? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610834)

Motorola did produce ARM systems-on-chips in the past

I thought that Freescale, the company formerly known as Motorola, made ARM SoCs (and still does, by the way). Zombie Motorola - the bit left after they sold off or spun out all of the interesting bits of the company - never did.

Zombie Motorola, as you put it, is the company that made the ARM SoCs, but they spun that division off(as f. So sure the company has done it before and in the time since jettisoned all the expertise they once had in the area. Which is why I don't buy this story. They've been down the build the SoCs road before and now they want to try again from scratch?

Re:They did? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610864)

"sudo mod me up" - Sorry, not currently in sudoers it seems.

You are correct though - Motorola's semiconductor business was spun off to Freescale, and still IS an ARM licensee. They haven't been doing too well lately (Posted VERY high losses last year I believe), but they do exist.

Re:They did? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610948)

And you were right [wikipedia.org] , they made 6800, 68k, 88k, ARM, and PowerPC-based products, as well as some DSPs.

Re:They did? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35611192)

Freescale did. The company currently know as Motorola has jettisioned all the expertise it had in the area years and years ago.

Re:They did? (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611680)

and they have been hiring Android devs like wildfire and probably have a good size team(s). No doubt some of those are claiming they can do their own OS better.

What I wonder is why they would not try working with Freescale( formerly part of Motorola ) to help them improve their ARM products to suit Motorola's needs since they think TI and Nvidia are not.

LoB

I know of a platform (2)

killmenow (184444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610714)

There's a mobile handset platform, recently downgraded to redheaded step child status and soon to be locked in the basement by the largest cell phone manufacturer in the world. It's a very nice platform. It could use the boost a company like Motorola investing in it and joining up with Intel in supporting it.

MeeGo [meego.com] .

Unfortunately, I don't think Motorola has much interest in putting an actual open platform on their phones. Pity.

There's a difference.. (4, Insightful)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610730)

There's a difference between ditching something and building an alternative. Motorola are a bit unusual in that they are almost 100% committed to Android on smartphones (there are some Enterprise devices that still run Windows 6.5 though). HTC, Samsung, LG and even Nokia have a multi-platform smartphone approach.

Yes, there are vendors working on their own OSes. BlackBerry has its QNX based OS. HP bought webOS when it acquired Palm. Samsung has Bada. Out of these, Bada has been around the longest and it isn't exactly a roaring success.. I don't think anyone ever has woken up in the morning and decided that they'd go and buy a Bada device because of the platform. QNX and webOS still have the opportunity to fail very hard indeed..

Still, you don't get anywhere in that business by not making an effort to try new approaches. And at the moment, Moto has pretty much bet the barn on Android which must sometimes be a bit worrying for them.

And another thing.. (3, Interesting)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611032)

And another thing.. Moto only bet the barn on Android on the back of some shockingly bad management decisions. For years they just kept recycling the RAZR.. about two dozen times.. until almost all their customer base had vanished. For most of 2009 they didn't announce any new products of not AT ALL until they kicked off with their Android line. By the time they got to making the CLIQ / DEXT, they were drinking in the last chance saloon.

As a result of this, Moto's presence outside the US is very weak. Probably the most significant partnership they have is with Verizon Wireless, and the new CDMA iPhone is surely going to be hurting sales. Carriers and distributors outside of the US are non enthusiastic when they're already carrying HTC and Samsung Android phones.

IMO, Moto's Android phones (and I use one everyday) are just as good as the competition. But unfortunately, they're not really BETTER than the competition..

Re:And another thing.. (2)

timholman (71886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611938)

And another thing.. Moto only bet the barn on Android on the back of some shockingly bad management decisions. For years they just kept recycling the RAZR.. about two dozen times.. until almost all their customer base had vanished.

Motorola self-destructed when it hopped onto the "six sigma" bandwagon back in the 80's. Even today, most of the energy of Motorola management is still expended on "improving" internal processes while ignoring the external market and neglecting innovation while entire product lines collapse.

It is self-destructive navel-gazing, and after so many years it has become so ingrained into the Motorola culture that nothing short of acquisition or bankruptcy will ever change it.

In short - this new initiative by Motorola will do nothing to save them. They have marginalized themselves in the wireless and smartphone markets, and nothing is going to change that.

Re:There's a difference.. (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611820)

Uh... Bada's been around the longest when compared to the others? WebOS was in development before Bada was announced. QNX dates back to...well...my college days over two and a half decades ago.

creators releasing newclear kodebase early? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610748)

to meet the need? no, they refuse to acknowledge early, or late. it's primarily (developmental) about need meeting. once we discover our true abilities, we'll realize that the kode has always been being compiled. it also appears that we've been given more than we need to solve our MANufacturd dilemmas. for each of of our innocents harmed in any way...

Something is wrong at Motorola (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610782)

If this report is true, then something is surely wrong at Motorola. How can you ditch an OS that is licensed for free, and is 'open' to tweaking to your taste? This boggles my mind.

Let's look at the iOS for a second. If Motorola wishes to replicate even half of iOS' success, they must understand that iOS is selling on it's merits. I just do not get it. Geeks don't like the iOS because it's "closed." But the rest of the world doesn't care, because it [just] works and it's a very good price for what it is. And it runs their favourite apps. Simple as that.

The vast majority of those that buy Android phones have no idea who makes the OS, and they just do not care. Motorola released a 'half-baked' XOOM tablet which hanged many many times on me, and was unresponsive for a while, which reminds me of another operating system, also licensed and widely used. But those were the nineties. I hope Android will not need a decade to mature on the tablet...and Motorola should understand that it is the price, the apps, the support and the look and feel of the product that will sell it.

And ohh, I had forgotten the hype (with ads) built around that product as well. Showing machine like creatures zooming across the screen with graphics that irritate the eyes is not way to advertise a product. Be simple and actually show us how the product can simplify one's life. That's what Apple does and it works.

But releasing a half baked ugly product will not and does not cut it. Someone should be fired at Motorola.

Re:Something is wrong at Motorola (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610892)

You just answered your own question. Android is "open for tweaking" and Motorola doesn't want you tweaking anything.

Geeks don't like iOS? You wouldn't know it by reading Slashdot. Or any other site for that matter.

Re:Something is wrong at Motorola (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35611492)

You wouldn't know it by reading Slashdot. Or any other site for that matter.

... or getting out of your mom's basement.

Re:Something is wrong at Motorola (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611708)

It's a completely insane move of Motorola to think they can home-grow an OS the quality of Android or iOS for a competitive price, let alone duplicate even a tiny fraction of the apps in their respective app stores.

A platform can never compete with Apple's iOS if it is similarly locked down. Economy of scale, years of experience, steadily earned billions in the app store and a brand recognition of superior, but locked-down quality will not allow anyone to profit against them. That way, it's nigh-impossibly hard to compete even against used iPhone 3's from eBay.

Afraid of lawsuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610986)

Maybe they're paranoid of the lawsuit FUD currently hanging over Android.

Re:Something is wrong at Motorola (1)

puto (533470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611138)

Actually, Motorola got screwed by apple when they were in bed together for the Rokr E1 and Apple decided in the middle of the deal that maybe getting into the cell phone market could be profitable, so they crippled the deal and the phone.

Re:Something is wrong at Motorola (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611464)

Motorola has good hardware, but here is one fact they fail to understand about competing against Apple:

I buy an iPhone. I know, due to Apple's history that the phone will receive OS updates for at least two years, or at the minimum, until two subsequent model releases (so if I have an iPhone 4, it won't be until the iPhone 6 that Apple stops making OS updates for it.)

I buy a Motorola phone. It might receive one OS update, but after six months, the device is completely abandoned, and with the signed kernels, it is very hard to mod to a decent level.

The ironic thing -- the price differences are not that big between Android phones and the iPhone on AT&T. Since things are essentially equal, why would I buy a device from Motorola that is essentially obsolete after six months versus an iDevice from Apple which will stay reasonable current for at least two years, and even after that, will still remain supported by app makers for a while.

Take the Motorola Atrix. As of now, it already lags behind six months when it comes to the version of Android it sports. What Motorola should have done is not bother with signed bootloaders and other BS. Instead, they initially should make sure the OS is ships with is solid. Then get some rapport with the modding community to make an unofficial image of 2.3. After some internal testing, QA, and idiot-proofing, make an official ROM. I'm sure that a partnership with the guys over at xda would make development and testing of not just new ROMs for existing devices, but for new stuff a lot faster and more pleasant for everyone involved.

Right now, Motorola is thinking they can make money by making their devices obsolete and keeping them obsolete. This is extremely short-sighted thinking because come contract renewal time, people will find other hardware. Instead, they should create a loyal customer base that actually will ask for Motorola products by name because they not just will work, but can be modded to do stuff the designers never thought of.

A phone maker and a cellular carrier partnering up with the modding scene would produce a lot of interesting and cool stuff. It would be a win/win/win situation for all involved in the long term.

Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610992)

Motorola can never ditch the Android but somehow it always will be on the top because of its . thanks for such a nice and wonderful post.

Not a surprise (1)

accessbob (962147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611048)

Motorola execs have made careers based on bad decisions. There is a reason why Motorola is as small as it is these days...

Android saved Motorola (1)

Hohlraum (135212) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611104)

They can't be delusional enough to think that people want to develop for yet another platform. If it wasn't for Android there wouldn't have been a Droid and without the Droid Motorola would be tits up or have been sold to the highest bidder over a year ago.

pfft motoroloa (3, Insightful)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611116)

I say this is great news. I would never (ever) buy a Motorola android device anyway. They don't get it. If the device is all locked down so you can't swap the firmware, then it isn't an android device in the most meaningful sense (openness). That's not to say that android doesn't have openness problems. You can make an argument about that if you desire. I don't really care. But what I do care about is this locked down DRM code signing BS. If I can't run what I want on the device, you can fucking keep it.

Only Seems Fair (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611120)

The Android enthusiast community has largely ditched Motorola because of their decision to use encrypted bootloaders -- makes sense that they'd return the favor, I guess.

Re:Only Seems Fair (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611536)

Problem is, it is not just Moto who is doing locked bootloaders, signed kernels, and other crap. All the other guys are doing it too (HTC, Dell, Samsung, LG, and I think ZTC).

The only exception are the Google development phones, the ADP1, ADP2, Nexus, and Nexus S.

This leaves a nice market opportunity for a company that can make and sell a high end, completely unlocked device. It wouldn't just sell to the modders, but it would sell to anyone who felt like having a cool device that would get new features as time went on.

Re:Only Seems Fair (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611654)

Well, the signed stuff that the other guys are doing isn't nearly as bad -- it takes work, but it can be cracked. The Thunderbolt, for instance, was fully cracked after only a few days. Motorola's phones, however, can never be cracked, unless they release the encryption keys, or some poor employee steals them and releases them (which doesn't look very probable).

Re:Only Seems Fair (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611898)

Is there a good FAQ on this that you can point to? I'd like a URL on why a signed kernel is crackable and not the end of the world, while Moto's encrypted bootloaders are impossible. These differences are important (especially when steering people to what phones to buy.) It would be nice for a "dummies" guide to this stuff I can point people to.

Re:Only Seems Fair (2)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612210)

No problem at all -- most of my information I get from XDA forums (kinda the Mecca for all hacking and cracking mobile phones): http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=996616 [xda-developers.com] Now, I'm am in now way an expert in this stuff, but from what I can gather, you're apparently able to bypass the checks for signed kernels -- I don't think the signing itself is "cracked." "Encrypted bootloaders" work completely differently and on a much lower level -- there's apparently no way to bypass it.

Re:Only Seems Fair (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611544)

The Android enthusiast community has largely ditched Motorola because of their decision to use encrypted bootloaders -- makes sense that they'd return the favor, I guess.

Motorola isn't the only company out there that makes a decent phone. I happen to like the LG Optimus T over Motorola's low end Citrus. Also, HTC has come out with a nice product. Can you blame the community for telling Motorola where they can cram it. Consumers want to actually own the device that they have purchased. High-end Android phones have gotten as expensive as computers (if you don't want a contract) and when you buy the computer, at the very least, you can throw Linux, BSD, or just about whatever other OS you want on it. If Motorola never liked the spirit of Android, why did they hop on the band wagon? What is wrong with the consumer wanting to tinker with their device?

Re:Only Seems Fair (1)

fireylord (1074571) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611732)

If Motorola never liked the spirit of Android, why did they hop on the band wagon?

Because as far as Motorola were concerned the bandwagon was a _brand_wagon, and that brand was the only thing which would save the company. They road on the android coat tails in order to avoid bankruptcy.

/. crap flooded with secret.geek.pr.gov posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35611142)

or it just sure looks that way. when first we practice to deceive (damage, impede etc..)

Motorola == Marketing. All the engs have fled... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35611320)

I did some contract work at Motorola on the so called LinuxJava phone. It was a steaming pile of shit, 2 or 3 years late and not worth the wait.

The way they subbed out parts of the OS sucked as well. Vietnam got this part that had to talk to this other part made in Russia which the people in the US had to
integrate. There was roughly a 1 second delay between the press of a key and the reaction to the keypress.

Stay away. Far away.

Re:Motorola == Marketing. All the engs have fled.. (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611516)

The way they subbed out parts of the OS sucked as well. Vietnam got this part that had to talk to this other part made in Russia which the people in the US had to integrate.

Don't worry, I'm sure some MBA got a phat bonus for saving money on software development by outsourcing.

Re:Motorola == Marketing. All the engs have fled.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35612078)

There was roughly a 1 second delay between the press of a key and the reaction to the keypress.

That's quite an improvement over iOS 4.x on an iPhone 3G. (kinda wish I was kidding)

Motorola can't be that stupid (1)

fabregas256 (2020388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611480)

There has to be more to the story.

There is no rational business reason for Motorola to go up against Android especially after seeing how Nokia failed. It just doesn't smell right.

Yes, they can. (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612096)

There has to be more to the story.

There is no rational business reason for Motorola to go up against Android especially after seeing how Nokia failed. It just doesn't smell right.

I used to work there for 5 years. Decisions done in Moto are never necessarily based on rational business reasons. It is not cliche, and you don't have to take my word for it. But I shit you not. This is the company whose execs didn't get the idea of a phone with an integrated camera on it (and thus boxed their prototypes in dusty closets.) The amount of stupid shit that goes their upper management halls is beyond belief (not to mentioned the entrenched mafias of sub-par engineers and contracting firms that suck the living life out of it... lots of them are gone due to the layoffs, good riddance.) .

Moto execs, the company, they never lead, they only react to competitors (and react badly.) That's why Moto Mobility/Mobile Devices is a sad zombie shell of its former self. Their two-way radio division is doing well and seem to have their heads out of their asses, but the other half, you can count on it that it will pursue something this stupid. A last spasm before Darwin laws take their course.

Not a smart move (2)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611488)

The Android train has already left the station and Motorola wants to try and play catch-up with a smartphone OS? One of the most appealing aspect of the Android platform is its very openness. Why would I leave Android for a closed platform when it was such a breath of fresh air to tell Apple and its iPhone to pound sand? Think of Palm's attempt at an Android alternative and the Windows 7 Phone OS is a joke. I should think, Motorola's vast resources would be better spent not trying to re-invent the wheel but to continue to improve it.

Re:Not a smart move (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611794)

There is one thing Android has which is going to be more and more important as time goes on: Apps.

Right now, Android's apps are not as polished as the iPhones, but give the platform time. Because there is no app approval phase, Android app developers can have a very fast development cycle which would allow the platform to catch up eventually with app quality on average.

Motorola going with another smartphone OS is not going to go over well -- people will wonder why they can't get Angry Birds or another mainstream title and not bother buying the device. See the MS Kin line for this in action.

From the modder community point of view, if Moto leaves the Android scene, it would be "don't let the door hit you on the way out."

I really wish it would be different. Motorola would gain a lot more good press if they actually contributed, or at least didn't tell the modding scene to go to hell.

Re:Not a smart move (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611994)

The Android train has already left the station and Motorola wants to try and play catch-up with a smartphone OS? One of the most appealing aspect of the Android platform is its very openness. Why would I leave Android for a closed platform when it was such a breath of fresh air to tell Apple and its iPhone to pound sand? Think of Palm's attempt at an Android alternative and the Windows 7 Phone OS is a joke. I should think, Motorola's vast resources would be better spent not trying to re-invent the wheel but to continue to improve it.

One could have said the same about Android with regards to iOS. And Android's vaunted openness seems to be a bit of a bait and switch now that Google has taken a tighter grip on the source.

Motorola Solutions (1)

codecracker007 (789100) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611566)

Who owns the ARM license right now? Motorola Mobility or Motorola solutions

Control issues of a clueless and doomed management (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611574)

Can someone explain to me why in the mobile phone market, everything all participating companies do revolves around control, control and absolute control?

Control may be a means to an end, that is profit, but it's neither the only nor a guaranteed successful one. So why does everyone focus on control?

Is it just the mindset of the entire industry that is perspiring through every product and service or does it have true profitable goals? Is it possible that everyone is thinking Apple's succeeded only because of their iron grip - and now tries to copy it verbatim?

After all, usual company goals are revolving around short term cash flow, mid term profit and long term growth. Control for control's sake brings neither. Apple did succeed because of better-than-excellent hardware, highly polished OS, coupled with insanely high marketing efforts, high brand recognition. They could repeat their first mover advantage in the face of crappy competitive music players against a world of crappy smartphone OS competition. They had good interface design and a clear "just-has-to-work-everytime-for-the-average-joe" development goal. All that success components AND their closed hardware with the associated closed, quality-assured, firstborn-stealing store.

And yet, whenever some lame company tries to copy Apple's success, they only choose to close down their otherwise less-than-excellent hardware, lock down their polished turd of an OS, try only half-hearted marketing efforts failing to secure any brand recognition, as they are simply a decade too late after first mover Apple. Not to mention that all other's interface design is unintuitive and laggy even in the default state.

Android was the only exception to that and they needed the largest software company to back it up.

In the face of excellent competition with a firstborn-stealing app store, everyone else will fail. Only Android could hope to outrank iOS in terms of OS quality and app store variety, but the resulting handset has to be extremely well-built for their combination to succeed.

It is extremely hard to outrank iPhones and iPods on any measure of quality. Next-to-impossible-hard. The only downsides Apple has are price and freedom.

Producing a similarly locked-down handset for the only OS that could compete with Apple is already a risky bet, since if people need to have their soul stolen by an app store, they will choose the one that is most worth it. Android wins by openness, never by features nor UI polish. It can't. With all those billions pouring in from the app store, Apple can outrun everyone else on quality.

Home-growing a competitive OS into a ten-year matured market of mobile OS development cannot be done while keeping the final price of the product below Apple's. Even with half the features left out, it's impossible to beat their economy of scale.

Producing a locked-down handset with a home-grown OS that cannot compete on quality or features with neither Android nor Apple is a suicide pact. Sell Motorola shares, because someone up their chain of command has gone batshit crazy with their stockholder's money.

Re:Control issues of a clueless and doomed managem (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612280)

If I was CEO of a Smartphone company, I'd release two two versions of every phone. One that was locked down with signed OS and Firmware, and one that is open. One for the average guy to keep his phone safe and secure and fully ... in control. The other open and uncontrolled. Just to shut the geeks up.

I have a Droid X, a locked phone. I'm a geek. People I know with unlocked phones have significantly more problems than I do. I don't think this is a coincidence. Some People, like me, just want a phone that isn't a hassle. If you want to play with a phone, buy a Nexus (they still have them), and quit bitching about how phones are locked. As long as there is ONE phone on the market that is unlocked, you have no right to complain that the locked phone you bought is .. locked.

In-house OS for docks, not phones (1)

fangorious (1024903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611646)

I think I saw it on reddit, but someone suggested that an in-house Web OS would be more likely targeted at the webtop docks introduced with the Atrix. Motorola did say they want that functionality added to all their smartphones. That seems to make a lot more sense than Motorola ditching Android on their phones. I think it would have been an obvious development effort for Google to have had this kind of docking functionality be a core feature of ChromeOS from the beginning.

Re:In-house OS for docks, not phones (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611928)

Considering that the dock's just circuitry tied back to something like the Atrix, there's no OS as such on the device.

Didn't Motorola buy 280 North? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35611702)

Didn't they make the Objective-J JavaScript framework Cappuccino that was inspired by Apple's Cocoa framework?

Re:Didn't Motorola buy 280 North? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612046)

Didn't they make the Objective-J JavaScript framework Cappuccino that was inspired by Apple's Cocoa framework?

Yes on both counts. I thought that meant they would never be heard from again. This could be it.

Good move (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611756)

I don't think Motorola should or will abandon android at this point, but given the constant legal trouble that android is having a backup is a smart move. What would moto do if all their eggs were in the Android basket and Android were to get shut down?

One more bad judgement on Motorola's part. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611866)

This has been a fundamental problem with Motorola for years now. The inability to learn from past mistakes. If they are smart, they will stick with Google and run with the program. If history repeats itself, they will not be smart and will fail yet again.

If history is any guide this is a bad idea... (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611960)

Motorola was notorious for having the worst user interfaces ever for their phones even while having some of the nicest hardware. They are hardware company and a good one. They suck at software. It's obvious they should stick with what they do best. At the very least this should have been a skunk works project. If it's a hedge against the legal brouhaha surrounding Android they are just making things worse by confusing the market rather than re-assuring folks they have a back-up plan. It makes them look confused rather than prepared. This seems to be a perennial thing with Motorola. Once they start having some success they start to drink the kool-aid and promptly fall flat on their face.

android is a race to the bottom (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35611970)

Why should anyone buy chinese-built motorola android phone instead of a chinese built HTC android phone or a chinese built LG android phone or a chinese built no-name android phone?

Within a year or two, the middleman (motorola, HTC, LG) will be cut out.

hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35612112)

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahh *gasp* hahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahah *gasp**gasp* hahahahhahahahahahahahahahaha oh man! Hahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahhahahah oh oh oh my sides hurt oh!

Motorola couldn't develop decent software if it was written for them! They would take that well written and thought out software and proceed to deform it until it was some sort or franken-monster freak show. Just look what they did to Android with their ground breaking (as in please bury it in a grave) Moto-Blur if you need proof.

They should use the mobile Palm OS from HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35612114)

It would benefit both them and HP as well as the user base.
Don't you think?

Oh Motorola (1)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612158)

Oh Motorola, you are the Sony of the mobile world. You want so bad to be the coolest kid on the block but you come off as just another kid who tries too hard and fails miserably with your wacky ideas that never quite pan out.

Motorola and Sony should partner up and then we can look forward to two companies putting out all sorts of crappy proprietary junk that never takes off and lots of privacy invasion and a ton of sad attempts to lock down their crappy IP so that even the people that are so misguided as to buy or advocate for their products end up hating them. It would sure solve a lot of problems for consumers... then they'd only have to avoid one company instead of two.

Motorola and Sony... Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee (or is it's Tweedle Dumber?) of the Tech World.

Motoblur (1)

mysterious_mark (577643) | more than 3 years ago | (#35612164)

I doubt it. They are still struggling to get Motoblur finished, I seriously doubt they'd be able to field a consumer grade OS if they can't even get Motoblur out the door. Application and OS layer is not their strong point as a company, they would be better off of they just focused on hardware, Mark
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