Motorola to rely on Android to revive phone sales

Company pushes off phones using Windows Mobile 7 until 2010

Motorola Tuesday said its mobile phone revenues fell by 51 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, and said it plans to improve phone sales in 2009 by developing fewer new handsets with a focus on smartphones that run the Android operating system.

Then focus on Android will give Motorola a chance to capitalize on handsets that integrate social networking functionality, which is expected to sell well in the market, Motorola Co-CEO Sanjay Jha said in a conference call Tuesday morning.

By the same token, the Android news is not good for Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system. Motorola plans to build handsets in 2010 that will run Windows Mobile 7 when it becomes available, bypassing Windows Mobile 6 which is available now, Jha said. Last year, Jha criticized the Windows Mobile OS for deficiencies in user functionality, but today he made clear how Motorola intends to use, or not use, various Microsoft products.

The fourth-quarter earnings announcement did not surprise analysts, as Motorola last year began laying off 7,000 workers to lower costs, with 1,000 already let go, Motorola officials said.

However, the financial report was grim, with the company reporting a US$3.6 billion quarterly loss, or $1.57 cents a share. For the mobile phone division, which is expected to be spun off in 2010 or later, revenue fell by 51 percent to US$2.35 billion for the quarter compared to a year earlier.

Motorola also said it is suspending payment of dividends until further notice. It also announced that Chief Financial Officer Paul Liska had resigned.

In general, Jha said Motorola will make fewer launches of new mobile phones in 2009, with a greater focus on mid- and high-tier phones. Analysts have said a big part of the Motorola losses were due to flatness in sales of low-end phones, partly due to the poor global economy and the poor performance of mobile phone sales. The only bright spot has been in smartphone sales.

Jha gave some broad outlines of how Motorola will use Android, which was developed with Google Inc. and the Open Handset Reliance and is based on the Linux operating system. Because Android already has thousands of developers and won't require Motorola to build an operating system from the ground up, Motorola will be able to deliver a "differentiated" version in what promises to be a competitive market for both smartphones in general and Android phones, Jha said.

Also, Motorola teams have had years of familiarity with Linux Java, which will help in working with Android, Jha said. Motorola engineers are already working with Google developers to create a "tight hardware and software integration," he said. Jha estimated that up to 40% of development staff at Motorola are devoted to smartphones, and noted that with prior successes like the Moto Razr phone, "we have world-class design capabilities."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags general motors

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?