Motorola is looking to the Google-backed Android to help it mount a comeback, and it has launched a new program to woo developers.
The company has been struggling lately, as its handset division has lost billions over the last few years, and it is having embarrassing public spats with former employees. Motorola has failed to deliver a product like the Razr that captures interest from consumers and wireless carriers. Co-CEO chief Sanjay Jha has cleaned house since he was appointed head of the handset division about a year ago, and he is placing a big emphasis on Android for upcoming handsets.
The company introduced the Motodev program Friday, and it is aimed at making it easier and faster for content creators to make Android programs for Motorola's smartphones. Part of this program includes the App Accelerator Program, which Motorola said will provide developers with technical specs, tools, and access to pre-released handsets. Motorola will also help developers get their programs distributed through the Android Market, third-party application stores, carrier stores, and on-deck apps.
Another aspect of the developer program is the release of the Motodev Studio for Android Beta. This Eclipse-based tool works with Google's software development kit, and it has handset emulators, frequently used code templates, and other resources. The company will also be holding a Motodev Summit on October 6 in San Diego, and it will offer advanced training for Android developers.
Christy Wyatt, Motorola's VP of software platform, said the company's decision to focus on fewer mobile platforms will enable it to hone in on delivering handsets that provide a great end-user experience. Calling the Google-backed platform a "vehicle for innovation," Wyatt said successful Android phone makers will have to have deep customization with apps, user interfaces, and network management to stand out in a crowded field.
The company hasn't officially announced an Android handset, but it is committed to releasing at least one before the end of the year. Wyatt said an announcement would be coming soon, and reports suggest the smartphone will have a strong emphasis on social networking.
InformationWeek has published a 360-degree analysis of the first Android-based smartphone. Download the report here (registration required).