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10/29/2008
04:48 PM
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Motorola Reportedly Trimming Operating Systems In Favor Of Android

The cell phone maker is hoping that next week's FCC white spaces vote will bolster its efforts to bring an Android phone to market.

From the day Google announced its Android platform alliance last November, Motorola has been a featured partner. From Android day one, it was assumed that Motorola would one day have its very own Android handsets.

Since then, the pieces have been gradually falling into place for Motorola. Most recently, CEO Greg Brown lobbied the Federal Communications Commission to approve flexible use of the white spaces spectrum, which, of course, could be used by an Android phone built by Motorola.

The FCC votes on the white spaces issue on Tuesday and Motorola may set the table before that when it reports its quarterly earnings on Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reported that Motorola is cutting the number of its mobile phone operating systems and may announce its intention to center its efforts on Android phones.

So the planets are aligned for Motorola's Android effort. All that is lacking is a Motorola Android mobile phone. Much could depend on the outcome of the white spaces vote; approval of the unused and still unlicensed spectrum that exists alongside the 700-MHz band would likely spur sales of a Motorola Android handset.

The sole Android phone in the United States today is T-Mobile's G1 phone, but given T-Mobile's vociferous opposition to unbridled use of the unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum, the cell phone service provider is unlikely to embrace unbridled white spaces, use either.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday said Sanjay Jha, Motorola's new co-chief executive, has told employees that he plans to jettison some of Motorola's older operating systems to focus on the Android platform in addition to Microsoft's Windows Mobile and Motorola's older home-grown P2K OS.

In spite of its long litany of problems, Motorola is still the leading supplier of cell phones in the United States and its RAZR model still tops the sales charts, although Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's BlackBerry Curve are rapidly gaining.

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