According to BetaNews Motorola is switching a phone that was supposed to ship with Windows Mobile to Google's Android platform. Is this a cost issue or a marketing decision?From a licensing perspective, Android is free whereas Microsoft charges for each phone that Windows Mobile is put on. Motorola's handset division has been in financial straits for some time now so this could be a cost cutting maneuver.
It may also be that Motorola is trying to get the device out the door as soon as possible with a more modern OS. Windows Mobile 6.1 is a bit long in the tooth since it is visually almost indistinguishable from WinMo 5, a platform that shipped nearly 4 years ago. WinMo 6.5, which is substantially updated, was just completed this month, but it will be three months or more before the first devices start showing up.
If Motorola wanted a phone out before then and wanted a more modern looking OS than WinMo 6.1, they could have switched to Android months ago if they wanted to guaranteeing a Q3 launch.
Motorola and Microsoft aren't parting ways. Motorola said months ago, long before MS would have liked, that WinMo 7 would be out in 2010 and Moto would be a key player in that market.
2009 will be a pivotal year for MS. Windows Mobile showed too little progress in the last few years. On the consumer side, it has been overshadowed by the iPhone. Google is gaining steam as well, going from two phones today to 18 this year. WinMo 6.5 has to regain some of the spotlight the platform has lost and WinMo 7 will have to knock our socks off. The iPhone and Android certainly are not sitting still.