Verizon, T-Mobile Likely To Offer Motorola Android Phone
Amid layoffs and plunging profits, Motorola is reportedly seizing the opportunity to expand its reach in the smartphone market. The mobile-phone maker, which developed a Windows-based smartphone, is expected to offer an Android-based smartphone through two top-tier wireless carriers.
Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile will carry Motorola's new smartphone running Google's open-source operating system, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
T-Mobile will sell a touchscreen phone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard that will have a variety of built-in social-networking software from providers such as Twitter and Facebook, the source said. Verizon plans to carry a device with similar hardware, including a touchscreen and slide-out keyboard.
"I think we are getting closer and closer to what Co-CEO Sanjay Jha said about the company's smartphone strategy back in October of 2008: That Motorola would utilize the Android platform for smartphones, and that new phones would be available before the end of 2009," said Ramon Llamas, an IDC mobile-phone analyst.
Getting It Right
Motorola's move to enter the Android market isn't a surprise since the company has been hinting about an Android-based phone for the past several months. Motorola, which saw its profit plunge in 2008 and cut more than 4,000 employees this year, will have a tough fight on its hands against smartphone developers and competitors who are already selling Android-based phones.
Taiwan-based HTC developed a second Android-based smartphone and is making it available through T-Mobile, beginning July 8. T-Mobile on Monday announced the myTouch 3G Android smartphone, which is thinner than the T-Mobile G1, smaller than the iPhone, and comes with a 3.2-inch touchscreen.
Many factors will have to be in line for Motorola to be successful.
The company will have to have great distribution partners, offer end users a compelling experience, and timing will have to be perfect. If Verizon and T-Mobile really will carry the Android-based smartphone, Motorola is already heading in the right direction, according to Llamas.
"If you are able to capture a tier-one operator such as Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint that have millions of customers, that is a significant accomplishment," Llamas said.
Getting the smartphones in front of the public during the third quarter is a strategic move for mobile-phone developers because it is by and large a busy time for mobile phones because of back-to-school and holiday sales, Llamas added.
Room For More
There were approximately 250 different mobile phones available on the market last quarter, and a majority were not smartphones, so that leaves plenty of room for competitors like Motorola, Llamas said.
Still, Motorola will have to compete with Apple's new iPhone 3GS, which sold more than one million devices in its first weekend. It will also compete with Palm, which recently released its Pre smartphone, and T-Mobile's myTouch 3G.