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Motorola to call on Google in cell overhaul

Posted by comtech3 on October 29, 2008

October 28, 2008 10:40 PM PDT
Posted by Steven Musi

Motorola is expected to place a heavy bet that Android–Google’s mobile operating system–phone can turn around its struggling cell phone division.

Sanjay Jha, co-CEO and head of mobile devices for Motorola

(Credit: Qualcomm)

Sanjay Jha, the company’s co-chief executive and head of its cell phone division, is expected to focus on Google’s operating system in an overhaul of the cell phone division that includes addition job cuts and the elimination of four platforms, according to a report Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal. Jha is expected to detail his plans as early as Thursday when the company announces its earnings.

Motorola is expected to trim the number of operating systems it uses to three: Motorola’s midtier devices will be based on Android, while retaining Microsoft’s Windows Mobile as well as its own platform, P2K.

Business Week reported earlier this week that Motorola was prepping a social-networking smartphone based on Android that would debut in the second quarter of next year. Motorola’s Android phone, according to the report, is expected to feature a touch screen similar to Apple’s popular iPhone, as well as a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that allows users to connect to such social-networking sites as MySpace and Facebook. It is unclear how similar it will be to T-Mobile USA’s newly released G1 phone, manufactured by HTC, which also uses Android.

Motorola tapped Jha in August to be co-chief executive and head of the mobile-device business after announcing earlier that it will separate the mobile-device business from the rest of the company. Jha, 45, spent the past 14 years at cell phone chipmaker Qualcomm, where he most recently ran the company’s CDMA division.

In August, the company surprised Wall Street with a small profit for the second quarter. But the company’s handset division continued to drag on earnings. Most of the gains in the second quarter came from cost cutting and from its Internet and cable businesses. Still, the company managed to hang on to its market share position, a surprising result, as many analysts had expected No. 1 Nokia and No. 2 Samsung to pick up share.

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