Motorola (MOT) continues to overhaul its depleted mobile phone division under new CEO Sanjay Jha, who came over from Qualcomm (QCOM) this summer. Among the big changes, which the Wall Street Journal says could be detailed during the company’s Q3 earnings call Thursday morning:
- Thousands of layoffs.
- A new mobile phone strategy that includes betting big on Google’s (GOOG) Android mobile operating system.
The Journal says Motorola will stop working on several mobile operating systems (and could cancel dozens of phone designs) to focus on three platforms: Android for consumer-focused phones, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile for business-focused phones, and an internal platform for lower-end phones.
This sounds smart to us. Android, while not as elegant as Apple’s industry-best iPhone software, is equally as powerful — and with some software and user interface updates, matched with good hardware, could be a strong mobile platform. (Certainly as good or better than anything else Motorola has shipped recently.) Windows Mobile needs work, but it can handle enterprise stuff pretty well, which Android doesn’t yet.
One thing that could be tricky to juggle: Making Motorola’s flavour of Android unique (and good) enough that its phones don’t simply become a hardware commodity, while still allowing them to run apps designed for other Android phones.
What this also means: AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ), the two biggest U.S. wireless carriers, will eventually have to suck it up and start selling Google-powered phones. So far no. 4 T-Mobile (DT) is the only U.S. carrier to sell an Android phone, while no. 3 Sprint Nextel (S) eagerly awaits theirs.