On Motorola’s (MOT) earnings call today, co-CEO Sanjay Jha promised not one, but two Google (GOOG) Android-powered phones for this Christmas shopping season.
ZDNet: “We will have two Android devices (for the holidays in the U.S.),” said Jha, adding that deals are already in place with two major carriers with more to follow. “We also have plans for more devices in the first quarter of 2010.”
Motorola’s first Android phones will probably be high-end smartphones, but what will really be interesting is seeing what it can eventually do with Android on cheaper phones that people in the mobile industry call “feature phones.”
Carriers are having no problems getting people to use the mobile Internet (and pay for data plans) on smartphones, but if Motorola and Google really want to help the mobile industry, they’re going to have to get people using the mobile Web (and paying for it) on cheaper, mass-market phones.
That’s where Android — with its free, powerful, easily customised OS software, and solid Web browser — could be promising. Especially if Motorola can solve some of the challenges of a cheaper phone — smaller screen, rarely any touchscreen controls — and bake mass-market Internet services like Facebook, MySpace, Google Maps, and YouTube right into the phone’s OS.
The problem today is that the powerful hardware that Android requires to run smoothly is probably still too expensive for a company like Motorola to stick in a lower-end phone and still make a profit.
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