Motorola Betting On ‘Social Networking’ Software To Sell Android Phones (MOT, GOOG)


As Motorola’s (MOT) mobile phone lineup gets increasingly stale, and as its market share plummets, new co-CEO Sanjay Jha will have to figure out a product lineup that will get both consumers and carriers interested in Motorola gadgets again. How will he do it?

We already know that Motorola will be focusing on Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system as the basis for its consumer phones, including mid- and high-end gadgets. Beyond that, we don’t know too much. But Jha shared some ideas on today’s earnings call:

  • Motorola will try to differentiate itself from myriad other Android phone makers (like Sony Ericsson, HTC, LG, Samsung, etc.) via software, not just hardware. This is important, because the mobile phone experience is increasingly about software, not hardware.
  • It’s working on exclusive add-on “modules” and “compelling applications and user experiences” for Android via its team of Linux-Java developers, many of whom previously were working on Motorola’s proprietary (discontinued) Linux-Java platform.
  • It’s investing a lot in social networking. Specifically, Motorola wants to offer a “much more integrated” social networking experience than rivals.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen the company emphasise social networking: Last October, the company was advertising a job opening for someone to work on their “Android Social Networking SmartPhone,” for example.

But what does this mean?

It’s possible Motorola is just trying to make Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Twitter, and Loopt easier to use on the phone. Like a camera app that uploads your photos to Facebook, Flickr, etc. Or Twitter built-in to the messaging system. That makes sense, and would probably make Motorola phones more attractive. (But wouldn’t necessarily sell phones on its own.)

Or maybe they have more ambitious plans, like their own social networking service that takes things like location, the song you’re listening to on your phone, the games you’re playing, etc., into account.

That would be much riskier. And a crappy, me-too social networking service is more likely to get in the way than get people interested. But if for some reason, Motorola invents something that’s truly amazing, it could potentially convince families/friends/kids to get Motorola phones instead of Samsungs.

What’s clear: Crap won’t count. So we hope that Sanjay and Motorola’s team is working on something useful and interesting.

Know more about Motorola’s plans? Let us know via comments below, via email to [email protected], or via our anonymous tips box. Anonymity guaranteed.

See Also:
Motorola: Google Android Better Than Microsoft Windows Mobile
Motorola Q4 As Bad As Expected, CFO Out After Less Than A Year
Motorola Demotes Windows Mobile, Fires Staff)