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Motorola May Ditch Android, Revive ARM Partnership 207

siliconbits writes "It looks as if Motorola Mobility could be mulling plans to build an alternative to Google's mobile platform. Several independent sources have confirmed that the mobile phone company is working on a web-based mobile operating system to, as one observer put it, have more control on its own destiny. There's another piece in that puzzle; Motorola Mobility could take even more ownership of its destiny by reviving its ARM license as it depends at the moment on TI and Nvidia to provide the SoCs that power its products; Motorola did produce ARM systems-on-chips in the past."
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Motorola May Ditch Android, Revive ARM Partnership

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  • Either/Or (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @09:41AM (#35610644) Journal
    Is there a reason why Motorola can't have both? They aren't a small company, they could have Android & test the waters with their own stuff too. However from previous experience, I think they should stick with Android. I've purchased several Tracfones for my wife & kids over the past years, and Motorla's software was by far the worst compared to Kyocera, LG & Samsung.
  • Locking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @09:41AM (#35610652)
    They way they keep locking down their phones, perhaps it's for the best.
  • Prediction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @09:41AM (#35610656)
    Motorola will make this stab at a segment in which it has nowhere near the level of expertise required to compete, and it will fail miserably. Sell MOT.
  • by Dynamoo ( 527749 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @09:48AM (#35610730) Homepage
    There's a difference between ditching something and building an alternative. Motorola are a bit unusual in that they are almost 100% committed to Android on smartphones (there are some Enterprise devices that still run Windows 6.5 though). HTC, Samsung, LG and even Nokia have a multi-platform smartphone approach.

    Yes, there are vendors working on their own OSes. BlackBerry has its QNX based OS. HP bought webOS when it acquired Palm. Samsung has Bada. Out of these, Bada has been around the longest and it isn't exactly a roaring success.. I don't think anyone ever has woken up in the morning and decided that they'd go and buy a Bada device because of the platform. QNX and webOS still have the opportunity to fail very hard indeed..

    Still, you don't get anywhere in that business by not making an effort to try new approaches. And at the moment, Moto has pretty much bet the barn on Android which must sometimes be a bit worrying for them.

  • Re:Either/Or (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @09:50AM (#35610770)

    Motorola knows how to do hardware. The Droid put Android on the map for everyday users. The RAZR had an almost Apple-quality of hype. But I've never seen them produce new software that made me go "Wow". On the Xoom, they made the best decision they could have made, which was to use unmodified Honeycomb.

  • Re:Either/Or (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yog ( 19073 ) * on Friday March 25, 2011 @09:52AM (#35610792) Homepage Journal
    This [] is apparently the original article. If you google the headline, you find about 20 copies on various blogs. I don't understand why Slashdot submitters can't at least link to the original, unless they have a stake in the blog.

    I'm with the Motorola-is-stupid crowd on this one. They are a hardware/telecom company, not a software company. They have no demonstrated track record of developing a competent, competitive smartphone OS. Short of buying Palm's WebOS, which maybe they should have done instead of letting HP have it, they don't have much hope of keeping up with the Android and iOS juggernauts. Even Rim, the erstwhile smartphone king, has a teeny little app market compared to the two others, and their market share is shrinking, not growing.

    That said, I wish MOT well because a little competition is good for the consumer. I would prefer that they work on perfecting their tablets and smartphones in the Android space, however. The Xoom is a great first effort. Why not tweak it until it's flawless and best-of-breed? Why not help Google improve Android in the areas where MOT feels it's deficient? For a lot less money and resources than developing their own proprietary crappy OS, they can be very competitive.

    Methinks Motorola is not thinking this through very clearly. Then again, it's just a rumor.
  • Re:Either/Or (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) < minus caffeine> on Friday March 25, 2011 @09:56AM (#35610852) Homepage

    But it's still the only platform that seems to be holding up well against iOS...

    WP7 seems to have epicfailed from the get-go (crippled compared to its predecessor with the only thing to offer being a shiny UI, causing former Windows Mobile loyalists to jump ship - many of the hardcore WM owners have gone Android, and in some cases have taken to running Android on their Windows-Mobile targeted hardware.) On top of the above issues, WP7 has had some serious issues (excessive background data usage, numerous firmware updates causing bricking)

    webOS - seems dead from the start to me

    BlackBerry - Hanging in their due to their incredible momentum and entrenchment within the large business connectivity segment

    Motorola has tried (and failed) numerous times to do their own thing. They're idiots if they think they can do it again.

  • by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @10:05AM (#35610958)

    Yet another Web based operating system? Isn't that was WebOS was supposed to be before it flopped and started allowign native apps? And take a look at the top mobile OSes now, iOS has its roots in NeXT and BSD, which in turn has roots in UNIX philosophy which are really old. Android is based on Linux, which is 20 years old and has it's roots in UNIX which is even older. Windows Phone 7 has it's roots in Windows CE which in turn has it's roots in DOS and Win NT which are really old. Even QNX that Blackberry is moving to has a long history and roots in UNIX and WebOS is based on Linux.

    The point here is that although people think it's easy to build OSes, building one that's full featured and modern is extremely hard and can't be done by just throwing money at people . It takes years for bugs to be found and shaken off. See how Nokia failed inspite of employing tens of thousands of people to work on Symbian and Meego/Maemo. If Motorola is looking to build something from scratch, I am not optimistic.

    On top of that, hardware companies and OEMs seem to universally suck at making software and they don't stop trying. Motorola's skins on Android all lag even on dual cores, OEM software on PC is the worst junk imaginable with crashes, bloat and what not, printer and webcam software is just pathetic. It's like they don't even have a indepented QA team. HTC's Sense UI is appreciated by some, but my experience is that it's laggy and bloated, heavy on features but low on performance. I think part of it is that the OEMs treat software development just like hardware which is a major mistake to make. Software is extremely hard to get right, especially when building OSes, developer APIs etc. which require a LOT of coordination among extremely large number of teams. The competition is no longer about devices or OSes but about platforms, which are extremely hard to build.

    I am sure Motorola doesn't just want to be another Android OEM, but it sure needs to get its act exactly right. Expect multiyear delays and cost overruns. Maybe they can team up with HP on WebOS or Blackberry with QNX.

  • Re:Either/Or (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @10:06AM (#35610974)

    I would say Android is doing more than "holding up well" against iOS. Isn't it beating it by a handy margin now - even with iPads? If Motorola was smart they back a winning horse. Android is only going to get stronger over time.

  • pfft motoroloa (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spottedkangaroo ( 451692 ) * on Friday March 25, 2011 @10:18AM (#35611116) Homepage
    I say this is great news. I would never (ever) buy a Motorola android device anyway. They don't get it. If the device is all locked down so you can't swap the firmware, then it isn't an android device in the most meaningful sense (openness). That's not to say that android doesn't have openness problems. You can make an argument about that if you desire. I don't really care. But what I do care about is this locked down DRM code signing BS. If I can't run what I want on the device, you can fucking keep it.
  • Re:Either/Or (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Friday March 25, 2011 @10:19AM (#35611124) Journal
    And the linked article which is the source of the rumours makes some really dumb suppositions:

    Drieu left Apple in March 2010, where he was the head of the company's rich media and applications group. After a five month period without employment, he joined Motorola. His work with Web standards groups WhatWG and W3C and his Web-related patents suggest that he would be well-suited to lead an operating system development effort.

    Yeah,. right, that's the ticket. Get "web standards" people to build an operating system. That's got fail written all over it.

    And the reason given?

    Google is shooting itself in the foot," said the person familiar with Motorola's plans, citing what he sees as concerns about Android fragmentation, product differentiation, and issues related to Google's support for its partners.

    So you fix that by ... making a competing platform that nobody's going to write apps for?

    I'm not buying it. And neither will consumers, because there's no App for that.

  • Re:Either/Or (Score:1, Insightful)

    by matt_gaia ( 228110 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @11:43AM (#35612122)

    No, not quite.... if you're comparing it on a metric such as "Do you prefer an iOS/Android/RIM environment?" then yes, Android is beating Apple and is continuing to increase it's share. That's a fair comparison, since you can't knock Android for Apple only allowing one version of its phone/tablet platform at a time.

    Since we all love car analogies on /., it's equivalent to asking "Do you prefer to drive a sedan or a pickup?" It doesn't matter how many vehicles of each the manufactures make, but how many of that type get picked up by the consumers.

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