Motorola has announced that all its future handsets will be based on either the Windows Mobile or open source Google Android platforms.
Motorola co-CEO and handset division chief Sanjay Jha said that concentrating on two mobile operating systems would cut production costs and improve the customer experience. Previously, Motorola had offered devices based on several platforms including its own Motorola OS, Windows Mobile, Symbian and the Linux-based MOTOMAGX, he said. The shift to Windows Mobile and Android means that the company will cancel some of the handsets based on other operating systems that it had planned to launch in the first half of 2009.
Streamlining Motorola's handset production will save the company US$600 million in 2009 while reducing the total number of products the company will release in the first half of the year, Jha estimated. The company's volume of handset shipments will steadily increase throughout the year, however, as the company develops a broader range of Windows Mobile handsets, as well as when the company launches its first Android-based handset sometime in the fourth quarter of 2009, he said.
By whittling down the number of operating systems used on Motorola devices, Jha is betting that Windows Mobile and Android will be the two dominant mobile platforms for the foreseeable future. Shifting handset production to these two platforms would take time and money, but it would make the company's handset division much more profitable in the long run, he said.
"There is no quick fix," Jha acknowledged. "We will reduce the number of products to launch in 2009 as compared to what we've planned, and that will make the first half of next year challenging."