Motorola gPhone by Xmas '09: A big mistake?

Motorola gPhone by Xmas '09: A big mistake?

Summary: A recent article on Silicon Alley Insider noted that Motorola, whose cell phone business restructuring includes a "big bet on Google's Android platform," will wait until the next winter holiday season to roll out the first batch of what the web has been referring to as their first gPhone -- Google Android-powered smartphone. Is this a big mistake?

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Motorola gPhoneA recent article on Silicon Alley Insider noted that Motorola, whose cell phone business restructuring includes a "big bet on Google's Android platform," will wait until the next winter holiday season to roll out the first batch of what the web has been referring to as their first gPhone -- Google Android-powered smartphone. Is this a big mistake?

It occurs to me that the one thing the Android thing has going for it besides being open-source and cross-provider is sheer momentum. And I fear that waiting too long may temper that excitement, or worse, produce expectations that can't be met.

It's clear that people want something to realistically compete with the iPhone. Just look at all the fervor RIM is stoking with its BlackBerry Storm and Bold rollouts. Will people be patient to wait another year for a phone that is trying to compete with Apple's iPhone -- now several years old?

In the meantime, Motorola smartphones based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform are set to debut, including entirely new models in the second half of 2009. And God only knows what Steve Jobs is planning for the next year.

As a major player, can Motorola afford to wait this long? Will the stakes be too high by then?

Motorola posted another big loss in Q3 of this year, reporting that cellphone sales shrank more than 30 percent year-over-year to an estimated 8.4 percent market share. The company plans on canceling several models, including those running Nokia's Symbian OS and its own Linux-Java platform.

Which is all well and good, but the ante is being upped as we speak -- and I'm not so sure whatever Motorola comes up with will really blow everyone out of the water.

I wonder what their long-term strategy is at this point: is Motorola looking for a big splash, or to simply and slowly regain market share? I don't know.

But I fear a lot more people will turn in their Razrs to upgrade to other companies' smartphones in the next year, as prices come down.  And once they taste it, they may never turn back.

What do you think? Should Motorola kick it in high gear, or does slow and steady win the race? Tell us in TalkBack.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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Talkback

5 comments
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  • I agree

    You hit the high points of this topic well. Motorola will be very very sorry if they delay a year in taking advantage of this new OS and the feature set it can support. This will be too bad, because they have been a great hardware provider for many years. Somebody better take a nice soft towel to their crystal ball, and give it be big rub-down!
    zetacon4@...
  • RE: Motorola gPhone by Xmas '09: A big mistake?

    I think holding up for year in any technology now is more equivalent to like 5 years in reality... I have always liked Motorola and my first ever cell was a Motorola ( you know the ones that were luggables)...but this time guys you have made a big mistake not to mention all the free advertising you would get now because the Google android system is HOT!!!

    Verne Frazer
    visionary6
  • RE: Motorola gPhone by Xmas '09: A big mistake?

    motorola is like BIG BLUE (IBM) they sit too long on their success and it hurts them by not keeping the innovation going. It is ashame too because when Motorola concentrates on a product they are great. I think the problem is corporate politics and that is what will hurt them if it is 4th Quarter next year. The only thing worse than that is Nokia and their N-models that have no phone??? Come on people compete with RIM & CrApple! I love Apple products but they are like the boy who wears Polo shirts and thinks TOO HIGHLY of himself!
    dbest1970
  • RE: Motorola gPhone by Xmas '09: A big mistake?

    In surfing there are those who watch waves all day waiting for the perfect one...and those who surf all day. Looks like Motorola is opting to watch...heck, they're still sitting on the beach. I just got my first moto...a Razr2. I always wanted the best and finally had the scratch. My enthusiasm has been wiped out - horrible (especially the slow and stupid iTap). So if they want to watch a cool OS go by...I will be buying something else 'cause I am ditching this piece of junk this year, not next year. Hmm, maybe one of those cool new crackberrys ;-).
    stone-cutter
  • RE: Motorola gPhone by Xmas '09: A big mistake?

    Unlike the other TechnoJunkies that have replied, I think Moto is smart to sit on this one a while. Remember the iPhone? It was OK, but there was a lot of bitching about this and that. It was not until iPhone 3G that apple had a chance to redeem itself and add those features that it did not think the market needed...

    As cool as Android is, it still has a lot of rough edges. If you've ever had to reflash a phone to install the latest OS patches, You know what a PITA it is.

    Moto can't afford to make a major high-profile mistake. Jumping on the bandwagon early might get them a black eye...
    Animal13