Motorola's big Android bet kicks off

Motorola is expected to lay its Android chips on the table in the form of new devices that are designed to turn around the company.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Updated: Motorola on Thursday is expected to lay its Android chips on the table in the form of new devices that are designed to turn around the company.

As most folks know, Motorola has struggled in recent years. Its handset business has been a wreck and Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola, has had to revamp the company's mobile portfolio. The biggest bet by Jha: Become the biggest supporter of the Android operating system. In July, Jha said Android will put Motorola back into the smartphone game. A year ago, Motorola outlined its Android plans. A lot is at stake: For Motorola, the future of the handset unit---not to mention any possible spin-off---rides on the Google-created Android operating system. For Google, a wave of Android devices are about to hit the market. Motorola-Google could be the duo that gives Apple's iPhone a run. So far, few other devices have come close to Apple's creation.

Jha will be delivering the keynote at GigaOm's Mobilize conference later today. Sam Diaz will be on scene and Motorola will Webcast the keynote live. Jha is also likely to talk up Motorola's Android devices at a Deutsche Bank conference Sept. 14.

In a nutshell, Motorola will be a key cog in a year's worth of Android devices. Also: Android bolsters its app market as device lineup swells

Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Walkley sums it up:

Our checks indicate two different Android smartphones will launch in the near future. We anticipate one model will launch for T-Mobile with a separate form factor launching for Verizon. Finally, we believe another unique product will launch for AT&T in Q110, and we anticipate this model could sell to several global carriers, including the Chinese market in time for Chinese New Year.

Device design to go along with Android will matter for Motorola, but another key theme is marketing. Can Motorola go toe-to-toe with Apple on marketing?

Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdhry writes:

Contacts have seen the new Motorola Android Phone, and all feel the phone is extremely well designed, and probably may be a winner. Contacts tell us that it is slimmer than iPhone, capacitive touch screen seems more precise than iPhone and feels faster than iPhone. The native processing of code on Motorola is much faster than anything out there.

The rub: Motorola has to market the device correctly. Chowdhry guesses that Motorola will spend as much as $70 million on marketing. A year from now, Motorola will either be busy restoring its status as a mobile handset leader or just another company that doubled down on a technology and lost.

Update: Here's Sam's live post on Jha's talk along with photo gallery and the video feed of the keynote:

Update 2: Motorola has announced that the Cliq is coming to T-Mobile for the holidays. It looks like a good season for smartphones. Here's the statement.

More: It's official: Google and Apple are competitors (especially in mobile)

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