A lot has changed in the smartphone game since last October.
That's when Motorola first announced its intentions to tap Google's open-source approach toward smartphones with the Android OS - a move that was part of a larger strategy to turn around the troubled mobile handset division.
Months earlier, the company brought in former Qualcomm exec Sanjay Jha as CEO of the division, giving him the task of healing the division at a time when the economy was tanking.
At the time, the company said the phones wouldn't be available until late 2009. Today, the Wall Street Journal is reporting plans by Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile to offer Motorola Android phones before the end of the year - right on schedule.
But, again, a lot has changed since last October, notably the arrival of the Palm Pre for Sprint and a new iPhone 3GS this week. Apple said yesterday that it sold more than one million iPhone 3G S devices over its launch weekend. And Blackberry maker Research in Motion said in its quarterly earnings call last week that subscriptions were up, new products were on the way and the outlook is solid.
Smartphones are where the growth is expected and, increasingly, the lure is less about the device itself and more about the software that's running on it. The Android OS, for example, is integrated closely with Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, search and other Google favorites. And several carriers around the world are on-board to carry Android devices.
Translation: the field is crowded, times are still tough but Android has been getting some positive reviews that are helping it rise above the noise. That's a good thing for Motorola, which could use a growth injection from some excitement around Android.
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