Rumour: Motorola working on in-house mobile OS

Motorola is reportedly working on its own mobile operating system to either supplement or replace Google's Android OS on the company's mobile offerings.

Citing ''a source familiar with the matter'' InformationWeek claimed Motorola has been gathering talent from Apple and Adobe in recent months to work on a ''web-based mobile operating system'' as an alternative to Android. In particular, the site fingered Motorola's VP of software engineering, Gilles Drieu, as the man likely to be leading work on the company's secret OS project. Mr Drieu was formerly head of Apple's rich media and applications group, but left that company in March last year.

InformationWeek's article was, however, light on detail about why Motorola would choose to move away from Google's mobile OS.

"Google is shooting itself in the foot," the source said, apparently referring to concerns about fragmentation, product differentiation, and issues related to Google's support for its partners.

Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg confirmed the existence of Motorola's OS project to the publication, and said the company ''recognizes that they need to differentiate''.

''They need options, just in case. Nobody wants to rely on a single supplier,'' he said.

Industry analyst Rob Enderle told TG Daily many OEMs were finding Android to be less profitable than expected.

''Android isn't turning out to be profitable for any company other than Google and even Google's numbers look less than reliable,'' he said.

Numerous lawsuits against the platform, including several naming Motorola as a co-defendant, were having a chilling effect, he said. He also echoed the concerns of InformationWeek's source about Google's interactions with OEMs.

''In short, many of these companies are saying Android isn't working for them financially. But Google isn't listening and this combination has an increasing number of people and companies looking for plan B,'' he said.

He also claimed growing unhappiness with Google was a key factor in both the HP-Palm and Microsoft-Nokia partnerships.

For its part, Motorola has not denied the existence of an in-house operating system project.

''Motorola Mobility is committed to Android as an operating system,'' a spokesperson told InformationWeek.

Image Credit: Mobiletor.com

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft details global NoDo update schedule

Next Story

Ten years of OS X, from heavily criticized to heavily praised

35 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

IICODECll said,
There already is an alternative to Android... HP/Palm WebOS.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre


Lol my co-worker had one of those for about a year, until he got tired of some issues he was having plus the screen is so tiny. He switched to the Evo last week.

This is the second time this is being reported on this site as news and the original article by IW is actually completely made up of conjecture. The original author even admits he could be completely wrong in his assumptions and there is no verifiable proof that Motorola is creating a new Web OS. FUD.

@tanjiajun_34

Really, Every phone OS except Apple has failed ?

Do you realize how long Windows Mobile was around.

Windows Mobile was winning long before the Iphone was though off.

Blackberry - Who knows why anyone in there right mind would use this device (3 Minute Startup Time)

Palm: Do you not remember the Palm Pilot days.

Microsoft got very lazy with windows mobile period.

XDA was all about Windows Mobile before your Apple was thought of and Android.

Get your facts straight before posting Bullsh*t.

Microsoft dropped the ball, Apple picked it up,

I use android on my Galaxy Tablet & Windows Phone 7 on my TMOUS HD2 - (Plug For DaG, DFT Team)

I have used Iphone, Ipad, .....

I have sold cellulr phones over the last 10 years, probably more,

I'm talking back when Siemens was still making phones (Siemens SX56....)
Sony Ericsson P800, etc.

FAILED? Rethink your post?

TeflonDonInc said,
@tanjiajun_34

Really, Every phone OS except Apple has failed ?

Do you realize how long Windows Mobile was around.

Windows Mobile was winning long before the Iphone was though off.

Blackberry - Who knows why anyone in there right mind would use this device (3 Minute Startup Time)

Palm: Do you not remember the Palm Pilot days.

Microsoft got very lazy with windows mobile period.

XDA was all about Windows Mobile before your Apple was thought of and Android.

Get your facts straight before posting Bullsh*t.

Microsoft dropped the ball, Apple picked it up,

I use android on my Galaxy Tablet & Windows Phone 7 on my TMOUS HD2 - (Plug For DaG, DFT Team)

I have used Iphone, Ipad, .....

I have sold cellulr phones over the last 10 years, probably more,

I'm talking back when Siemens was still making phones (Siemens SX56....)
Sony Ericsson P800, etc.

FAILED? Rethink your post?

Ermm I am talking about now and not about the past. In the past everyone uses their own OS so its fine. But after iOS pop out, phone manufacturer like HTC began to use other people's OS. Like HTC, they just use Windows and Android. Why not use Nokia's Symbian, because they are phone manufacturers as well. Like rivals. Of cos they will not be so dumb to use their rivals OS so they supported Microsoft and Google since they are not making any phones (or much phones.... Kin....), so its ok to support them. That is why people will use Android or WP7. Who will care about Motorola new OS?

I hope I make this clearer now. Also use the reply button.

Edited by tanjiajun_34, Mar 24 2011, 4:34pm :

Android only helped pull Moto from the grave, I agree its completely horrible to use Android.

Lets see the phone companies make NOTHING from Apple and they are rolling in dolo from Windows Phone 7, sounds about right.

/punches_own_crotch

IMHO the quote: "They need options, just in case. Nobody wants to rely on a single supplier,'' could turn out to be a pretty accurate explanation... from a purely biz point of view I could see them wanting to explore a "plan B", if for no other reason than seeing *IF* they had potential alternatives. And if nothing else it could a) lead to something only they could offer customers while still running Android, & b) possibly lead to MS making them a better offer than they would have otherwise.

So far except Apple, all phone manufacturer who created a phone OS failed. I guess other phone manufacturer don't want to support them so avoid using it. Microsoft and Google is not targeting them so supporting it is ok.

tanjiajun_34 said,
So far except Apple, all phone manufacturer who created a phone OS failed. I guess other phone manufacturer don't want to support them so avoid using it. Microsoft and Google is not targeting them so supporting it is ok.

Samsung Bada & Windows Phone 7 have not failed, just because they don't have the same market share as Android or iOS.

tanjiajun_34 said,
So far except Apple, all phone manufacturer who created a phone OS failed. I guess other phone manufacturer don't want to support them so avoid using it. Microsoft and Google is not targeting them so supporting it is ok.

I think Android's market stats may disagree with you there pal

Subject Delta said,

I think Android's market stats may disagree with you there pal

He said all phone manufacturer. Neither Microsoft nor Google manufacture phones. His point stands.

tanjiajun_34 said,
So far except Apple, all phone manufacturer who created a phone OS failed. I guess other phone manufacturer don't want to support them so avoid using it. Microsoft and Google is not targeting them so supporting it is ok.

android > apple any day. iPhone has been out for how long? and they finally released one that could actually multitask.. I'd say that is pretty fail, not to mention the cost of everything apple creates.

Jarrichvdv said,

Samsung Bada & Windows Phone 7 have not failed, just because they don't have the same market share as Android or iOS.
I don't see much success in Bada yet.

Why does everyone thinks I support Apple!!!.....
"all phone manufacturer who created a phone OS failed."

Microsoft (lets exclude Kin) and Google are not phone manufacturer!!!!

tanjiajun_34 said,
....

RIM have a successful moble platform. Just because it was recently eclipsed by the android platform doesn't put it out of the running just yet.

dotf said,

RIM have a successful moble platform. Just because it was recently eclipsed by the android platform doesn't put it out of the running just yet.
I am talking about NOW... You can call Symbian a successful mobile platform now too based on your words.

If they do this, I see them forking the Android source, creating their own apps to replace the core Google provided apps and aligning themselves with the Amazon market. I think (hope) they're smart enough to realize that they can't generate enough momentum to have their own viable app store. Most people would consider them 3rd tier (behind Samsung and HTC) and some might even put them behind LG.

instant.human said,
What an incredibly awesome and logical idea! Not.
Exactly, it's a horrible idea, which makes one wonder why the idiot that wrote the Information Weekly article come to this conclusion when he even states that an alternate logical conclusion is that they are just hiring better developers to re-write their POS launcher known as Motoblur. So what is more likely, this elaborate plan to create their own OS that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and would by all accounts fail? Or that they are trying to do a better job of customizing and differentiating themselves from companies like Samsung and HTC by providing a better user experience within the already widely popular and accepted Android platform? Where has everybody's common sense gone?

How is Android as an operating system profitable for an OEM? Surely there would be less profit involved if a company had to pay staff to roll their own?

Is it possible that Motorola have decided to take the lead on developing Symbian further?

Majesticmerc said,

Is it possible that Motorola have decided to take the lead on developing Symbian further?
It wouldn't be in-house then, so I don't think so. ;-)

Majesticmerc said,
How is Android as an operating system profitable for an OEM? Surely there would be less profit involved if a company had to pay staff to roll their own?

I assume you're asking how Android is NOT profitable for an OEM since it isn't developed in house? If so, my reply applies else I'm not sure it will be in context.

Android as a base OS is free and is cheaper than rolling your own or paying a company like Microsoft to roll one for you, but there are some gotchas. With the OS being free and OEMs all wanting to not look the same (differentiation is key for the OEM) then you do have to pay for in house development.

OEMs like Motorola and HTC has to spend loads of money customizing Android to stand out. As such, it isn't totally free...

If those customization costs are as high as rolling your own or picking up a competing OS then you can understand why it isn't profitable.

Frazell Thomas said,

I assume you're asking how Android is NOT profitable for an OEM since it isn't developed in house? If so, my reply applies else I'm not sure it will be in context.

Android as a base OS is free and is cheaper than rolling your own or paying a company like Microsoft to roll one for you, but there are some gotchas. With the OS being free and OEMs all wanting to not look the same (differentiation is key for the OEM) then you do have to pay for in house development.

OEMs like Motorola and HTC has to spend loads of money customizing Android to stand out. As such, it isn't totally free...

If those customization costs are as high as rolling your own or picking up a competing OS then you can understand why it isn't profitable.


Here's the thing, with everyone creating their own customized layers (called Launchers) no one is using the vanilla stock version of the OS. On top of that, the custom launchers can often times hurt a company's position due to how bad it is. Case in point would be the Motorola Atrix. It's running the most current version of Motoblur but is almost universally panned by critics for being sluggish and unintuitive.

It's completely illogical for Motorola response to this problem to create a new OS, what is infinitely more logical is that they brought in a new development team to fill their obvious deficiency. Hence why I feel this article and all those that have been written in response to IW's original article are completely bunk.

nubs said,

Here's the thing, with everyone creating their own customized layers (called Launchers) no one is using the vanilla stock version of the OS. On top of that, the custom launchers can often times hurt a company's position due to how bad it is. Case in point would be the Motorola Atrix. It's running the most current version of Motoblur but is almost universally panned by critics for being sluggish and unintuitive.

It's completely illogical for Motorola response to this problem to create a new OS, what is infinitely more logical is that they brought in a new development team to fill their obvious deficiency. Hence why I feel this article and all those that have been written in response to IW's original article are completely bunk.

Yes that was what I was hinting at. Android requires all this customization by OEMs (so they don't commoditize their product) and as such costs a lot of money for them.

Motorola is saying that the costs of customizing Android exceed the cost of developing their own. That might be a road worth going down if Android falls apart (starts loosing OEM support en masse).

Frazell Thomas said,

I assume you're asking how Android is NOT profitable for an OEM since it isn't developed in house? If so, my reply applies else I'm not sure it will be in context.

Android as a base OS is free and is cheaper than rolling your own or paying a company like Microsoft to roll one for you, but there are some gotchas. With the OS being free and OEMs all wanting to not look the same (differentiation is key for the OEM) then you do have to pay for in house development.

OEMs like Motorola and HTC has to spend loads of money customizing Android to stand out. As such, it isn't totally free...

If those customization costs are as high as rolling your own or picking up a competing OS then you can understand why it isn't profitable.

It is not just the customizations to make it stand out, the OEMs have to dump a lot of development time and money just in getting it running on their specific phone. This includes new code for features and drivers specific to their phone, and then optimizing them and keeping them stable with base OS code they obtain from Google.

This is almost as much work as developing their own OS based on OSS technologies, and also requires the same amount of work for each phone they create becaue of Android's OS model. A more flexible OS model would at least allow them to build a base OS that doesn't require the coding and tweaking for each phone they build.

Frazell Thomas said,

Yes that was what I was hinting at. Android requires all this customization by OEMs (so they don't commoditize their product) and as such costs a lot of money for them.

Motorola is saying that the costs of customizing Android exceed the cost of developing their own. That might be a road worth going down if Android falls apart (starts loosing OEM support en masse).


Interesting. But even if development costs exceed that of creating their own then there is a problem with their model. XDA developers do it with zero budget and I am positive that many of them are looking for jobs. And let's be real here, no one ever purchased a moto phone for Motoblur, perhaps they need to rethink their strategy and stop customizing their launchers. My favorite Motorola devices were the original Droid and the Xoom; both of which use Vanilla Android.

Who knows what they'll do. But phones are always-connected devices, they could use the web to power the apps, and then any cross-platform issues are resolved. Google have said they want the majority of apps as web apps within 5 years, so it's going that way anyway.

If they can make a killer web experience OS that works great with their hardware they could do really well. And assuming this takes a year or two to get to market, they wouldn't be TOO early either.

Hang on... MOTO had their own Mobile OS... and they dumped it... so now they're going back to creating another one. OK so this might be a little different and for more than mobile phones but... history repeats itself!

LETS ALL MAKE A PHONE OS! - seriously motorola? can you really afford to do this properly? Your track record hasn't been all that great even though you do own some very good wireless technologies I don't think they really need to be doing this

Teebor said,
LETS ALL MAKE A PHONE OS! - seriously motorola? can you really afford to do this properly? Your track record hasn't been all that great even though you do own some very good wireless technologies I don't think they really need to be doing this

You do realize they were writing Phone OSes when Cell Phones were the size of a large brick? I think they could probably pull off anything if they commit to it.

Besides, they could do like Google did, and pick up an OSS kernel, buy a VM technology, write a few crap apps and slap their name on it. You do realize that Google didn't write Android, right? Go look it up...

This unfortunately has Nokia written all over it. There was a time when Nokia's OS and Symbian were the friendliest and nicest OS' to use. Those times are long gone and it seems the only OS' anyone is really interested in are, iOS, Android, WP7 & BlackBerry OS. Even webOS isn't coming close to the popularity of the top 4. IMO, they'll only be wasting their money trying to develop something that will probably, inevitably fail.

Zoom7000 said,
This unfortunately has Nokia written all over it. There was a time when Nokia's OS and Symbian were the friendliest and nicest OS' to use. Those times are long gone and it seems the only OS' anyone is really interested in are, iOS, Android, WP7 & BlackBerry OS. Even webOS isn't coming close to the popularity of the top 4. IMO, they'll only be wasting their money trying to develop something that will probably, inevitably fail.

You can scrap WP7, it nowhere, and won't be, near iOS and Android (there are at least 1000 defferent Android smartphones ,just look at "iPhone clones in china). No one want to build a WP7 except those initial 4 OEMs and Nokia which was bought.Even those 4 are reluctant to manufactor new devices (how many new WP7 were out since the initial 10 compaired to new Androids for the same period ? )