Motorola to build the Next Nexus One

Matt Bowman · January 28, 2010 · Short URL:

The handset maker is working with Google to make a direct-to-consumer device

 As the intoxicating wow-power of the iPad wears off, tech geeks will be looking for the next wundergaget to feed their appetite for ecstasy. The next high might come from Motorola, which announced on a conference call with analysts Thursday that it plans to produce a direct-to-consumer Google phone this year. The model would be similar to the Nexus One in that it will not be tethered to a single carrier.

The quick death of the tech world’s fixation with the Nexus One points to the fact that Google/ HTC just can’t oust Apple when it comes to mobile hardware or software design. Google’s competitive advantage in the smartphone market will NOT be the coolness of its devices or of its OS, but the openness of its OS, which will eventually give it the same edge that Microsoft had with PCs: ubiquity.

That’s why Motorola’s announcement is great news for Google.

Motorola has done well so far with Android. It sold 2 million Android-powered smartphones, including the much-hyped Droid, in the fourth quarter of 2009, beating analyst predictions. That’s pretty good considering Google side-swiped Droid with the even-more-hyped Nexus One.

“Our first Android smartphone devices have been very well received," Sanjay Jha, Motorola co-chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We look forward to broadening our handset portfolio in 2010 with the launch of at least 20 smartphone devices around the world […]"

Last year, Jha cancelled several mobile devices in a bold bet that Android would become Motorola’s ace-in-the-hole. Before Droid, the company’s biggest hit was the Razr, which came out a full five years ago. It’s hungry for a hit, and Google, eager to push its carrier-agnostic device agenda, will likely do everything it can to help.

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