Yesterday’s news struck me as kind of odd, yet totally unsurprising. According to a report from InformationWeek, Motorola is working on its own web-based operating system. It seemed odd, because Motorola has been such a prominent Android partner. Yet it seemed unsurprising, because ti’s natural for a company to seek its own solutions. Motorola, which, as a mobile division, recently spun off from the main company, does have reasons to seek alternatives to Android, if for no other reason than to provide a plan B. But how far are they going to take the idea of a new operating system? The idea, as InformationWeek reports it, sounds much like Palm’s webOS. In one way that has been a popular platform, in that the people who have used it have enjoyed it. In another, more market-oriented, way, it has been something of a failure. The two devices which feature webOS, the Palm Pre and the Palm Pixi, haven’t sold well in comparison to other mobile devices. Anecdotally, I know more than a handful of people who had Palm Pres, liked them well enough, but have recently switched to Android. If that doesn’t discourage Motorola, perhaps the immense amount of work that goes into building a usable OS might. Of course, we don’t know how long they’ve been developing this project, and web-based OS should prove a bit easier than a Linux-based one. But is that something that it can feel comfortable putting on its phones, even while Android continues to grow in popularity? The most likely explanation is that this project is more Motorola hedging than anything. There is, after all, Oracle’s suit against Google. If Motorola believes that has any credibility, it might want to create a backup plan. The content from the InformationWeek article make it seem as such. If something goes wrong with Android, whether that means Motorola’s partnership with the platform or with Android itself, it makes sense that Motorola would want to have a quick alternative. Motorola has been one of Android’s most prominent partners. Its handset, the original Droid, helped kickstart Android into the mainstream. The company has been cranking out device after device lately, both smartphones and tablets, featuring the Android OS. There probably aren’t plans to abandon it now. But if it has any issues with Android — and the article does suggest that Motorola has concerns — it makes sense to develop its own OS. And since a web-based OS is the most practical, that appears to be just what Motorola is doing. I wouldn’t read too much into this as it directly involves Android, though. Both parties benefit from one another. Motorola is just making plans in case something happens with the other party.
Would Motorola’s OS compete with Android?
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