There’s no denying that Google’s Android OS effectively saved Motorola from the dredges of smartphone irrelevancy, but with Android now the mobile OS of choice for an inordinate number of handset manufacturers, Motorola is reportedly working on its own homegrown mobile OS to prevent becoming over reliant on Google.
Infoworld is reporting that Motorola has hired a number of seasoned engineers from both Apple and Adobe to create a “possible alternative to Google’s Android software.”
While Motorola didn’t deny the existence of their mobile OS plans, they did reaffirm their interest and commitment to Android.
Over the past nine months, Motorola has been hiring engineering talent that would well-suited to create a new mobile operating system. Its team appears to include a significant number of ex-Apple and Adobe personnel, including Gilles Drieu, VP of software engineering at Motorola Mobility, Benoit Marchant, director of engineering at Motorola Mobility, and Sean Kranzberg, also a director of engineering at Motorola Mobility.
Drieu had previously worked for Apple from 2006 to 2010 where he headed up the company’s rich media and applications group.
The report notes that Motorola’s efforts to create a homegrown mobile OS may be the direct result of the growing number of lawsuits directed at purveyors of the Android OS for patent infringement.
Jonathan Goldberg, an analyst with Deutsche Bank in San Francisco, said that he too had heard Motorola was at work on its own operating system. “I know they’re working on it,” he said in a phone interview. “I think the company recognizes that they need to differentiate and they need options, just in case. Nobody wants to rely on a single supplier.”
How serious Motorola is about this effort remains to be seen, but in the interim, there’s no denying that it’d be foolish for them to abandon Android. Besides, with Windows Phone 7 struggling to stay in the spotlight and no one really interested with HP’s upcoming webOS offerings, the likelihood that a Motorola mobile OS will be of any significance appears to be small.