Motorola (NYSE: MOT) is gearing up to start selling its first two Android-based phones with the help of T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) before the end of the year, reports the WSJ, which quotes unnamed people familiar with the situation. The launches are important to Google (NSDQ: GOOG), which needs more phones by more handset makers by more carriers to give it the publicity boost it needs against Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), which can sell a million phones in a blink of an eye by simply adding video-recording.
The two Motorola Android phones will be in addition to HTC’s myTouch that was announced today by T-Mobile. This is not a big surprise given that Google anticipates up to 20 Android phones being released this year, and because Motorola has said it is leaning heavily on the Android platform to turn around its struggling handset division. Separately, Gizmodo has pictures of what they believe to be Motorola’s long-rumored Android phone called the Morrison. In this case, the phone carries the T-Mobile brand.
While Apple’s approach to the wireless market is to build one phone every year, Google’s approach is much different, which is likely what will make it differentiate itself against the iPhone over time. Google’s operating system is free and will be used by a variety of handset makers, including HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) and others. Some may have keyboards, others may not, and all are allowed to have a different set of software and services to appeal to different niches.
In this case, the Motorola touchscreen device that T-Mobile will sell will come with a slide-out keyboard, and be focused on social networks, including integrated service from Facebook and Twitter, according to the WSJ. Verizon’s version will be similar and also have a touchscreen and slide-out keyboard. A Motorola spokesperson declined to comment.