We just received new information that suggest the launch of Android 2.0 might be coming later than we were expecting. I have been reporting that the Motorola Sholes would be the first phone to feature Android 2.0 and that it was widely expected to launch in late October. New documents I have seen now list early December as the launch date for the Motorola Sholes and Android 2.0.
There has been no official release date given for either launch, so I’m not sure if it is fair to call this a delay. I have often wondered how Google could deliver Android 2.0 in its final form by the end of October. I believe the hardware is on track and that the software is the main reason for this new launch window. Google has no public roadmap or deadlines for Android 2.0 and I suspect this was done on purpose to avoid criticism of a delay.
Analysts are concerned about Motorola’s track record of launching phones in the fourth quarter. During the last Motorola earnings call, people were asking what kind of volumes they should expect from the two Android phones that are set to launch this holiday season. Motorola has previously made promises of phones to be launched in Q4 only to see them launched very late in Q4.
Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha responded to the concerns. “With respect to launching devices in fourth quarter, we understand what it takes to launch devices in fourth quarter and when it needs to be launched. And I feel pretty comfortable that we’ll launch devices, so that we will see meaningful volume in fourth quarter. I understand of course that there is a track record that you allude to. We’re very, very focused on making sure that we deliver it in such a way that allows operators the opportunity to get behind the devices again, in a meaningful way.”
Hopefully, Motorola will clear this up tomorrow at their press event. We fully expect to get some hard details on the upcoming T-Mobile Morrison and Verizon Sholes.