Oct 14 AT 2:45 PM Taylor Wimberly 36 Comments

What happened to the Motorola Sholes and Android 2.0?

Warning: This post is filled with rumors, speculation, and under-the-table information. Read at your own risk.

The battle rages on between the number of code names and the number of leaks for Motorola’s second Android phone. If you have seen any of the rumors about the Motorola Sholes floating around the web, chances are they came from this blog. One might think we could predict when this phone would appear, but Motorola has left us absolutely clueless.

We first expected to see this phone announced back on September 10, 2009 at Mobilize 09. Motorola went on to unveil the Cliq and MotoBlur UI, but there was no mention of Sholes.

Several weeks later I received an early press document which stated the Sholes would make an official appearance on October 7, 2009 at CTIA. Google and Verizon announced they were working on Android phones, but Motorola kept its lips tight during their Motodev Summit.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam was actually pictured by the Associated Press holding the secret Motorola phone, but the photos were later removed.

The Sholes phone was demoed at CTIA behind closed doors, but once again nothing was announced.

Now that two major press events have come and gone with no official information, where does this leave the Sholes launch date? Motorola has repeatedly stated they would release a second Android phone in 2009 and even said the device was “on track” at their Motodev Summit.

Will the Sholes launch October 30, December 1, or in 2010?

The most popular rumor is still claiming that Verizon will launch the Motorola Sholes on October 30, 2009. At this point I guess anything is possible, but I am not holding my breath. If Verizon was really shipping the phone this month, why not announce it at their press conference with Google? CTIA was a huge stage for new phone announcements and Motorola decided to stay quiet for unknown reasons.

I understand some reliable tipsters are swearing by the October 30 date, but things change quickly in this industry. I had my own information saying the phone would be unveiled at CTIA and ship December 1 and that didn’t happen.

Until we see something posted on the official Motorola website, consider all release dates FUD.

Will the Sholes ship with Android 2.0?

Regular readers of the site know we have been reporting that Sholes would be the first phone with Android 2.0. The demo units that exist are running the Eclair build of Android, which is widely believed to be branded Android 2.0. However, we have learned in the past that the point releases assigned to Android builds are really just marketing speak.

At the end of the day, Google will decide if this phone gets stamped Android 2.0 or not. I’m certain Sholes will ship with Eclair and we will have to wait and see what version they call it.

Other handset makers (Samsung) told us not to expect Android 2.0 till Q2 2010, but I believe Motorola has an exclusive deal with Google. We learned at the Motodev Summit that Motorola has dedicated employees who are assigned to working with Google engineers on the next release of Android.

Will the Sholes feature MotoBlur?

All of the demo Sholes units I have seen were without MotoBlur. I asked Motorola if we should expect to see MotoBlur on all their Android phones and they said that was their intention. However, they did mention that certain carriers would be customizing the phones and we could see some devices without MotoBlur.

If you consider that this device will be the flagship phone for Android 2.0, then maybe Google and Verizon might decide to leave out MotoBlur.

What are the most likely scenarios for launching the Sholes?

Who knows what Motorola is actually planning, but I see three possible scenarios for Sholes.

  1. Motorola ships Sholes in 2009 with Android 2.0
  2. Motorola ships Sholes in 2009 without Android 2.0
  3. Motorola ships Sholes in 2010 with Android 2.0

Number 1 was our original prediction and the most likely scenario. I believe the hardware is finished and Google has the ability to use the Android 2.0 name whenever they choose.

Number 2 could happen if Google decides the software is not finished in time for the holidays. The Sholes would ship with Eclair, but lack the Android 2.0 branding. We know there are multiple versions of the Sholes (without keyboard) in the works, so Android 2.0 could be saved for a future Motorola phone.

Number 3 is the least likely to happen. Motorola told us the phone was on track and I expect to see it before the holidays.

What does the community think?

Our readers voted the Motorola Sholes as the most desired phone, but has the lack of official information changed your mind? There are multiple 1 GHz Android phones slated for the first half of 2010 which could encourage customers to hold out a little longer. We are also eagerly waiting to see if Verizon will cripple Android in any way.

Are you saving up your cash to purchase the Motorola Sholes the day it becomes available?

Are we completely missing something? Tip us on news.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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