Jul 30 AT 11:25 PM Taylor Wimberly 22 Comments

Motorola to unveil Android phones in September for Verizon and T-Mobile

The stakes are high for Motorola.  Many people have questioned if their bet on Android can turn the company around.  I’m no Wall Street analyst, but I’m here to tell you the answer is yes.

Imagine the following scenario:  Verizon, America’s largest wireless carrier, releases Motorola’s first Android phone (based on the Snapdragon platform) just in time for the crucial holiday shopping season.  Would that get you excited?

Images of the Moto "Sholes" leaked this week.

Images of the Moto "Sholes" leaked this week.

It might sound far fetched, but it is closer to reality than you think.  Motorola has told everyone they are making Android phones, but have been very tight lipped about the actual handsets.  Reports had placed the rumored Motorola Calgary as Verizon’s first Android phone, but it was unclear on the exact specs or time frame of the device.

The picture got a little clearer today when new images of the Motorola “Sholes” were leaked by a Russian fan site.  The design is an updated version of the Calgary renders we saw and now has the Verizon logo clearly displayed on the front.  The specs were impressive, but conveniently left out the CPU.

Highlight of the Motorola “Sholes” include:

  • 3.7-inch touch-sensitive display with a resolution 480×854 pixels
  • Memory 512 MB Flash ROM / 256 MB RAM / micro SDHC slot
  • Camera 5 MP with auto focus
  • Dimensions 60.00 x 115.80 x 13.70 mm
  • Weight 169g
  • Battery Li-ion 1400mAh
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • 802.11g WiFi

Expect more details of the phone soon.  Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha said on Thursday’s quarterly earnings call that we would see their first devices soon.  “Around mid september time frame, we hope to be able to let you play with these (Android) devices more and get your feedback as to where you think it fits into the marketplace.

Mr. Jha made it clear the phones will go on sale in the 4th quarter.  “We will have two Android devices in stores for the holiday season. We have deals that are signed and we will launch with two major carriers in North America and multiple carriers outside the US.

All signs point to Verizon launching the Motorola “Sholes” and T-Mobile offering the Motorola Morrison.  It is clear the “Sholes” is the higher end device and it could be Android’s flagship phone for 2009.  Verizon has been trying to get their hands on the iPhone, but it won’t be happening anytime soon.  The “Sholes” is Verizon’s best opportunity to have a device that directly competes with Apple.

There are hints floating around that suggest “Sholes” could provide real hype for Verizon.

Why was the CPU info mysteriously left off the leaked specs of “Sholes”?  Could it be that the phone will be based off the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform?  This would provide the needed fire power to speed up Android.  We know a CPU bump is coming after getting four Android phones in a row with the older Qualcomm MSM72xx processor.  The Snapdragon platform, with a 1 GHz CPU, is the next logical step for Android.

Before recently joining Motorola as its new CEO, Sanjay Jha spent over a decade working at Qualcomm.  He led and oversaw the development of five generations of modem and cell site chipsets, before becoming COO of Qualcomm.  I believe Mr. Jha has been so secretive about Motorola’s handset design because they have a big surprise for us.

We have seen Windows Mobile phones (Toshiba TG01) based off Snapdragon already pass the FCC.  Is it that hard to believe Motorola will unveil a 1 GHz Android phone?  They need to make an impression with their first Android device and I believe it will be the Snapdragon platform.

The possible addition of the Android 2.0 stamp could add even more momentum to Motorola’s first Android phone.  As we have learned over the last month, Android 2.0 is just marketing fluff and Google can whip it out whenever they choose.  Who knows if the Donut branch will even be a release.  Google could choose to hold off their next update to include new features being worked on in Eclair and Flan.

All of these Android releases are carefully coordinated between Google, the carriers, and the handset manufacturers.  Google could have promised Verizon the Android 2.0 moniker to launch their first phone.  This may explain why they stopped updating their roadmap if marketing deals are still being done behind closed doors.

All we can do is wait till September as the speculation builds.  What do you think Motorola has up their sleeve?

Update 7/31:  Motorola could preview their upcoming devices at the Mobilize 09 event on September 10, 2009.  The keynote lineup includes Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha and T-Mobile CTO Cole Brodman.  Qualcomm COO Len Lauer is also on the speaker lineup.  That sounds like an event I would like to attend.

The Motorola Sholes could be this years flagship Android phone.

The Motorola Sholes could be this years flagship Android phone.

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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  • http://yellowrex.com William Furr

    That’s a very nice looking phone, but I refuse to buy anything from Motorola so long as they support apartheid in Israel.


    Hopefully another manufacturer will step up with a Snapdragon-based Android phone. I’m considering doing a factory reset on my G1 or looking into third-party ROMs for speed, as mine feels like it’s gotten progressively more sluggish.

    What is battery life like with a powerful processor like Snapdragon?

    • http://Website(optional) Fred A

      I would definitely buy this phone now that I know it was developed by Israeli R&D.

    • Michael Rowles

      Would this phone be coming to Australia if so please for the love of good any one but testra

  • cmb

    What? You are not going to uy something made in israel?? That’s silly of you, maybe you should grow up a little.

    On another note that’s a great looking phone can’t wait to see it come to tmo :)

  • ranwanimator

    Listen to me now and hear me later. Verizon will find a way to cripple Android for their own monetary reasons. They have a great network, no doubt, but I hated being charged for every single living thing under the sun. I doubt they will give up their proprietary garbage market so easily.

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  • http://www.Cool3stNERD.com Justin Robinson

    WHY IS TMOBILE DOING THIS… taking all the low wnd android phones… I might have to leave tmobile gor verizon is the Sholes is good enough…. I enjoy android but i want a phone that can run it like any other phone runs their software… NOT LAGGY… Tmobile is taking all the Cheap Stuff, Letting the Good phones wander into enemy territory…

    • http://www.Cool3stNERD.com Justin Robinson

      Sorry bout the typos… i’m in a rush… lol gotta start work… lol

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      I’m not so sure the Morrison/Cliq is a low end phone. We do not have any official specs on the device yet.

  • D

    The processor is TI’s OMAP 3430 (Same as the Palm Pre)

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  • Jules

    Ouch, please don’t go flipping pictures around. I was confused as hell at first: “wait, there are keyboards on both sides?”

  • http://thatshallowfellow.wordpress.com/ Drew

    I’m excited by the possibility of finally getting an Android phone… but scared as all heck that Verizon will get it’s garish branding and hooks into the OS somehow so as to cripple all its best and most potentially innovative features. Why can’t they see the value in marketing a truly open phone, as opposed to one burdened by their clunky junk?

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  • Dave

    Will it have real GPS?

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  • anon

    hey i work for the company thats getting teh CLIQ… if youre savy then u know who… this device is OMGAMAZING i work tech support and we got to play with it for a while, about 6 hours, picking it apart and generally learning it totally, and the SHOLES will blow it away so trust me when i say stick with verizon, you will be very pleased, Moto is giving them the better device by far the G1 was the big hit and now its gonna be a clash of the titans between CLIQ and SHOLES both on the Andriod market, and very similar to the G1 but very much improved, 5 widgets screens, and the coolest features youve ever seen. completely customizable in everyway, and brings myspace,facebook, and any other social net together in one interface for the user, plus the ability to wipe the info off your phone if it gets stolen, and restore on a new device after replacement. YOU WILL BE BLOWN AWAY AT SHOWTIME 2009, KEEP YOUR EYES ON TMOBILE AND VERIZON ITS GONNA BE A GREAT COMPETITION

  • http://Website Teo

    looks like a droid to me