Feb 28 AT 8:50 PM Taylor Wimberly 22 Comments

Motorola to become a more software-centric company, offer webtop application on all high-end smartphones

Motorola’s webtop application, which turns a smartphone into a desktop-like PC experience, will be coming to their entire high-end smartphone portfolio in the second half of this year, according to a presentation by CEO Sanjay Jha at a Morgan Stanley technology conference this week.

Jha pointed out a number of acquisitions and license agreements that his company had made to enhance the overall software experience of their devices. Motorola recently acquired 3LM to augment Android’s enterprise security features, took over Zecter to supply integrated cloud storage and streaming services, and snagged Aloqa to deliver location-based content.

“What we are looking to do is make small acquisitions which differentiate us in the market or create new opportunity,” said Jha.

The handset maker’s new strategy is to transform into more of a software focused company and the webtop app will be a focal point going forward. Jha said, “We are trying to change the culture at Motorola to become a much more software-centric culture. One of the ways to do that is to bring entrepreneurial people with software skills into the company.”

The webtop application has so far been exclusive to the Atrix 4G, but that was described as mainly a timing issue. Jha explained that there were optimizations in their webtop app that were specific to NVIDIA’s graphics processor inside the Tegra 2, but work had already begun to port webtop to other platforms like TI’s OMAP4 with its PowerVR GPU.

Specific details about the future of the webtop application were scarce. Jha said that the full desktop Firefox browser would be upgraded to version 4 later this year, but he did not shed much light on other new features. I’d love to see Motorola support other apps and alternative browsers like Google’s Chrome, but we will have to wait and see what they add next.

Webtop is still pretty limited in what it can do right now, but I think it has potential long term. The web-browsing performance is acceptable when compared to a netbook and later this year we will have faster quad-core preprocessors which should deliver the desktop performance that consumers want.

What direction would you like to see Motorola take their webtop app next?

Via: Engadget

Source: Bloomberg

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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  • Noice

    Meh… software centric business model from a long-standing provider of hardware and comodity components is a bit asinine honestly.

    I like the notion of the “carry it everywhere and can do it all” device, but it’s going to be ‘years’ before this may show promise (outside of gadgetdom).

    The atrix is a nice phone, ruined entirely by the software on it. If it were stock gingerbread it would be by-far the finest phone on the market (including the upcoming releases).

  • http://Website Lucian Armasu

    Why keep Webtop alive now that they have Honeycomb? Linux for ARM doesn’t have many more useful apps than Android, and the browser in Android is good enough for “laptop mode”. They should just switch to the Honeycomb UI when the phone is docked, and basically keep the same underlying OS. It’s just the UI that adapts (perhaps in the future they could make it so it switches to the Google TV UI on TV’s, too).

    Anyway it makes mure more sense like this, instead of using 2 OS’s on a still rather weak mobile chip and having bad performance, and I see Android quickly becoming much more useful than an ARM version of Linux. Google should support this if they really want to take on Microsoft, even on laptops. Android still has a much better chance to do it than Chrome OS does, and I think they know what, which is why they designed Honeycomb to have a more desktop like look.

    • http://Website 2C

      Well said…couldn’t agree with you more.

  • http://Website Mark


  • http://Website Chubbs

    This is the worst thing Motorola could do. Motorola, stick to making great hardware and let Google handle the software side. Unless they start shipping phones with unlocked or unlockable bootloaders, i will never buy a Motorola phone again. Plain and simple.

  • http://Website dagamer34

    Ditch webtop and stick in ChromeOS.

    • http://Website Xallies

      Yes but at least implement that cool phone interface

  • Drew

    I wonder if they’ll make their Webtop OS more Blur like?

  • http://www.androiduipatterns.com/ Juhani

    I hate desktop OSes. Linux, Windows OSX. All of them. I don’t want to see my mobile phone moving into that direction. Why don’t they just use Android 3.0 with the fragments API to crete the desktop UI. It would keep it simple. There’s no need for full firefox.. we have FF (and many other browsers) in Android. Let’s just use them.

    • http://techloaded.com Dave

      Yes I agree, stick to making the best hardware out there and let Google take care of the software.

  • http://asurroca.com Alfonso Surroca

    I’m really beginning to hope that ChromeOS is little more than a Trojan Horse into the desktop OS realm, and that Android will eventually encompass desktops as well (by the time touch screens become prevalent on all computers, which isn’t far off).

    For me, all I need is Adobe’s suite of software and an OS that doesn’t treat me like a kid, and I’m set. With ARM processors obviously headed toward laptops, and Windows 8 coming to ARM processors, I see no reason for Android not to start a desktop OS fork once Honeycomb and Gingerbread have merged back into one later this year.

  • http://Website jay

    please motorola stick to hardware because motoblur looks like crap when compared to htc sense . let google do software please . do not ruin it for yourself

  • http://Website mark

    I pledge not to buy a Motorola phone until they learn to stop locking it down so much and to give their phones stock Android.

    With HTC, although they do lock the bootloader, they don’t encrypt the bootloader like Motorola does.

  • http://Website Craig

    Motorola should make this an OPTIONAL application that can be installed on a vanilla Android smartphone. More choice usually means more potential customers.

    Customers who don’t need webtop could receive new Android releases much more quickly, since they wouldn’t have to wait for Motorola to upgrade it to work on the new OS release.

  • http://www.canadadatarecovery.ca Solarius

    Dear software-centric Motorola,
    Please finally update our Milestone A853 (Canada) to Android 2.2.
    Thank you.

    P.S. Motorola is so gay.

  • http://Website Abe504

    Until they put a real tested version of linux on this like Federa, Solaris, SUSE, or windows 7 that actually functions like a real computer that can do real work with apps as a bonus then it will fail.

    Motorola sofware just sucks badly, whoever who came up with there version of android should be fired. They will never in a million years be a good software company.

  • http://androidapps.co.il Droi

    Motorola still didn’t upgraded her some of her smartphones (milestone) to android 2.2!!! why should we trust them with a new one?

  • http://Website phonegeek

    Send some tmobiles way an we have a deal, just make sure its a super smartphone and not a mediocre smart phone. I actually figured they would be doing such. Hopefully the other cell phone manufactuers catch on! Good show moto!!

  • http://www.3dnews.ru eugenemal

    Motorola, please, Unlock the bootloaders!

  • http://Website caepha

    good idea, would work in theory. but there are MUCH better ways of executing it out there. if there’s one thing that’s obvious, its that an OS that is from ONE manufacturer has a very low chance of success, because it has the support of the community of that one manufacturer. the reason android has flourished so well is because of how many devices it is on, and how much of a community it has gathered. so for the most part, an app for one android phone will work for another. this is why using honnycomb would make so much more sense for this situation because it has the support of apps from the tablet community as well as people who buy into this webtop idea.