Manufacturers hedge their bets with Android, WP7 support

by Kristen Nicole

Favoritism is an expected outcome of the Google-Motorola deal, leaving many to question whether or not Google will give Motorola early or specialized access to Android updates, sparking an even more competitive stance amongst handset manufactures and even driving some to competing mobile OS’s. But HTC has stated that it plans to stick with Android, and continue its string of acquisitions that’s strengthened its patent portfolio against lawsuits from Apple and Microsoft.

It’s been months since we last heard any major developments regarding HTC’s plans to build its own mobile OS, and this was further softened by CEO Peter Chou in a recent interview. "I think there's a lot we can do...it's not the operating system, it's the ecosystem...so we think we can find a way to differentiate to add value, but at the same time leverage our partners, Google and Microsoft, since we have such a great relationship with them," Chou told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview at the company's headquarters.

Serving two masters

HTC isn’t the only gadget maker splitting the fence on device manufacturing, as Dell, which deadpooled the Streak 5 tablet earlier this week, also lends its support to both Android and Windows Phone 7. Motorola, too, had been actively interested in WP7 devices just days prior to the acquisition news, reconsidering Microsoft’s mobile platform six months after declaring its exclusive commitment to Android. Samsung, of course, serves two masters as it provides parts for Apple handsets while also manufacturing a large percentage of Android devices currently on the market.

With the Google-Motorola deal, the mobile scene certainly gets even more competitive, and many see opportunities for Android rivals including iOS and WP7. One area things could worsen before getting better is in patent court. Google takes in tens of thousands more patents by acquiring Motorola Mobility, though some believe this won’t keep Apple from taking Google to court. It’s a buffer, sure, but RBC analyst Mike Abramsky thinks it also opens doors for more cross-patent licensing negotiations, which seems to be the ongoing tactic for both Apple and Microsoft against manufacturers in particular.