How the Motorola Droid came to be...Microsoft got the stiff arm

Droid eye
A couple of days ago I speculated that the Motorola Droid was originally a Windows Mobile 7 device before becoming an Android phone. Today I’m going to lay down some of the facts we know thanks to an article posted by the NYtimes a couple of hours ago which sort of confirms what I was thinking:

He wanted to simplify product development to standardize on one or two core systems. It came down to a Microsoft Windows mobile operating system and Android. When Microsoft said that a crucial release of its mobile operating system would be delayed, Mr. Jha gave Microsoft the stiff arm and bet on Android.

Sanjay Jha was actually the first person in the world to publicaly talk about the Windows Mobile 7 delay and mention Windows Mobile 6.5 during a conference call exactly one year ago on November 29 2008:

“Windows Mobile 6 has not delivered the experience that I think Apple has been able to deliver, but as you look at the plan that is Windows Mobile 7 and even 6.5, I think there are significant new added features which will help the platform,” Jha said. “We have now targeted new teams which are focused – in California and Seattle – to deliver experiences. That is where we have to differentiate.”

Motorola was expecting to release a phone based on Windows Mobile 6.5 in the second half of 2009, and an Android-based device for the 2009 holiday season.

NyTimes:

At the same time, Mr. Jha had to pick which microprocessors and radio chips would be at the core of its new line. This forced him to choose between chips made by the division he had run at Qualcomm and a custom design Motorola had been developing with Texas Instruments.

“This was very hard for me,” Mr. Jha said. “I was very strongly associated with the Qualcomm chip.” He spurned his former employer.

Motorola Software Engineers were already working on the TI OMAP3430 for Windows Mobile 7 in 2007/2008 as seen in the following LinkedIn profiles:

“Responsible for the integration of BCM4325 wlan chip on Caesar Platform (OMAP3430) on WM7 as a native host driver.” Source (WM7 has been recently edited to WM)

“Windows Mobile 7 integration on TI chipset platform.” Source

There’s couple more similar LinkedIn profiles but they have since been edited to erase any mention of WM7 (after they were discovered a few weeks ago I guess).

Seeing that Windows Mobile 7 was really late & that WM6.5 wasn’t all that hot, Android was obviously the only way to go for Motorola in regards to marketing and hype (technically nothing was stopping them from releasing it as a WM6.5 phone, same as what HTC is doing with the HD2).

NYtimes:

“Sanjay said ‘Burn the ships and focus on Android,’ ” Mr. Arshad recalled. That meant rearranging the existing, tightly packed interior to accommodate the larger chips needed to connect to Verizon’s network.

This is how what was probably meant to be one of the first WM7 device is now the most powerful Android phone in the market. The latest news from Motorola is that they are still waiting for WM7….Microsoft is the only one to blame IMO.

Source: NYTimes