Motorola has reaffirmed plans to focus on Google’s Android platform as it attempts to spearhead a recovery in its handsets division. Speaking on the company’s 2Q09 earnings call yesterday, co-CEO Sanjay Jha said the vendor was on track to launch two new Android-based phones in time for the holiday season, and plans to release more in the first quarter of 2010. “[The new Android-based phones] will get us back in the game in smartphones,” he said. He added that Motorola already has deals in place with two major US mobile operators to carry the devices, “with more to follow.” According to reports, Sprint is one likely customer. The new phones will include both smartphones and feature phones, Jha said. The company’s ailing handset division showed slight signs of recovery in 2Q. The firm shipped 14.8 million handsets in the quarter, giving it an estimated 5.5 percent market share. This was down from 28.1 million (9.1 percent share) a year earlier but a slight improvement on the 14.7 million (6 percent share) in the previous quarter. The GAAP operating loss at the handset unit also showed improvement. The US$253 million loss compared to an operating loss of US$346 million in the year-ago quarter and US$509 million in 1Q09. “Supply chain and inventories management has been improved and its new portfolio of Android-based smartphones will challenge its competitors,” commented Wireless Intelligence analyst Joss Gillet. “The task won’t be easy and we will have to wait until early next year to measure results, but in the meantime Motorola is making its stakeholders hold their breath.”

At a group level, one-time gains (including a legal settlement) helped Motorola post net income of US$26 million overall, compared with US$4 million a year ago, on total sales of US$5.5 billion, which fell 32 percent. Total cash at the end of the second-quarter was US$6.5 billion, an increase of US$360 million compared to the end of the first quarter. In its other divisions, ‘Home and Networks Mobility’ segment sales were US$2 billion, down 27 percent year-on-year, and ‘Enterprise Mobility Solutions’ segment sales were US$1.7 billion, down 17 percent . However, the results beat most expectations and Motorola’s share price rose yesterday with many analysts suggesting that the benefits of the company’s wide-ranging cost cutting programme are beginning to be seen. Cost-cutting was evident in a 26 percent reduction in the firm’s R&D expenses, which dropped to US$775 million in 2Q09.