Motorola has made a move to take temporary control of Google’s Android platform in China while the search engine giant remains in dispute with the Chinese government. Reuters reports that Motorola is to provide an Android application store that it will offer on its own phones and to rival handset makers, which can obtain licenses to offer the store. Christy Wyatt, Motorola’s vice president for software and services, said the firm was “anxious to see the outcome” of the Google dispute but noted that – as Android is open source – the handset vendor is free to offer its own services on it. Motorola is also switching the search engine on its Chinese phones from Google to local provider, Baidu. The news has eased investor concerns that the dispute would hurt Motorola in China, where it is heavily dependent on the Android platform. “It takes away the risk that Motorola’s success in China is 100 percent tied to Google,” said Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt. Google is threatening to shut down the local version of its search engine if the Chinese government continues with its policy of censoring the service. Another Chinese Android vendor – Lenovo – also said this week that its business will not be affected by the issue.
Motorola’s Wyatt declined to comment on Google’s announcement earlier this week that it has postponed two Android phones – one of which is a Motorola device – for China Unicom. However, a Motorola statement included a China Unicom comment, which hinted that the launch of the delayed phone was imminent. Motorola added that its new Android store – known as ‘SHOP4APPS’ – would be available for new smartphones in China in time for the Chinese New Year, which starts on 14 February.