Motorola developing own web-based mobile OS to reduce Android reliance? [Update: Objective-J?]

Chris Davies - Mar 24, 2011, 1:55 am CDT
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Motorola developing own web-based mobile OS to reduce Android reliance? [Update: Objective-J?]

Motorola’s wholesale switch to Android in late 2009 arguably rescued the company from fading into insignificance, but according to new rumors the cellphone and tablet manufacturer isn’t willing to entirely trust Google with its fate. According to InformationWeek‘s sources, Motorola Mobility is the process of developing a web-based mobile OS, using the talents of various mobile and web engineers recruited from Apple and Adobe.

The exact nature of the platform has not been confirmed, but it is believed to follow in webOS‘ footsteps and use web-style tools and frameworks so that developers will be able to quickly and easily create apps. Ex-Apple web standards guru Gilles Drieu, currently VP of software engineering at Motorola Mobility, along with directors of engineering Benoit Marchant and Sean Kranzberg are believed to be heading the project.

Motorola, for its part, would only re-confirm that it “is committed to Android as an operating system,” a move which analysts suggest is prompted primarily with caution over its share price. “They don’t want to give Wall Street and developers the impression that they’re going back to the Motorola of old,” Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg suggests, “where they’re working on 50 million operating systems at once.” He too claims to have heard about Motorola’s OS plans; however, there’s no telling whether the company intends to use it on phones, smartphones, tablets or another segment – like Google’s plans for Chrome OS notebooks – altogether.

Update: Mobile developer Steve Troughton-Smith reminded us of Motorola’s 2010 acquisition of 280 North, the company responsible for the Objective-J programming language. This uses Javascript to run web-apps in the browser, and works alongside Cappucino, an open-source port of the Apple Cocoa API. Prior to being bought, 280 North confirmed it was working on a drag-and-drop development system for web-apps named Atlas, a browser-based tool with which coders could create and execute apps without leaving their browser of choice.


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