Motorola splits into Droid, wireless gear divisions

Motorola Mobility to handle Droid smartphones, Motorola Solutions to focus on carrier/business wireless devices and software


Motorola is taking a big gamble that its popular Droid smartphones will continue to thrive even if Verizon Wireless – the major seller of Droids – starts hawking iPhones, too.

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Motorola has split into two divisions – one that makes Droids and set-top cable TV boxes and one that makes wireless gear for carriers and businesses.

The first is called Motorola Mobility and the second is called Motorola Solutions. Both started trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Motorola Mobility relies on Verizon Wireless to sell an estimated 60% of its cornerstone product, Droids, according to published reports. That success has helped boost sales of Android-based smartphones in general past those of BlackBerries into a number two slot behind iPhones, which are also losing market share to its Android competitors.

Verizon Wireless is expected to announce as early as this week that it will sell iPhones as well as Droids, and, if given the choice, it remains to be seen whether Verizon Wireless customers will choose Droids or iPhones.

Motorola Mobility plans to continue development of smartphones as well as tablets and other devices and services including content delivery and management and other cloud-based offerings, the company says.

Motorola Solutions makes carrier broadband wireless gear including CDMA and LTE as well as wireless access points, wireless Ethernet bridges and wireless network management software, the company says.

Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI) opened today on the NYSE at $31.17, and Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI) opened at $37.30.

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