Are Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha's frustrations with the Android platform his company relies on to survive peeking through?
That's the question I ask after Jha apparently said the lack of an approval process of Google's Android Market lends smartphones to performance issues because some apps chomp great amounts of power. He also indicated app multitasking also hinders handsets.
Jha voiced the following statement during his keynote speech at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2011 Tech Conference June 2:
"Android is really truly multitask so you can run 64 parallel apps at the same time. That has an impact on consumer experience and we're beginning to understand it and understand why 70% plus of devices that come back are because they're downloading third party applications and the impact that that has on the performance of the device."
Obviously, a statement like that from a leader who bet the company on Android raised some eyebrows. On the one hand, Jha complimented Android's multitasking capability, which Apple's iOS can only aspire to at this point (though iOS 5 moves Apple closer).
On the other hand, he criticized the wild, wild west that is the Android Market, which lets almost any app in the door. Think this happens for apps published in Apple's App Store? Probably not.
Motorola's public relations team jumped into the fray, claiming that Jha didn't mean to single out third-party application developers as the reason for 70 percent of smartphone returns.
Rather, according to Motorola PR: "He did not state that 70 percent of smartphone returns was due to third-party applications, but that examples of potential contributing factors are battery life, sluggish operation and third-party applications."
Going strictly by what he said at the conference, this doesn't seem to be the case, but perhaps what he said and meant were two different things.
Even if he did mean what he said, the PR spun it the proper way because, lord knows, it wouldn't due for a company that subsists thanks to Android to impugn the apps that run on the platform, or the market they're sold in. Not very politic is it?
We can thank ComputerWorld's Nancy Gohring for snooping the scoop, which will no doubt come up at the join Sprint-Motorola event in Manhattan, which I'll be attending tomorrow.
What's interesting about this, to my mind, is that it underscores why Motorola might want to build another OS, as it has been rumored to be doing for the last several months.
It's a brutal mobile market out there, and with Samsung and HTC cranking out competitive phones, it's good to have something to fall back on.
Especially when your first Honeycomb tablet didn't set the market afire and your first 4G smartphone is late to market.