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Motorola Snaps Up Sendo's R&D

 Motorola Sendo 1st July 2005

Britain's only mobile phone manufacturer, Sendo, has gone into administration (which essentially means that it has ceased trading). Sendo is best known for low-cost handsets tailored to specific carrier's needs (such as the SV663) and also high-end Symbian smartphones such as the Sendo X2.

Almost immediately though, Motorola have stepped in and bought up Sendo's intellectual property and research and development facilities, which comprises of 200+ employees and nearly 100 patents filed or pending, which basically leaves the administrators with the physical assets of Sendo only, including their stock of handsets.

Motorola isn't really buying Sendo as a going concern, nor it appears is it taking Sendo's licence for Symbian Series 60 with it (Motorola uses the UIQ variant of Symbian) which puts the future of the excellent Sendo X and X2 handsets in doubt. Besides, despite Sendo shipping an impressive 5 million handsets annually, Motorola's shipments are likely to be well over 100 million this year.

The real advantage for Motorola is that Sendo have a very good reputation for innovation and delivering customised handsets quickly. Admittedly, the Sendo X was horribly late, but to their credit Sendo are very capable at making quite major hardware and software modifications for their cheaper handsets in an impressively short time. This is something that Motorola badly need as their track record at getting products to market at the moment is very poor, and their idea of customising handsets seems to extend pretty much only as far as putting on a different shell and coming up with a slightly different model number (i.e. the Motorola V500 series).

We'll be interested to see what the ex-Sendo team can achieve with proper funding and resources though, and what Motorola can do with the intellectual property that Sendo really never managed to exploit properly (such as some interesting display technologies on recently announced handsets).

For gadget freaks this is both bad news and good news. With the Sendo X and X2, the company certainly caused a bit of a stir and proved that it's not just big companies that can be innovative, and Sendo have always been an important innovator in smartphones (they made a major contribution to Microsoft's platform too before the companies fell out). However, the acquisition does mean that we could see some much more interesting handsets coming out of Motorola in 2006, a company that's been plagued with poorly performing products and vapourware for a little while now.

At Mobile Gazette we have always liked Sendo and their products, so this state of affairs is a little sad. Farewell then Sendo.. and Mobile Gazette wishes all Sendo employees good luck.

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