Motorola confirms it will work on Google's next 'superphone'

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Motorola has confirmed that it is working with Google to develop a follow-up to the Nexus One smartphone.

The Nexus One was launched at the start of the year under Google's name, but Open Handset Alliance (OHA) partner HTC made the hardware. At the time, Google promised the Nexus One would be the first of many Google-branded Android phones, and said it would be working with other OHA partners in the future.

Motorola's chief executive Sanjay Jha confirmed yesterday that his company was first in line. During an earnings call to discuss the firm's latest financial results, Jha repeated the firm's commitment to produce 20 new smartphones in 2010, including "one direct-to-consumer device with Google".

Speculation has been rumbling on over who would partner Google to develop the Nexus Two if that is what it will be called with Motorola's name always near or at the top of the list.

Those rumours have only increased with the leak of a new Motorola smartphone dubbed the Shadow, which many believe will in fact end up being released as the Nexus Two. The Shadow is reported to be just 9mm thick, and has a large touch screen, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and the ability to capture video in full HD.

Either way, the Motorola-made handset will be sold by Google itself through its new online store as with the Nexus One, bypassing the networks to offer the phone directly to the consumer.

However, despite a significant upturn to its fortunes thanks to the release of its Android-powered MILESTONE and DEXT phones, Motorola is still struggling financially. It reported a modest net profit of $142 million (88 million) for the fourth quarter yesterday, a return of six cents per share, but warned that first quarter figures were likely to be in the red again to the tune of one to three per cent per share.

With analysts having forecast a small profit of three cents per share, and fourth quarter earnings having missed projections, Motorola's stock fell by 92 cents or 12.4 per cent yesterday to close at $6.48.