[Update] Motorola Dumps Google Maps For Skyhook


Besides the fact that this press release is dated for April 27th, 2010, we’re appalled by the information that it brings us: Motorola will preload Skyhook’s location services on its Android-based devices in place of Google Maps and Navigation Beta. In an unexpected “it’s not you, it’s me” type of event, Motorola’s vice president of software and services product management Christy Wyatt chimed in with her own commentary:

“Motorola is committed to providing rich location services for our customers and developer partners,” said Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services product management for Motorola Mobile Devices. “Precise location is central to the mobile experience, and Skyhook’s Core Location will enhance Motorola’s Android-based mobile devices with its innovative location technology.”

The move doesn’t seem to be hostile, as we haven’t heard of any rumblings between Google and Motorola, but it is very ballsy, nonetheless. It’s not clear whether or not this change will be reflected in upcoming 2.1 updates for Motorola’s phones, but we should start to see new phones carry Skyhook from here on out.


An interesting thing to note is that Skyhook has developed their location service so that developers would not have to change their code: something I’m sure a lot of developers would be relieved about. Now, please, excuse us while we take a truckload of tissues and a crying shoulder to the Googleplex. This break up wasn’t very easy for them.

[via Engadget]

[Update]: Seems we may have misunderstood Skyhook. It appears that they may just be implementing their core location features, which handles the triangulation part of the equation, into Motorola’s Android handsets.  Google Maps and Navigation Beta itself may not be at stake here, however it’s imperative to remember that no one has said otherwise, either. If any more information surfaces regarding this, we’ll let you know.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Can we still download Google Maps with navigation from the marketplace?

  2. That, my friend, is a very good question.

  3. Looks like I won’t buy any more Motorola products. They pulled Google Search and now Google Navigation. I’m all for adding options, but don’t strip away and go with lesser quality. Add them both together and allow the end user the ability to remove which ones they won’t use to save space.

  4. Dont like it? Root and reflash.
    That seems to be the Android motto afterall.

  5. Google Maps will probably still be available in marketplace. Actually in Froyo and beyond it won’t come with the Android OS anyway since it’s one of the ways Google plans to address the fragmentation issue, it makes updating the core OS easier.

  6. Looks like I may end up having to go with HTC or Google’s phones from now on. I hope Moto realizes their mistake when they see sales dropping.

  7. Why do this exactly? Is gmaps not both free and awesome?

    I bought my Droid for gmaps navigation. Moto better not take that away. The press release sounds as if they might. They advertised gmaps pretty heavily, I felt duped already.

  8. Looks like i’ll never buy a Motorola product anymore.
    I bought the Milestone because the Droid has really good reviews, result : signed bootloader, fugly preinstalled apps (Motonav), stupid personalization (Phone Portal, Camera, etc) and very long update process.
    And now this ? I’m done with Motorola. I’ll give another chance to Android with a HTC phone.

  9. Yeah I am done with Motorola. Dont care if i can root it. I hate their support and choices for things they are doing. Last phone i got was the Cliq and not anymore.

  10. I get the feeling that the partners are looking for ways to differentiate their products even more while still based on Android. Or else someone is trying to tear Android down piece by piece. I say the last statement because if all these replacement deals don’t perform better than Googles services its going to be Android left with the bad rap. And thats if people even try them because one of the draws at the moment is Google’s services. However if the partners provide more value I’m all for competition. I’d still feel better knowing that the original services can be found and swapped in. I’m sure Google is thinking about this as a part of their defrag plan for the upcoming Android releases.

  11. Oh and Motorola needs to worry about making MotoBlur worthwhile and getting their offerings up to 2.1 before switching around services.

  12. why do companies feel the absolute DESIRE to change things out, if there is nothing wrong with it don’t touch it… why the fuk would you change it to yahoo, why skyhook, it’s just stupid, i guess HTC is the only major player for android phones if you want the real full package experience, but even then you have sense if you don’t like it (which i do like but for others they may not) where are the options? why can’t these companies (skyhook and yahoo) just make freakin apps, and let people decide from there, on android everything is replaceable with 3rd party apps, that means the search function too, and maps…

  13. No, no, no, you’ve got this wrong. Skyhook don’t provide maps, they provide a geolocation service. Motorola adding Skyhook support doesn’t mean they’re dropping Google Maps.

    I don’t know why this is even a story – Skyhook have provided an Android API for some time now.

  14. OK. From what I understand of this it’s not the end of Google Maps and the like. Google Maps and everything Google will remain intact except that Skyhook will be used for its’ location services. Same front end, different back end. No different than changing your DNS server.

  15. To paraphrase Montoya, I do not think this means what you think it means. I think all they are doing is using SkyHook to determine the user’s location instead of Google’s equivalent services. I expect Maps, Navigation, etc to remain on the phone with the only change being the user’s current coordinates will come from Skyhook code instead of Google code.

  16. @Phil i think your right at the end… i think froyo serves 2 purposes as far as updates, they are moving their apps to the market to be updated there (so why wouldn’t you be able to see them alike any other app to download if you don’t have them) as well as to stop fragmentation so they don’t have to release so many updates just to fix small things.

  17. A long as you can get the Google stuff from the market, who cares? Competition is good and Skyhook might offer a better offline solution than Google Maps/Nav.

  18. I thought these phones had GPS built in? Why switch to Skyhook which is an 802.11 triangulation service? Or will they be using a combination of triangulation *and* GPS? (That doesn’t make sense either, GPS alone should be sufficient.)

    I’m confused. And I wish I understood better how SkyHook really works at a techy level as opposed to the press-release-level descriptions I’ve seen.

  19. It all comes down to business decisions. There may be no impact from a user point of view as Google is providing their products on marketplace.
    Android is open but as far as pre-loaded Google products, manufacturers/telcos have to give a lot of $$ to Google.
    We saw in previous posts that Google did upset Motorola with their Nexus One launch. Google has also tendencies to increase their product pricing over time, creating an unsustainable environment for companies. On Apple’s side, the implementation of the iPhone does not rely on Google to get location information, they have a deal with SkyHook as well and everything is transparent.

  20. I agree with Pedro.

  21. really moto are you trying to be like AT(crap)&t.I never bought a moto product and guess what i wont be in the future.

  22. Looks like you guys need to update this story.


  23. The Android mantra is all about choice and freedom and being able to be different, right? So is this not a good thing to be embraced?

  24. no bill cause it’s not choice if you don’t have the option to revert to default… it’s saying “hey there, look at this shiny phone, you want it don’t you???? welllll you can have it :) *whispers* if you use yahooooo and skyhook”

  25. It would seem you can still download google maps with navi. I sell VZW and Maps is like the bread and butter of Android. I highly doubt it will be blocked. Maybe more of a, you can puts the other software on there, but we still have a choice.

  26. Are you sure they are talking about Google maps and not Google’s horrible cell phone tower based location service? I always disable it and use only GPS..

  27. Remember a few months back when we all thought that maybe Motorola was finally making solid decisions? Weeeellll… we may have jumped the gun on that analysis lol. If they do end up removing Google Maps/Google Nav, I will die laughing.
    Obviously there will be ways to get it back, but when you have an app that leaves Apple scrambling to catch up and even has the potential to get iPhone devotees to switch to an Android phone you proooobably don’t wanna ditch that.

  28. @sam….hmmmmm interesting thoery

  29. correct me if i’m wrong. the thing i like about google is it’s limitless database. that is,,,any place with a web presence is part of the google nav database as opposed to say,,,garmin.

    so this skyhook,,,is it’s database limited like garmin or what?

  30. I hope there’s a way I can update my Motorola Droid with this when it’s available. It’s location abilities suck compared to my old Verizon phone. GPS just doesn’t cut it when you’re inside or have just recently stepped outside. I can never get WaveSecure to locate my phone correctly and Cardiotrainer gets messed up if I don’t wait a while for it to “locate” me first. VZ Navigator never had location issues on my LG.

  31. @sam, why would you say that? This is the awesomest feature of Gmaps, allows you to keep the damn GPS off and still use location aware soft! It works wonders on GSM band.

  32. @ Quentyn Kennemer: You’ve got this all wrong, Quentyn. Skyhook just provides a location ‘engine’. It’s just a means to get faster, more accurate location data fed to apps when indoors or in dense urban areas where true GPS gets blocked. This isn’t about removing Google apps or killing Google Maps or Navigation. A couple minutes Googling finds all the relevant info about Skyhook & what they do.

    Please change the story. This story is making Phandroid look bad, seriously.

  33. ” however it’s imperative to remember that no one has said otherwise, either.”

    in other words its imperative that you know just because we jumped the gun and made large claims doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. Is it really hard to say that we made a mistake

  34. not sure of the need for skyhook on a new android phone.

    as others have said above it uses wifi triangulation to get locations.

    it had a purpose back when phones didn’t have gps or when it was locked out (like VZW did with some early phones)- but is gps bad enough in cities to be bothered with wifi location? (I’m a suburbs kind of guy- so not sure)

  35. @Gunner if what you say is true then….your 100% right.

  36. @Gunner, you’re right about Phandroid looking bad. It’s been a trend of late for them to see a small part of the elephant and start painting a picture of it, making up the rest of the “facts” as they go along. They can’t even be contrite without, “it’s imperative to remember that no one has said otherwise, either”. I’m afraid that Phandroid is less and less a source of reliable information and more and more a gossip forum aggregator. Journalism, this ain’t. The decline is sad to see.

  37. Is Quentyn a journalist or a blogger. No disrespect, just curious.

  38. Interesting but nothing to worry about gmaps will be aroundu

  39. One of the Droid’s best features is Google Maps and its navigation so hopefully they will not be keeping that from us.

  40. I dumped Motorola for HTC

  41. OK, so my next Android phone (buying in October/November) will not be Samsung, since they are crippling their phones with Yahoo, and it will not be Motorola, since they seem to be crippling their phones as well, now (and in parts of the worls they are loading them with BING!!!)

    So it seems it will be an HTC phone for me, thank you very much. Unless Acer come out with something nice…

  42. Why has my last comment been taken off. Is it because I was right. You really should stick to the facts and not guess the ‘news’. If that is the approach this site is now taking then good bye and I imagine I wont be the last.

    At least credit my comments/ complaints with a response instead of just deleting it because you have no argument against it.

    That sucks…………………………………….

  43. Hey Guys,

    I often admit that I sometimes make mistakes in my reporting. The [Update] appended to the end of the article does serve as a public admittance. While it would be wise to change the article completely, the [Update] exists to point out the “wrong” in my facts and allows the user to plug them in where they need to be. I simply don’t have the time to rewrite the article from scratch. I do apologize if you guys feel that Phandroid’s reporting is unsatisfactory as of late, but we all make mistakes. Engadget, Gizmodo, all of the big sites have made mistakes at one point or another.

    Again, I apologize. To close, we do not delete user comments unless they’re blatant spam. I’m not sure why your comment didn’t show up and I sincerely apologize if it appears it was deleted, but I don’t have any clue on the matter. I accept any and all criticism with a serious approach, and wouldn’t censor your concerns.

  44. you guys are reading way to much into this. Nothing is changing to the extent you seem to be reading it as. Gunner posted more specific details as to what is going on and his detail are much more in lines with what is happening. So relax a bit folks it is not that big of a deal to say the least.

  45. “While it would be wise to change the article completely, the [Update] exists to point out the “wrong” in my facts and allows the user to plug them in where they need to be. I simply don’t have the time to rewrite the article from scratch.”

    That is just ridiculous and is the nail in the coffin for me with this site. You don’t have the time to rewrite an article that is 100% misleading and potentially harmful to multiple companies and confusing to consumers?

    What better do you have to do with your time on this site? That seems like it should rank #1.

  46. From Motorola’s Facebook page in response to a question that I asked earlier http://www.facebook.com/motorola

    “Hi all – to clarify, Skyhook’s technology will enhance the overall experience for Motorola mobile device users, especially for those who frequently use location based applications while indoors. Motorola’s relationship with Skyhook demonstrates one of the many benefits of working with Google in an open partnership. We remain committed to the Android platform and to continuing Motorola’s partnership with Google.”

    Hopefully that clears things up.


  47. lengthy account you obtain

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