By now everyone in Chicago has heard the exciting news: Motorola Mobility is moving their headquarters from the Chicago suburbs to the heart of Chicago’s digital scene: the Merchandise Mart. Motorola Mobility brings with it 3,000 employees who will now call downtown Chicago their new playground.
The influx of engineers coming into downtown Chicago is exciting news for anyone in software development, especially for those involved with mobile app development. Although not all of Motorola’s employees are engineers, the mix of experienced mobile hardware and mobile software developers from the company should prove to be a catalyst for innovation in Chicago for years to come. With the combined human capital of Google/Motorola, Groupon and Nokia/Navteq engineers all within walking distance of each other, it will be interesting to see the cross pollination of knowledge and talent that will occur across these (and other) companies.
Android developers should be especially excited, since Motorola Mobility and the Android operating system are pretty intrinsically tied together, and although Google says it won’t give Motorola special treatment (for fear of alienating other handset manufacturers like Samsung and HTC), it’s hard to think that the Chicago manufacturer won’t be privy to early Android insights. This knowledge is sure to spread like wildfire across the tight knit Chicago network where everyone in mobile app development can benefit.
Motorola Mobility’s main focus will have to be on increasing its market share in the competitive smartphone industry. Although the Android operating system leads Apple’s iOS for smartphone users, Motorola trails its rivals Samsung and HTC for Android handset manufacturers. Motorola has had success with products like the Droid and the resdesigned Razr, but recently Motorola phones have lagged behind Samsung’s newer Galaxy offerings.
We’re rooting for Motorola Mobility and we hope the Chicago mobile app development community rallies together to boost Motorola’s fortunes. At the very least we can all go out and pick up a Motorola smarthphone the next time we’re out phone shopping. It kinda gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘shop local’.