Motorola is rumoured to be developing its own mobile OS. Again.

Motorola Mobility is rumoured to be working on its own mobile operating system based on web technologies such as HTML5, which would make it easier for developers to port Android and Apple applications to its devices.

“A source familiar with the matter” told Information Week that Motorola’s recent hiring of mobile and web engineers from Apple and Google was part of an ongoing plan to release its own OS. Motorola has responded to the rumour with a statement confirming its commitment to Android – but no explicit denial that it’s developing its ownplatform.

Observers are pointing to CEO Sanjay Jha’s statement last year that “Owning your own OS is important” as evidence that the rumours are likely to be true. Android has enjoyed significant success on Motorola handsets – the latter’s Droid device is often credited with creating global credibility for the fledgling platform.  Observers now point to fragmentation – too many versions of Android on too many different devices – and Google’s recent favouring of Samsung for the rollout of Gingerbread as possible motivations for developing a proprietary OS.

Motorola has, in the past, come under fire for offering too many operating systems. In addition to its own, it’s offered Windows Mobile, Symbian and Linux. Critics claimed that the diversity resulted in a poor-quality GUI. With Android continuing on its path to market dominance, it appears that the device maker is no longer prepared to rely on the platform as a unique selling point. Some observers are speculating that, rather than develop a completely new OS, Motorola will instead bring out a differentiating “skin” to sit on top of Android without losing any underlying compatibility.

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