Motorola's big split takes place tomorrow

After trading closes down today, Motorola Incorporated is expected to begin distributing shares of its newly spun-off mobile devices company known as Motorola Mobility (MMI). This split has been in preparatory stages for the last three years, and this marks the final stages of the separation. After all of the common stock for the new company has been distributed, Motorola Inc. intends to change its name to Motorola Solutions Inc (MSI.)

Motorola Mobility's CEO and Chairman will be Dr. Sanjay Jha, who has been in the position of co-CEO with Greg Brown since 2008. Prior to joining Motorola, Jha was the COO of Qualcomm Inc. Motorola Mobility's executive staff will also include Mark Rothman as Chief Financial Officer; John Bucher as Chief Strategy Officer; and Geoffrey Roman as Chief Technology Officer.

MMI will have two major businesses under it, the Mobile Devices segment, and the Home segment. Mobile devices includes all of Motorola's portable communications devices and software, and the Home segment includes all of the products and services for cable and telephone companies such as set top boxes, broadband modems, as well as VoIP and IPTV solutions. Motorola describes the new company's portfolio as including "mobile devices, wireless accessories, set top boxes, video distributions systems, and wireline broadband infrastructure products and associated customer premises equipment."

The timing of the stock distribution is interesting largely because the newly-split Motorola Mobility is expected to unveil a new Android tablet at CES just days afterward. So far, the product is rumored to be a 10.1" tablet running Android 2.4 (Gingerbread) on the NVIDIA Tegra 2 platform. While none of the stats of this device have been confirmed in any way, the suspicion that it has a 10" screen is important enough by itself.

Apple's iPad has a 10" screen, and its major competition in the tablet space thus far has been the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which is only 7" in size. This slight discrepancy in sizes is believed to place the Galaxy Tab in slightly indirect competition with the iPad. A new 10" Android tablet would be the first direct alternative to the mindshare-dominating iPad.

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