Deals

Motorola buys 3LM to make Android phones as secure as the BlackBerry

Phone manufacturer Motorola has acquired 3LM, a stealth startup that develops security technology for phones running Google’s Android mobile operating system.

3LM develops software designed to make phones running Android as secure as BlackBerrys to make them more viable as enterprise-class smartphones, said co-founder Tom Moss. The company wants to work with phone manufacturers to pre-load its security software on phones rather than posting an application on the Android Marketplace.

Despite being a part of Motorola, 3LM still plans to work with other Android phone makers. That’s because both Motorola and 3LM want to avoid creating an arms race when it comes to security software for Android smartphones, Moss said.

“You want [phone manufacturers] on one consistent solution,” Moss said. “That way customers can pick whichever phone they want instead of having to rely on whatever the company asks for.”

Moss, a former Google executive who worked on Android, said Android was more secure than the iPhone and Windows Phone 7. Android is typically seen as a more open mobile operating system when it comes to running third-party applications — which means it’s a better candidate for enterprise phones, he said. Moss also plans to work with tablet computer manufacturers and package 3LM’s software tablets for enterprise use.

3LM has been around for less than a year. The company was founded in July last year and began talking with Motorola about a potential deal in September, Moss said. The company wasn’t disclosing any additional details about the acquisition. 3LM has raised around $1.5 million from a seed funding round led by a number of angel investors and Accel Partners.

[Photo: Daniel Leininger]