Motorola (NYSE:MOT) is riding high today on a surprisingly bright outlook. This might be the start of a new era in Motorola's long history -- powered by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Androids.

Third-quarter earnings per share of $0.01 puts Motorola in the black by the skin of its teeth -- a huge improvement over the year-ago period's $0.18 loss per share. Sales rolled in at $5.4 billion, some 27% lower than last year. These figures are very close to what the average Wall Street analyst had expected, so we have to look elsewhere to explain the 11% jump in Motorola's share price.

Management kicked its guidance for the fourth quarter up a notch. Before this report, Motorola was aiming for an essentially breakeven quarter to finish out 2009. Now, management sees $0.08 per share on the bottom line, give or take a penny.

Android phones loom large in that upbeat guidance. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) will start selling the very handsome Motorola Droid handset next week, and that model looks like Verizon's finest smartphone to date. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and AT&T (NYSE:T) have shown us what a great smartphone can do for your profits, and Motorola might have its first real hit lined up since the early days of the RAZR phone. The Motorola Cliq is going out to Deutsche Telekom's (NYSE:DT) T-Mobile also, but T-Mobile has a much smaller subscriber base, so the Droid gets top billing here.

Motorola has been stripping down to become a lean, mean operator and would not have come close to positive earnings without this cost-savings program. The savings are running ahead of plan by $100 million this year for a total cost reduction of $1.9 billion. If those Androids hit the ground running with some traction, that low-cost operating model should pave the way for some nice, juicy earnings in coming quarters. That is, until Motorola spins out the handset division into a separate company.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Sprint Nextel is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.