Most of us scratched our heads when rumors surfaced that Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI) would create its own mobile operating system. Why, we wondered? Foolish colleague Rich Smith suspected management delirium.

Now it appears that desperation may have been the bigger factor. Having early access to Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) most advanced version of the Android operating system hasn't helped sales.

Two separate reports from analysts at Pacific Crest Securities and Deutsche Bank say sales of the heavily advertised Xoom tablet and Atrix smartphone have been underwhelming. The Xoom, in particular, has sold just 100,000 units, according to Deutsche Bank estimates quoted by trade magazine InformationWeek.

By contrast, Samsung sold 600,000 of its well-received Galaxy Tabs in the first month of availability. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) sold roughly 1 million iPad 2 tablets during its first weekend of availability.

How much do you think Steve Jobs is loving this? For all my hand-wringing over the Mac maker's newest iMockery, consumers are acting as if the iPhone and iPad really are a cut above their peers -- the Atrix and Xoom included.

Knowing this, I'm a bit more forgiving of Moto's management than my friend Rich. They have to do something. Creating a new OS is probably the least attractive of their options. But without a change -- and I mean, soon -- losses could return.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think about Moto's strategy and competitive positioning, and whether you favor the Atrix or Xoom over its iOS alternatives using the comments box below.

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