Friday, August 19, 2011

O_o Google and Motorola

The big tech news Monday was, of course, the Google offer to purchase Motorola. Instantly, speculation as to the motivation being simply patent acquisition started up. That may be, Leo Laporte et al. were discussing what's included in the purchase during This Week in Tech and it seems Motorola has some key patents for innovation going forward. Hand set manufactures issued statements that were eerily similar fueling speculation that they are not happy. Welcome to the world of business communication.

I work for a publicly held multi-national that regularly takes over other companies. The new units are absorbed into existing units and either bolster existing manufacturing or ease the company costs as it transitions into new areas. Most likely it's similar in the tech industry. Regardless of the "don't be evil" mantra, Google is a publicly traded company and their shareholders are not going be on board with over paying to buy out a less profitable product.

So, if the purchase goes through what happens to our variety of slab faced devices with ever growing screen space?

IMHO as long as the o/s is provided at no charge and updated in a timely manner, I see no reason for Samsung, HTC etc. to bail on Android even if Google retains the Moto hardware division. All hardware manufacturers provide different user experiences. Geeks may prefer the vanilla version of android but it's been missing a lot of pieces. Samsung did the last Nexus iteration and still took a long time to get the GB update to their Galaxy S line. But much of the features integrated in 2.3 (pano photos, front camera support) was already cooked in to the Samsung user experience regardless of whether they used the TouchWiz launcher. 2.3 made my device run smoother but didn't add any overt features.

What would Google do with the hardware division aside from provide competition for the Nexus phone? Drive handset innovation by trying different types of batteries (solar?), memory, rugged configurations for isolated areas replacing the aging Symbian system devices. Research more uses for android (home robotics, more responsive smart home controls?). Licensing those uses to the other manufacturers. That's what the company I work for appears to do. They have a main product but research different uses for that product to expand their sales of core products.

Regardless of what happens, it will be an exciting time for consumers as handsets become our communication connection and personal computer.