By now everyone has heard that Google has sold off Motorola Mobility and what a loss it was. I strongly disagreed with that and this Forbes article says a lot of what I felt. Google needed Motorola Mobility for its strategy to *pwn* other vendors who greedily thought they could exert their unique brand of is 'enhancement' further fragmenting Android is.
- Google Nexus 5 #4, LG G2 #9
- HTC One Google Ed. #2, HTC One #3
- Samsung S4 Google Ed. #6, Samsung S4 #7
- Moto X #5 (ahead of all ODM except HTC)
You can see this with the latest Android device rankings. Every Google Edition of nearly every ODM device is better that the original (HTC One and Samsung S4) and the Nexus 4/5 are way better that any LG offering, yet are also made by LG. Add to that the announcement that the new flagship Samsung S5 will be more Nexus/Google experience like, you can see that Google has exerted it's will over its android ODM (original device manufacturers).
I had always wondered why Motorola devices weren't more innovative. Sure questions on 'fair play' concerns from Samsung, HTC, LG, etc was a factor but I don't think it was the main driver. I *think* Google was trying to make a point on the RIGHT way for ODMs to add value to androids with minimal OS changes and subtle hardware tweaks. All this allows for more equivalency/democracy amongst Android, (think number portability in North America years ago and carriers) making it easier for consumers to switch between makers within the android ecosystem.
Moto X and G were like Nexus devices in disguise! This way Google could use LG as the nexus vendor for nexus 4 and 5 and basically get almost 4x Nexus phones (adding in the 2x Moto phones) in the last few years!
I was always curious as to why Google didn't try to build off the initial success of the Moto Xoom, the first Honeycomb 3.0 Android tablet. Both the Moto X and G are both Superphone format devics. If I had to guess the reason it would be either:
- 'A' - was happy with what it got from ASUS (why not? For the price the Nexus 7 is pretty much the best 7" tablet out there!)
- 'B' - thought that the larger market phone market (what Google calls "SuperPhones") fragmentation was more important to fix first.
Likely a little of both 'A' and 'B', but maybe more 'B' as money is still in "Superphones" and not really tablets. The margins are much higher still for cellular devices vs. WiFi-only. (See Cellphone Economics posting I had a while back.)
|(S4 back button RIGHT from http://www.androidbeat.com/2013/05/review-samsung-galaxy-s4/)|
|(HTC ONE back button LEFT from http://androidandme.com/2013/10/news/t-mobile-htc-one-android-4-3-update-rollout-commences/)|
I wish Google could have made this a 'Hardware' standard too. Not a problem with Apple's iPhone 5s vs. 5c! *Apple fan-boys cheer* Both because there is no back button (and no labels on iPhone5s) and that there is only 1x hardware manufacturer.
Hope that helps,
*** UPDATE *** Looks like Lenovo is also going the patent route, buying a number of patents from UP. Read more here. So you can clearly see that Google by keeping the patents from Motorola Mobility clearly knew what they were doing!