Six things consumers can expect from Google acquiring Motorola
1. Motorola devices will be the new stock Android experience, or: goodbye MOTOBLUR.
Since the Nexus One, Google's done a pretty good job of trying to have at least a few devices on the market with the "stock" Android experience. As a side note, these are almost invariably my favorite devices. (Sorry, manufacturers!) If you're anything like me in that regard, good news, because you can probably expect to see a steady stream of these devices to flowing out of Motorola, and that's a damned good thing. Even better? You can probably kiss MOTOBLUR goodbye.
2. Expect plenty of of carrier unlocked -- maybe even bootloader unlocked -- devices.
Google made it pretty clear when it launched the original Nexus One that they envisioned a future where SIM locked devices are a thing of the past, and devices can run on any network. Granted, that vision didn't exactly pan out; tail between legs, Google shuttered its Android phone store that sold all those great unlocked, contract-free devices. Well, with its own in-house hardware division, I think Google's finally going to push ahead to out-open HTC, who has recently lead the pack in manufacturer-sanctioned carrier and bootloader unlocking.
3. NFC is in.
Controlling at least one major hardware player in the Android ecosystem means Google can push harder on new initiatives manufacturers have been slow to adopt, like its NFC-based mobile payments system, Google Wallet. This seems like a pretty obvious slam dunk, if you ask me.
Disclaimer: I do a little unrelated consulting work for MasterCard on its mobile and Google Wallet stuff.
4. Moto's low-end dumphones and featurephones are not long for this world.
One only need take a look at Moto's phone lineup over the last year or two to see this was already well underway. But I think it's fair to expect that the company's low-end and featurephone lines will dry up pretty quickly under Google, not unlike (albeit probably faster than) the rest of the industry's non-smartphone lines. As for low-end smartphones based on Android? Well, that's still a pretty big opportunity then, isn't it?
5. If it isn't mobile, Google-Motorola probably won't be doing it for much longer.
Lots has already been said about the part of Motorola Mobility's business that ISN'T Android-based smartphones and tablets: namely, their line of (incredibly crappy) set top boxes, and high-end video processing and video security products. This stuff probably does pretty decently for Moto's bottom line, but it's hard to see Google wanting to continue on with this stuff forever. Sooner or later, it's either going to get the axe, or more likely be chopped up and sold off to someone else who actually wants to be in that business.
6. Either Motorola becomes Android's highly integrated hardware division -- or it becomes to Google what Nextel became to Sprint
The stories of the utterly insane dysfunction within Sprint after acquiring Nextel in 2004 are now legendary. The two companies remained distant both physically and culturally, the whole thing wound up making both businesses worse off, with Sprint eventually having to write down about $30 billion on the whole thing. Now, while I really like the idea of the Android team having a tightly knit hardware unit, the details don't add up here. Google is a very Valley-centric company with an incredibly unique culture -- one that looks, feels, and acts absolutely nothing like Motorola. That's not a good or bad thing, it's just the reality of the matter.
On so many levels it makes no sense for Google to run Android from HQ in California while its Android hardware (aka Motorola) is run from Illinois. If you ask me, either Moto's going to wind up packing up and moving west, or (less likely) Android's going to pack up and move east. But sooner or later something's going to give. This thing is either going to be an amazing success -- or a colossal failure. That much we'll only know in a few years.
I say the end of this year because I've been hearing that the first Android@home devices will be released then. Android@home requires a gateway to bridge between Google's as-of-yet unannounced wireless standard (bets are on 6lowpan or Synapse Wireless) and the rest of the home network. I've also heard that 'Project Tungsten' is this bridge device. (Although this conflicts with the earlier understanding that Tungsten was a musical bridge layer which ran on top of any Android device...)
So: Project tungsten is Android kernel or something which runs on Android kernel. Launch will be around the end of this year, which coincides nicely with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich and the market launch of Android@home devices.
(speculation from here...)
Seems to me that Google would not release a market for Google TV apps until after the kernel was merged with the Android trunk (Ice Cream Sandwich). They're probably already testing it now (thus the Google TVs showing up on android market).
I'd guess that GoogleTV is one of the launch platforms for Tungsten, potentially along with an audio bridge device (like Apple's Airport Express). Tungsten will be built into the Ice Cream Sandwich codebase, and the release of Ice Cream Sandwich will also mark the release of some headline software coinciding with the opening of the Google TV Market.
This may be where SageTV fits in: It's a java-based frontend and backend for DVRs. If the frontend can be recompiled and installed as an Android app (and another source for the unified program search) and the backend can be open-sourced for inclusion into STBs, then the issue of integration with legacy (non-internet) services
may be sorted.
... but that's only dealing with the hardware/software side (the stuff we gadget freaks focus on first!). The Motorola purchase seems to have been mostly motivated by patents, and the importance of these patents should not be underestimated, but from a CE point of view, the real meaty parts are that the phones will be more up to date with Google's vision (NFC and SIP) and, furthermore (and potentially more importantly) that GoogleTV now has a well developed sales team with many pre-existing channels to sell through. Moto's STBs weren't very good but they certainly knew how to sell them.
(This was meant to be a short post, sorry.)
(Also if it re-posts, sorry, had to refresh the connection.)
2) Maybe, although carriers may stand in the way of full Google-ification
5) No, (personal opinion here) I think that Google TV is effectively in hibernation until Ice Cream Sandwich, and that Motorola's ability to push STBs downstream should not be underestimated: they've got some long-standing relationships to build from. (More on this from me in another post)
6) Maybe. Motorola may need some serious re-shaping in any case, but Jha has been pretty active in re-forming the company. The stench of death is not fully out of the air, and Google will need to keep an eye on things to make sure that integration is effective while also avoiding cultural backflow: The last thing we want is a Google with a more Motorola-like corporate culture.
I honestly don't see GoogleTV going anywhere, though you never know. It might come back to surprise us.
If I were Larry Page, I'd reformulate Google TV to do less, do it better, and cost just $99. Add tons of apps and games, an app Marketplace and consider canning the browser if needed to make price-point, because everyone blocks it anyhow. But I'm not Larry Page and it's not gonna happen.
I do wish they'd make a comeback, if only to prod Apple to put many more music and video Apps on the next Apple TV. The one really great thing that Google did for TV last year was to force Apple and Roku to improve their products.
It's evident from this move that Google's give-it-away-for-free-and-cash-in-on-the-ads business model isn't working on Android phones -- I suspect, because phones are inherently NOT a great place to do Google-style space ads -- and if they can't make it work, their days of growth are numbered, because they're close to maxing out their growth on PC screens.
1. Motoblur isn't really going anywhere. For the time being, Motorola is remaining as is. It will function as its own company, even though under the umbrella for Google. Google didn't buy Motorola Mobility for the hardware, they did it for the patents. Motoblur is sadly going to remain on a lot of Motorola devices, unless Google wants to step in and make Motorola a "flagship" OEM...which would not be beneficial to the overall Android ecosystem.
2. Carrier unlocked devices? Again, this isn't something the manufactures are fully to blame for. They do it to protect their devices, but also do it to keep the carriers happy. Carriers don't want unlocked, rooted devices on their networks. Tethering is a prime example here (I don't care for the extra fee's either, but still a point here). Phones and devices that are not locked down pose a technical threat to the integrity of the cell phone carriers network. It would be much like an unauthorized laptop on a corporate secure network. Imagine the dangers there!
3. This is something I will go with. NFC has a LOT of potential and could very easily be something Motorola could be "encouraged" to push in ALL of their devices...set top boxes, baby monitors, modems, mobile devices, etc.
4. I would love to agree with you on Dumbphones and Feature phones, but I don't see them going anywhere anytime soon. I wouldn't be surprised to see them done away with, as the trend towards smartphones is growing, but not anytime in the very near future....5 years minimum.
5. Motorola Mobility doesn't do just Mobile Phones. They do the modems, and cable set top boxes. (Hello Google TV!) Baby Monitors, and a variety of other electronics. I actually see Google taking these other products and finding very interesting ways to integrate Google services into them.
6. Comparing Google and Motorola to Sprint and Nextel makes no sense. Google is a Software Company. Sprint AND Nextel are BOTH cell phone companies...and neither really did any of their OWN hand sets. Your comparison is like comparing Apples to Dogs. The marriage of Google and Motorola is going to be a two sided coin that will show a LOT of benefits for the two sides. Google needed the patents that Motorola owned. Motorola Mobility was pulled from the abyss thanks to jumping onto the Android platform and putting out the OG Droid (A device that LITERALLY saved them!). Each side will compliment each other.
As for one or the other having to move? No purpose, or reasoning to that at all. Did you forget the age we live in? I am pretty sure that Google can afford a quick flight from the west coast to the midwest at a moments notice. Google also has a great sense of setting up various ways to communicate between people over distances...or maybe you haven't gotten your invite to Google+ yet.
I am a Google follower, and a Phandroid. However, this article was poorly written and not well thought out.
There are NUMEROUS articles out already with statements pulled from both the Google and Motorola camps, each discussing what is in the immediate future for Motorola as a company, and what Google attains from this purchase. Statements that I shot down through out my reply, such as "non-smartphone" technology that Motorola Mobility produces, i.e. STB's, Baby Monitors and Modems. These are devices that Google can quickly and easily benefit from!
"independent" or not, Motorola will be restructuring around their new relationship with Google. It makes sense that, as Motorola becomes "Google's hardware division", these other non-related devices will be removed from the product lineup.
Or maybe we'll have Android-powered baby monitors...
Google TV with PnP so you can watch the latest episodes of Game of Thrones, yet still watch your little prince(ss) sleep.
Xoom with the app installed so while away on business you don't miss a smirk or wiggle of the nose as the new baby sleeps
Android phone, lets you know the sitter is doing her/his job while you and the spouse are having a much deserved night out.
Or, repackaged monitor distributed for "Home Security" purposes.
As a former employee for a Sprint call center, and dealing with the headaches of Nextel customers, I can see what you described in the issue. I will hold opinion on the comparison as accurate or inaccurate due to being way to early. Why? Because the major issue between Sprint and Nextel was that Sprint had no business buying a iDEN network and trying to integrate it into their CDMA network. They only did it because they wanted access to Push to Talk.
Google and Motorola's marriage is much more beneficial in the fact that they honestly have something to offer to each other. Google has the software to push Motorola's devices, and Motorola has the Hardware to carry them. Software+Hardware is a natural given. I would say this is a Kool Aide + Sugar type deal....albeit to much sugar is NOT a good thing. Where Sprint+Nextel was Kool Aide + Salt. Just because it is Granular and White doesn't make it the same.