Discussion about
frankspin

January 29th 2014 4:46 pm

What is going on over at Google!?

Google is certainly busy in the mobile space with news coming out about an agreement with Samsung, and the potential sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo.

First, there is Samsung (www.engadget.com­/2014­/01­/29­/google­-and­-samsung/) who has made an agreement with Google to tone down the total amount of customization on Samsung phones. I don't doubt anyone will disagree this is a good thing because Touchwiz has been two steps forward in features but always one step back in appearance.

Right after that, news broke about Google being in talks with Lenovo to sell off the Motorola Mobility group (www.engadget.com­/2014­/01­/29­/lenovo­-nearing­-3­-billi...) that Google just bought two and a half years ago (www.engadget.com­/2011­/08­/15­/google­-acquiring­-motor...). They're taking a hit of nearly $9 billion $7 billion (they sold the cable box division for $2 billion to Arris) on that deal, but its always been speculated that it was for the patents.

I don't doubt these have been in discussion for some time -- the Samsung talks apparently started back at CES. It's just very coincidental that both of these are breaking at the same time. Perhaps Google wants to spend more time with Samsung, a clear winner in the Android space right now.

Motorola certainly made strides with the X and G, but will that all change with Lenovo? Only time can tell, but it will certainly be interesting to see how it unfolds with Google/Samsung and Lenovorolla.

Android fans: weigh in on what you think this means for Motorola, Samsung and Android going forward.

You can also participate in our poll about the Motorola/Lenovo deal wedgi.es­/1hOgUJE

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12 replies
day4bananafish

I hope it doesn't mean there will be a sudden end to the Moto X and G lines of phones. I feel like those were quietly some of the best android phones you could buy last year.

Certainly Samsung could probably stand to simplify their version of Android. And who knows maybe Google needs to assert control of Android more because they don't trust Samsung to take care of the brand. They haven't exactly taken it to new heights.
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TgD

Lenovo could probably use the help from Motorola, because Lenovo's phones right now are not terribly successful. Interestingly enough, there used to be rumours of Lenovo buying BlackBerry as their business-oriented products could have some synergy.

Actually scratch that, I don't think Lenovo has even bothered trying to compete in North America in the smartphone sector. Its rare you see their phones in the headlines. Perhaps Motorola will give them an "in" into the region and we will see more from them. Maybe this could go the other way too. Moto Maker has largely been restricted to the USA and there IS a market of people internationally who want a customized phone. Perhaps with Lenovo's global reach they could deliver on that.

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frankspin

Considering the reports I'm starting to see Motorola may end up being a bigger hit on Lenovo. They apparently have still been operating at a bit of a loss since coming under Google.
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TgD

That would be my guess as well. Its not a bad thing, as the Moto X is widely regarded as a great device with software that is better than stock android. The Moto G is also the budget android phone to have right now. 2 recent successes for them
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Met

It goes both ways actually. Motorola are nearly nonexistent in this side of the world, just like Lenovo are nearly nonexistent on the other side. Maybe they can make the same device and market it under the 2 brands for the different regions?
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TgD

That would be okay by me!
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Met

Now that I think about it, that's what i-Mate did once upon a time. They just took HTC phones, put their branding on it and redistributed the phones to countries HTC didn't sell to.
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dave

Hah, well maybe this way they'll finally be able to make proper Nexus devices for Google. That always blew my mind: Google has this huge hardware company they purchased for billions of dollars and never really utilized them to create their flagship Nexus devices. Maybe they didn't want to alienate their other hardware partners, but it was just strange.
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dave

That's a lot of money to say goodbye to.

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Met

Not really. They're keeping Motorola's entire patent portfolio and licensing it to Lenovo. Source: http://goo.gl/JXR0S6
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kirkley

Lets first begin with the request made by Google to Samsung, to tone down the touchwiz customization. Now, as you said, touchwiz is for lack of a better word, clunky. It's not particularly appealing when in comparison to Googles stock Android OS, and especially not equal in terms of design and craftsmanship when compared to the iOS platform. But, although Googles request will inherently allow for the stock Android design to shine through in all its glory, that is not exactly the intended purpose.

As we now know, Android is the most used operating system on the planet. The majority of mobile users are using the operating system, but really, are they all using the operating system. Samsung advertises-like all other mobile phone manufacturers likeSony, Lenovo, Motorola, etc.-that their operating system is Android. From a consumer standpoint, in appearance that's great. Consumers should be able to switch to whichever mobile phone manufacturer they please, choose the features that they need most in a smartphone from a hardware and software standpoint, and easily transition without a hiccup. This is not what is happening. Consumers are going form one phone to the other based on hardware specifications and the advertised OS features, but needing to practically relearn how to use the phone every time. This varies depending on what phone manufacturer you go to, but Samsung- along with Sony- leave nothing but the skeletal working of the Android operating system, and customize the rest, for better or worse (mostly worse). Googles request for Samsung--the largest mobile phone distributor in the world--to tone down its software customization will very much alleviate the lack of integrated-ness and unification of the Android operating system.

Now, on to the Motorola situation. I don't believe that the selling of the newly acquired company has much of a significant meaning. Google may have seen Motorola as a heavy prospect to be the sole manufacturer of their flagship Nexus devices in hindsight, but once acquired realized that their only real value may have been their patent holdings. Besides, Motorola hasn't really released anything groundbreaking except for a quality design language with their latest phones and a consumer friendly way ordering their devices, none of which I believe Google needs any help on.

That's my two-sense on the situation.
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groovechicken

Weren't a lot of Lenovo phones using Intel processors? I just read in the past few days that Intel seems to be backing off the mobile space, so maybe they are just looking for a company to give them a shot in the arm as they move completely to ARM? I am just guessing here. I haven't kept up with all Lenovo Android devices because they never seemed compelling next to the competition. They are known to buy up hardware companies rather than figuring it all out on their own, though. Motorola might thrive better under Lenovo than Google.
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