Lenovo gets Motorola, but Google gets to keep its skunkworks

Lenovo may be buying a brand to help it sell smartphones across the world, but it's not getting everything that was under Motorola's umbrella. In addition to the "vast majority" of Motorola's patents, Google will also hold onto the Advanced Technology and Projects division and fold it into its Android team.

That group is responsible for some of Motorola's more wild-eyed projects, like the authentication pills and tattoos that ATAP chief Regina Dugan showed off at AllThingsD's D11 conference. The most eye-catching example of the group's work was Project Ara, the modular smartphone initiative that first started turning heads in late October. Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside said the prototype phone was nearly done just over a month later, and the company planned to get the Ara module dev kit out the door this winter. It seemed like the team was making real progress, but we'll soon see if those plans have shifted now that Motorola is leaving the building.