Android Wins In The Motorola-Lenovo Deal

Posted: Jan 30 2014, 5:32am CST | by , Updated: Jan 30 2014, 5:35am CST


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Android Wins In The Motorola-Lenovo Deal

Lenovo’s purchase of Motorola from Google should be welcomed by the Android ecosystem. It will reduce friction between the other manufacturers and Google, it will allow the Motoroloa team to thrive, and it brings another hardware manufacturer on-board with the mobile OS. Whether that is worth the effort Google have put in is a question for the Mountain View based company to address, but for the Android ecosystem this deal is a barrel-load of win.

Let’s start with the name. Given hindsight, ‘Motorola – A Google Company’ has an easily removed appendage. In public it was never fully adopted inside the mothership and without that sense of security it’s impossible to ask your employees to go above and beyond their role. Assuming Lenovo can foster that spirit, the team behind the Droids, the Moto X, and the Moto G handsets, can stretch themselves without mentally checking where the exit door is and if they’re going to go through it, voluntarily or otherwise.

Google will have seen how Motorola performs as part of their portfolio, had they realised the practicalities in holding Motorola at arm’s length to appease the other Android manufacturers? Motorola could not take advantage of their parent company’s strength with Android OS – witness the Moto G (reviewed here on Forbes) shipping without Android 4.4 KitKat. I felt that in many areas Motorola was not able to push as hard as they wanted to with Android because Google had to be ‘seen to be fair’ in regards the relationship with Motorola compared to other manufacturers.

Freed from this connection, the Motorola team can serve a single purpose through their design and innovation.

Not only has Google removed a point of contention between the hardware partners, it also brings another hardware partner into Android. There are only a handful of manufacturers who have the scale that allows them to be players in the global smartphone market. Lenovo is one of them, and I’m sure they were being courted by Microsoft in the background to consider Windows Phone. The Chinese company may still do so, but their primary focus and competencies will now lie with Android

The historical parallels between Lenovo buying out IBM’s PC business before bringing it to the consumer and what they are hoping to do with Motorola in the smartphone space should not be ignored. Lenovo as a company are hungry for success and are willing to invest to make that happen. There’s no doubt that this purchase is a significant investment. The sale does not include the patent bundle or the advanced research team, Lenovo are buying the manufacturing knowledge and expertise. The handsets on the drawing board to follow up the Moto X and Moto G will now be Lenovo handsets. I cannot wait to see what the team behind the Moto G will be able to produce when paired up with Lenovo’s manufacturing base and backing.

Ultimately a strong Android ecosystem benefits everyone who is invested in this branch of the smartphone world, and that includes the users. Competitive pressure between manufacturers will drive innovation and lead to better handsets, an active market will keep retail prices low, networks will be able to negotiate better deals with hardware manufacturers using the extra leverage Lenovo brings to the table, and third party developers will continue to have confidence in the marketplace and release innovative and cutting-edge applications.

Motorola’s time inside the home of Android will certainly show up on Google’s books, but when you look at the benefits to the Android ecosystem with this deal, there will be many that think this was a price worth paying.

Beyond Cellphones: Gear From Motorola Solutions

Source: Forbes

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