16 Aug

On Google’s Moto Mobility Group Acquisition

The latest big news on Android is Google’s acquisition of Motorola’s Mobility group.

And I have to say, I wasn’t expecting that one.

The main arguments floating around on the acquisition are:

  • Patent play, driven by the patent war including the recent Nortel patent acquisition by Google’ competitors
  • Hardware play, which better positions Google against Apple

My thoughts

  1. It is a patent play
  2. TBD is the impact of this on Google/Android partners — this is huge with respect to Android partners, creates a love-hate relationship, and definitely will have a negative impact on their partners, their growth, their confidence, and as a consequence, will affect Android’s growth; it is the way things work. While Android’s global growth was leveraging big manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung, now, unless some kind of awesome agreement is done with the partners (see last bullet), Android’s success has now reverted mainly onto Google’s shoulders
  3. Google must to decide very fast what they want to be: a SW or HW-or both kind of company
  4. Google *must* keep the IP for the patent wars, and spinoff Motorola as a subsidiary — running a HW company is just a different kind of beast.
  5. While maintaining ownership of the new IP, Google shall give royalty-free access of the Motorola patent portfolio to Open Handset Alliance (OHA). This will 1) provide incentives to existing OHA partners, 2) provide incentives for new partners to join OHA, and 3) allow OHA and Android to continue its growth path and benefits to OHA partners

Pretty unexpected, but very interesting move by Google indeed. We are witnessing a major reshape of the mobile industry from software to hardware; from Nokia and Microsoft, to Goggle, Motorola, the impact on APAC-based device manufacturers, the operators, Apple, and so on.

This counter-offensive by Google will or should help battle the potential new costs to consumers due to patents wars. As a side note, now imagine how much innovation (and quality of innovation) would be possible if instead of having to spend so much cash on patents, instead it is invested on people, their research-and-ideas, and thus true innovation.


Update Aug 16, 1:30pm: Android partners “welcome” Google’s Motorola Mobility buy (VentureBeat). Very interesting to see Android partners are welcoming this. Maybe they were consulted? (unlikely). But it means that today they see the ROI and are so committed to Android that as long as Android itself is less risky (due to more IP protection), then they are OK with some competition. And/or maybe they don’t see Motorola itself as a real threat. If the latter changes where Motorola becomes a threat, we obviously will see a change of heart.

Update Aug 16, 2:30pm: Google: We Bought Motorola To “Protect” The Android Ecosystem (Business Insider)

Update Aug 22: Android vs Windows Phone 7: At least one handset maker thinking about it (GigaOM)

ceo

28 Oct

Motorola announces DROID, the world’s first smartphone powered by Android 2.0

Today I received this from the Motorola marketing folks, here for your reading pleasure:

Motorola today announced DROID, the first device powered by Android 2.0 and features the brainpower and breakneck speed of a modern smartphone. DROID is designed to outperform where other smartphones fall short. It features a solid exterior, intelligent interior and is one of the thinnest full-QWERTY slider phones available. DROID delivers high-speed Web browsing, voice-activated search, a customizable large touch screen and access to thousands of apps and hundreds of widgets from Android Market.

Key features of DROID include:

  • OS: Android 2.0
  • World’s thinnest slide-out QWERTY keyboard
  • 3G Web and full HTML browser
  • Cinematic 3.7” high-resolution display with more than 400,000 pixels
  • Powerful and fast Google voice-activated search
  • Run up to 6 apps simultaneously and customize the homescreen with thousands of apps and hundreds widgets from the Android Market
  • 5 megapixel camera with flash, DVD-quality video capture and 16GB memory card included
  • Integrated work and personal email pushed right to you
  • Google Maps Navigation (Beta) with free turn-by-turn directions

DROID by Motorola will be available Nov. 6 online and in stores from Verizon Wireless, nation’s largest and most reliable 3G network.

For more information, product specifications and images of DROID, please visit Motorola Media Center Fact Sheets. For multimedia assets visit DROID Press Kit.

To stay up to date with the latest product news and promotions, you can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Very nice piece indeed, and I can’t wait for such a device to be supported on T-Mobile. Note that it comes with native support for Exchange (which will give Android a big push in the Enterprise) and the new Google Maps Navigation application will definitely disrupt the current Navigation system market (with players such as TomTom, NAVTEQ and others; ouch!) with this new free app. More info below:

DROID by Motorola with Google™

Talk and Standby Time4

TT: 385 mins/6.4 hours

SB: 270 hours/11.25 days

Form Factor

Capacitive Touch; Full Qwerty Side Slider

Band/Modes1

800/1900, CDMA EVDO rev A

OS

Android 2.0

Weight

169 g / 6 oz

Dimensions

60.00 (x) x 115.80 (y) x 13.70 (z) mm

2.4 (x) x 4.6 (y) x 0.5 (z) inches

Browser1

Webkit HTML5 based browser; Flash 10 ready

Email Support1

GmailTM, Exchange, IMAP, POP, Macmail, GmailTM, MSN Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL®

Battery

1400 mAh

Connectivity1

Bluetooth® v2.1+EDR, 3.5mm Headset jack, USB 2.0 HS

Display

3.7”, 480×854 WVGA

Display Resolution

WVGA display houses 400,000 pixels

Messaging1

SMS/MMS, Full HTML5 Browser

Audio

AMR-NB/WB, MP3, WAV, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA

Video

Advanced Video record/playback at D1 resolution (720×480) with up to 24fps capture and 30fps playback, MPEG-4, H.263, H.264

Camera

5.0 megapixel, AutoFocus, dual LED Flash and image stablization

Memory

16GB card included in phone, Up to 32GB microSD expandable

Location Services1

aGPS, sGPS

Extras

802.11b/g, 3-axis accelerometer

ceo

30 Oct

Motorola, the Recession, Android, what about MIDP3, and the potential for good things to come

From Recession Delays Motorola Cellphone Spinoff, More Cuts Coming (MOT) (Sillicon Alley Insider):

8:24 Have had too much complexity. Today over 20 combinations of software, silicon, and UI platforms. This has resulted in high costs and portfolio gaps in 3G, smartphones, very low tier.
:
No longer planning to develop certain OSes. Will focus on Android, Windows Mobile, and P2K. ODM solutions for low and very low tier. Will no longer offer new OSes on internally developed Linux Java or Symbian UIQ. $370 million of charges on inventory write down.

The above is actually a very good thing. Focus, focus, focus. Less OSes translate to less maintenance overhead. And leveraging Open OSes mean leveraging others (i.e. cheaper) to build a high-quality product.

I think Android has fallen from the Sky and just at the right time for Motorola.

Motorola can focus on creating strong H/W pieces based on Android, while riding the Android wave and making things cheaper.

If I was Motorola, I would design a common platform, a foundation for all of their handsets, and drop all OSes except for one, Android, as it is (or should be) cheaper, it is based on Linux (and Motorola likes Linux), has a great UI (Motorola is not great at UIs), and leverages the Google infrastructure (GMail, Contacts, Maps, etc) allowing for highly functional handsets right out of the box. I would also use a powerful design company such as Frog Design for their industrial H/W design, and then concentrate on the manufacturing aspects.

I’ve the feeling positive things will be happening for Motorola, if they continue working on the right things: re-organizing and cutting costs/expenses, working on the right technologies, taking advantage of their strengths (manufacturing) and culture, and focus, focus, focus.

Last but not least, all of this begs the question: what is the future of MIDP3? Motorola is the MIDP3 spec lead, and the spec is pretty much ready to go, complete. But it seems for obvious reasons that MIDP3 is not on Motorola’s top/high priority list. Will Motorola drop MIDP3 or will Motorola have a MIDP3-runtime on top of Android? That would be interesting. Let’s wait and see.

ceo