On a normal day, the fact that Mozilla have released Firefox 6 early, or that Twitter is now wrapping all shortened URLs in its t.co shortening service would be big news, well worth blogging about. These are good subjects and truly worthy of coverage, but unfortunately for them, they’re being swamped by a bigger story: Google have purchased Motorola Mobility for a reported $12.5 billion. I don’t know about you, but to me that’s a hell of a lot of money.
In a live blog shared by Techcrunch earlier today, Larry Page stated that Motorola would continue running as a separate business entity, and there was talk of Motorola Mobility still having a degree of “financial flexibility”, but to me all this says is that Google is getting serious about going head to head with Apple in the smartphone wars.
I’ll admit to a bit of bias here – I’m an Android user and will be sticking with it when my upgrade comes around, but one thing that Android’s never really had compared to Apple was a range of phones built purely around it. Sure, there have been a couple of Nexus phones, but if we’re honest, the people that built them (HTC for the Nexus One & Samsung for the Nexus S) have given Google less powerful versions of the models that they’ve kept for themselves. How does a HTC Desire stack up to a Google Nexus One, for example? Would you rather have the new Samsung Galaxy SII or a Google Nexus S? Exactly.
The Motorola purchase makes sense in this regard: Motorola already have a range of Android-based phones. I’m told that some of them are actually quite good too. If Google own this brand, it makes it less likely that they’ll low-ball them the way that previous manufacturers seem to have. We might actually see a cutting-edge Google phone next year. Or it’ll suck, either way, I’m sure it’ll be the best that Motorola can do.
Hopefully in the wake of this, Android will still stay free to be used on other platforms though. That’s what brought the platform to the dance and, in my opinion, at least, is what will keep its popularity rising. I love my HTC phone and I like some of the other Android manufacturers work – I hope I can keep my apps without having my choice of handset restricted when my next upgrade’s due.