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Google Buys Motorola - Is This The Start Of Something Special?.

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Epiphany Search

As part of my role, as the Epiphany Expert for mobile, I keep track of what the major players are doing. In one of my videos last year, and again this month, I talk about Google's acquisition of Motorola. It's a pretty dense subject, so I thought I'd expand on my comments in the video with a blog post.

As part of my role, as the Epiphany Expert for mobile, I keep track of what the major players are doing. In one of my videos last year, and again this month, I talk about Google's acquisition of Motorola. It's a pretty dense subject, so I thought I'd expand on my comments in the video with a blog post.

Last summer, Google announced it would be buying Motorola Mobility, the phone-producing half of the American mobile phone company, for almost £8 billion. Last month, the deal finally went through, after being approved by the US, European and Chinese trading commissions. Motorola had enjoyed a period in the early 2000s when it was up there with the best mobile phones in the world, with the RAZR still holding the title of the biggest selling clamshell phone of all time. As the noughties rolled on, it lost ground to its competitors and, in 2009, adopted the Android operating system for its new Droid phone. So Motorola has been an active partner of Google over the last few years, but does Google's new purchase mean that we can expect a brand-new Google phone any time soon? Google's track record with hardware hasn't been outstanding, with the Chromebooks from Acer and Samsung not making a big impact in the market and the Google Nexus phones from HTC and Samsung similarly disappointing. It seems likely that a dedicated Google phone, optimised for the latest version of Android, will appear on the horizon soon. What does this mean for HTC, Samsung and the other phone manufacturers that use Android? Should they be worried that Google will start ignoring them and treating Motorola as their preferred phone manufacturer? It remains to be seen whether Google will turn its back on those phone manufacturers, as they provide an excellent income in their core business, which is search. By using Android, they are more tied in to Google's ecosystem which will encourage users to use Google's maps, search and navigation apps. There are also rumours that Facebook will make a bid for Nokia to create a dedicated Facebook Phone, which seems far-fetched but would put another big software company in charge of hardware. Traditionally, companies stick with one or the other: manufacturing hardware requires different skills to producing code for software. Apple, HP, IBM and Microsoft are some of the other companies that do both, and Apple are the only one that have runaway success in both areas. So will Google be producing top-of-the-range iPhone-killers? Well, I've no doubt they'll be using Motorola to at least showcase some of the features of Android that other manufacturers may be slow to pick up on, but I'm afraid that the real reason for the deal may be something more mundane: patents. Motorola has 17,000 patents for hardware and in the constant battle between Google, Apple, Microsoft and the other phone manufacturers, patents are king. Google's purchase of Motorola will give them a slightly stronger foothold in the back and forth between the big players in the mobile world. Would you buy a Google phone? How about a Facebook phone? Or are you waiting for the long-awaited iPhone 5? Let me know @chris5marsh