Eric Schmidt Admits Motorola Deal for Hardware, as Well as for Patents

Posted by at 9:31 am on September 5, 2011

Google chairman Eric Schmidt in the same Dreamforce interview where he complimented Steve Jobs also acknowledged that the buyout of Motorola was intended to get hardware. Although the company had at first characterized it as a patent deal where Motorola hardware would be kept at arm’s length, Schmidt said that the buyout was for “more than just patents.” There were appealing aspects to its Android smartphones and tablets that the company wanted to have.

“The Motorola team has some amazing products,” he said.

While the chairman wouldn’t discuss it, leaks have hinted that Google was aiming for a more iPhone-style integration than what Google can do so far. Nexus phones, and likely the upcoming Droid Prime or Nexus Prime, have Google’s influence on the hardware but ultimately put much of the control in the partner’s hands. Google could both make its own Nexus as well as any tier of phone it wanted.

Software is also likely a main concern. Google has publicly been accepting of custom interfaces as reflecting the choice in Android, but it may be increasingly frustrated at how few phone and tablet makers want to make a pure Android device. Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and others regularly say they want to “differentiate” their phones but often end up producing custom interfaces with mixed results. Motorola could be the first hardware designer to make stock Android a policy instead of insisting on custom work.

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