Google – Motorola Not Locked for Nexus

Posted by at 11:28 am on August 15, 2011

Google in the call discussing its buyout of Motorola took further care to downplay concerns about it locking down the platform. Despite now having a hardware maker of its own, other companies would still have the option of bidding to make Nexus phones, as they have before. Concerns had existed that it would automatically grant Motorola the Nexus deal and leave partners like HTC (Nexus One) and Samsung (Nexus S) to fend for themselves.

While not a guarantee of strong sales, the Nexus devices are showcases for the latest Android features and can give the company behind them a higher profile and a head start on the latest hardware and software features. This year, the halo product will be a model using Ice Cream Sandwich and might come from Samsung again.

Alongside the phone strategy, Google noted that it has the support of at least four other major Android manufacturers for the deal. The leaders of the mobile divisions at HTC, LG, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson have all provided official statements supporting the deal. Oddly, however, all are using boilerplate statements and make the exact same mention of “defending Android and its partners,” suggesting that Google had coached them on their responses more than most companies do.

The Motorola buyout will give Google a direct stake in patent disputes by controlling a company that directly profits from Android and should, in theory, help hardware partners. Competitors may still have long-term reasons to be concerned, though, as Google is still likely to privilege Motorola for new OS versions and support over a company like HTC or Samsung.

Regulators may likewise not care about others’ support. FTC investigators are already looking into Google’s control over Android rights and may be concerned that it will have even tighter control over devices and what others are allowed to do in software.

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