We previously discussed the Motorola Mobility purchase and the implications it had on patents, but we only just touched on the implications for hardware control. Now, in the aftermath of the announcement, analysts in a variety of tech industries have speculated what the move may signal for Android’s future. Most notably, some are pointing to the possibility of free or subsidized hardware.
This isn’t the first time this rumor has circulated; when the Nexus One was released, analysts thought much the same thing. The problem is that the Nexus One never gained much traction, probably because it wasn’t subsidized by the phone carriers – and was far from free. The Motorola line, on the other hand, is established and has carrier connections already. Control over the hardware in this regard would give access to carrier deals and brand reputation while allowing Google to further subsidize the cost of the “Google brand” phones to get them to customers for free.
We can also look at Google’s experiments in voice and internet technology; if Google wanted to offer a wholesale deal that gave users a carrier and device all at once, the Motorola deal certainly put them in a better position to do so.
However, that’s all pretty far off into the future, not to mention out of left field. The more important element of hardware control that many are ignoring is how this may speed along app development. The iPhone has been praised for its security and smooth app interface largely because Apple controls both the hardware and software elements. While Google has stated they’re interested in continuing to keep the platform open, having access to the hardware end will allow Google an armada of OS flagship opportunities, the ability to experiment with all level of their smartphones, and may give them a better setup for entering the tablet arena.