Tag Archives: Motorola

What the Motorola deal means for Google TV

They’re a leading home device maker, and that’s also a big opportunity,” Google CEO Larry Page said of Motorola on Monday. “We’re working with them in the industry to really accelerate innovation.

By “accelerate innovation” Page means shoving free Google TV-enabled Motorola set-top boxes down the throats of consumers via the cable companies, and then claiming victory in market share over Apple.

They couldn’t sell the crappy Google TV to consumers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t bundle it to Comcast and Time Warner. Why improve the product into something people actually like when you can just buy the company that has all the licensing deals with providers? That way people will own a Google TV, whether they want one or not.

Same old Google.

Om Malik gets more details about the Motorola acquisition

The high-level talks between Google and Motorola started about five weeks ago. Google CEO Larry Page and Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha were talking directly, and only a handful of executives were brought into discussions. Our sources suggest that Android co-founder Andy Rubin was brought into the talks only very recently.

Like I said earlier, this move was more about defense than any sort of long-term mastermind plan, as suggested by the delusional Dan Lyons.

The short span of time suggests that this was a REACTION to losing the Nortel bid, not part of the Nortel original plans. And the fact that they didn’t even bring in their key Android executive until late in the process suggests that it was, as I said before, a gut reaction, rather than a well-considered tactical move. They are panicking over there, and it’s starting to show. Honeycomb 3.0 was a disaster. Google is gaining no traction in the tablet space. Mobile phone market share growth—the only stat where Google was clearly winning—has slowed (even after rigging the numbers by counting cheap Chinese knockoffs as Android phones.) Microsoft is clearly still trying to muscle its way into the space, and could even still carve a niche for itself, especially if it keeps trying to buy more of Google’s partners. And even with strong market share, Google is still making little money with the Android initiative.

This Motorola purchase could very well backfire on Google, or it could turn out well, if they play their cards right. The problem is, Google has never been any good at the cards.

So it all depends on whether Google is ready to take Android into the territory of a “walled garden” as so many like to call the Apple approach. Drop the other partners, start making “Google” phones for real. Didn’t work for the Nexus series, but then again, the most dedicated Android fans all say that the Nexus phones were better than anything else out there. Maybe they can pull that off, but I doubt it. Not without a retail strategy in place.

That does seem to be the eventual plan, though. The question is, what happens in the short term to Google’s numbers if HTC, Samsung, etc. see the writing on the wall and jump ship before Google can get a decent line of Motorola Android phones going?

And what will all those Google fanboys say when Android suddenly becomes available on only one brand of phones?

The most important thing we can take away from all of this is that Google is not playing on its own turf. It no longer controls Android’s destiny, if it ever did. Apple is still the only company in tech playing offense.

Motorola is not “devoted” to Android long-term

Motorola Mobility, which has been Google’s only major licensee fully committed to Android, is now working on a new web-based mobile operating system apparently intended to give it more control over its future, enraging Android advocates anew just weeks after Nokia opted against adopting Google’s mobile OS.

Word of Motorola’s new project was reported by Information Week, which attributed “a source familiar with the matter.”

While the company issued an email statement insisting that “Motorola Mobility is committed to Android as an operating system,” it did not deny that it was also working on its own competing mobile operating system project.

Translation: We don’t like the looks of Android’s future, particularly on tablets.

This is not surprising at all to me. Companies are finally coming around to the idea that trading Microsoft for Google is not a smart long-term strategy. If you want to succeed in the “Post-PC” era, as Apple calls it, you have to make the whole widget. Get the software and the hardware tightly integrated. Can’t do that when you let Google run the software side.

The only question is, when will someone out there succeed with an alternative operating system? I’d love to see Palm’s WebOS succeed, but they still seem to be severely lacking developer interest. I just don’t see any other companies out there with a credible track record in mobile software.

Was the Xoom the second or third “first real competitor” to the iPad?

Motorola will reportedly reduce orders for its Xoom tablet starting in the second quarter of 2011, and no orders are apparently scheduled past June, suggesting a Xoom successor and newer competitor to Apple’s iPad 2 is already in the works.

And so yet another tablet described by many pundits as “the first real competitor to the iPad” has flopped.

More and more evidence is stacking up to suggest that the iPad will be a LOT more like the iPod than the iPhone for Apple. In other words, a permanent 75-80% market share for Apple with few credible alternatives. Without the carriers, Android is going to have a hard time gaining any credibility in this space.

My favorite quote of today

The Xoom tablet is trim, light, and very pretty
… but when you place it next to the iPad 2, it looks as though it
was designed and built by angry Soviet prison labor instead of by
Motorola.

From Andy Ihnatko, of course.

Motorola Xoom reviews starting to pour in

right now it’s a small island in a sea of phone titles — and the majority of those titles do not look right on a 10.1-inch screen at this resolution.

Funny, I don’t remember anyone saying this last year when the iPad was released. Oh yeah, that’s because there were thousands of titles available at launch that were native. Because Apple released the SDK to developers long enough before the iPad shipped. Honeycomb is just getting to developers now.

But aside from the obvious lack of software, reviewers seem to be on the whole favorable towards the Xoom. And, as Gruber predicted, none that I’ve seen so far are mentioning the lack of Flash as something that could be helping the battery life on the review units.

And, it looks like the Android tablets will share at least one thing in common with Android phones: Every few months there will be a new one that makes the previous one look like a turd. Good way to build brand loyalty.

Prediction: few will be writing articles in defense of 7-inch tablets, now that this thing is out.

Motorola’s Xoom Flash support coming “a few weeks” after release. Hmmm.

Honeycomb is the first version of Android designed for tablets and is eagerly anticipated. Motorola’s Xoom tablet will launch on Thursday as the first to run the software, but initial versions won’t come with Flash support. Verizon, which is putting the device on sale, previously said Flash would be available in “spring 2011.”

The vague time reference had people fearing Flash wouldn’t be available until the end of the season, but a posting on Adobe’s blog points to a slightly earlier release.

“Consumers are clearly asking for Flash support on tablet devices and the good news is that they won’t have to wait long. We are aware of over 50 tablets that will ship in 2011 supporting a full web experience (including Flash support) and Xoom users will be among the first to enjoy this benefit,” wrote Matt Rozen, on Adobe’s Flash Platform Blog.

I have to agree with John Gruber on this one. The most likely reason why Motorola is shipping this thing without Flash installed is that they want the reviews to reflect “pre-Flash” battery life. Just hold off on shipping Flash by a few weeks, and the reviewers will most likely mention that Flash is “coming” but fail to report on the effect Flash will have on the battery, which is bound to be pretty big. Makes perfect sense to me.

And it ranks right up there with charging for a month of 3G data if you want to use WiFi. Some pretty desperate and slimy sales tactics on Motorola’s part.

When is somebody just going to build a legitimate device to compete with the iPad, instead of having to skirt around these tech spec lists and the fine print on price?