Google’s Motorola acquisition is all over the press, and represents an interesting shift in the mobile landscape. I’ve frequently discussed the changing mobile landscape on these pages, and despite my current enjoyment of the Apple i-products, Google and its Android OS are emerging as the ones to beat in the mobile space.
Until recently, Android’s biggest strength, its adaptability to a large variety of devices, was also a handicap that resulted in incompatibilities between devices. While this is still hurting Android in the tablet space, the kinks are largely becoming ironed out in the smartphone form factor (although still hitting hiccups in the tablet arena). With Google directly owning a hardware manufacturer, this gives them the ability to push new, and potentially more risky innovations on the Android platform.
I don’t think there’s as much risk as some are speculating about Google making enemies of its customers; most of these customers also use archrival Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, so in essence they are all ready less chummy than some would have you believe.
For CIOs, competition is going to be a good thing in the mobile space, and as companies increasingly look to the cloud for applications, a cloud-centric mobile operating system will be key. Google’s expanded ability to deliver exciting hardware alongside other Android-based manufacturers should be a win for IT departments and push the industry as a whole, just as Apple knocked the pants off companies like RIM and Microsoft when the iPhone first arrived on the scene. Again, while I’m currently happy in my Apple-centric mobile world, Google’s tribe of manufacturers is iterating and innovating faster than Apple, and rapidly learning from earlier missteps. With direct access to a hardware manufacturer and some “litigation insurance” on the patent front, from an IT perspective, this acquisition looks like a strong win.