Google may have influenced Motorola’s software choices, but its hardware impact is still to come

Daniel Bader

January 23, 2013 6:07pm

During Google’s quarterly earnings call yesterday, CEO Larry Page promised three things specifically mobile-related. The first was an increased in mobile ad revenue in 2013, an essential benchmark in determining the future success of the company. The second was a promise that increased Nexus 4 production would lead to more availability in the coming weeks. This has been promised since early December, but we have reasons to believe the drought is almost over.

The third snippet was perhaps the most interesting, and relates to its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola. Google claims that, though it has been able to positively influence Motorola’s Android skin since its acquisition in early 2012, it has yet to have any effect on its hardware output. That is because designs and internal specifiations are in the pipeline 12-18 months before the product is released, and Google has only really been in control of Motorola’s mobile division for six months.

The company’s mobile division posted a modest loss of $353 million on revenue of $1.51 billion; red ink declined from the previous quarter, but so did overall revenue. Google’s promise was to assert more influence over Motorola’s consumer product lines over the next year to 18 months, the first of which could be the rumoured X Phone expected to be announced.

Google’s CFO Patrick Pichette promises that he is not in the business of keeping Motorola unprofitable. “We are not in the business of losing money on Motorola,” he said on the call, deflecting the past two quarters as aberrations. But whether Motorola will ever again be able to climb to the top of the charts in a world dominated by Apple and Samsung remains to be seen. It’s not so much that Motorola doesn’t make good products, even today; its RAZR HD was one of our top picks for 2012 and claimed the best battery life of any smartphone we tested under 5-inches. Motorola’s tasteful and evolutionary Android UI has consistently improved over the past year, and we’re expecting great things from the upcoming RAZR HD and ATRIX HD Jelly Bean updates.

Things are unlikely to improve on Motorola’s ledger for the next couple quarters, but under Google’s tutelage at least we know things can’t get worse.

Via: The Verge

  • Alex

    That’s some great news!

  • Sean

    I can seriously see the X phone being something amazing. Google has shows with the Nexus 4 they are not afraid of competing with the high end devices that the OEM’s make. Also Motorola is known for really good batteries in their devices and it seems like Google wants to improve this even more.

  • mark

    read more about blackberry 10

  • Ben

    ‘Drought’, not ‘Draught’

    • gnote

      Go easy Ben, it’s Daniel after all… what else would you expect?

  • zzZZzz

    Moto needs to stop with prefixes and suffixed for the RAZR brand. The Atrix doesn’t have the best reputation either considering the first one was a flop.

    New brand and more marketing it’s what Moto needs. I’m not the type of person that spends time watching TV so for me it’s mostly radio or billboards or internet ads. Can’t remember hearing about Moto, but for sure remember Galaxys.

  • deltatux

    Great to see Google has great plans for Motorola. Would like to see Motorola bounce back but I think its bad image that it gained through the years is hard to dispel.

  • Miknitro

    This is kind of exciting, I thought Google was going to let Moto stay it’s own course,which didn’t look good to me.
    If they are getting in elbow deep,yay for future Moto products and us as consumers.

  • Henaway

    I still have my original Motorola Milestone. It’s not compatible with my new carrier, but it still runs just fine. Only real ‘problem’ is that after a few years, the battery doesn’t hold up as long as it used to – and it used to go DAYS on a charge. Moto used to be an incredibly strong brand in the cell world. They let themselves fade into obscurity through a series of lackluster products and poor software updates. They can rise again, and Google can make it happen. If the X Phone can be a truly premium product with proper updates and great battery life, they can win people back. If they can run with that ‘unbreakable’ idea, they can own the universe. Kevlar and Willow Glass maybe? Flexible display? Curious to see what they actually come out with. Good luck Google!

  • Kid.Canada

    If the next Nexus is Motorola with a big screen (4.7-5″) and battery (3000 or 3300mAh) I’d buy it in a heartbeat even if the price goes up a bit due to screen size and battery. Make it happen Google!!

  • Collije

    Moto has the best radios / call quality, and usually has good hardware (their screens need improvement I admit, and please don’t continue sealed batteries). I expect some big things from Moto in the next 2 years mobile-wise

  • feadin

    I have an Atrix HD, and since it was updated to Jelly Bean, it’s been really smooth and battery life has improved. I really like it!

  • Breezy

    Moto should be one of manufacturers of Nexus devices.

  • rspear

    Meh, I’m more enthused about tizen and Ubuntu development. That is great news for all consumers.

  • Piff

    All I need to see is Nexus Maxx.