Google, Motorola must capitalize on regulatory win to battle Apple's iPad

Google, Motorola must capitalize on regulatory win to battle Apple's iPad

Summary: The US Department of Justice and European Commission have okayed Google's planned $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Now the two have to work together -- and fast -- to bbring Android 4.0 to Motorola's Xoom and XyBoard and whatever other Android tablet platform that can grab some share against Apple's iPad.


Governmental clearance of Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility -- both here and across the pond -- is no doubt a big win for the open source Android operating system. But it's no slam dunk.

Google and its new hardware device arm must get more serious in the tablet wars. Unlike Motorola's roster of Android-based smartphones, Motorola's Xoom tablet has competed poorly against Apple's iPad.

And iPad 3 is getting set to debut.

Motorola won't say exactly when Xoom will get Google's Android 4.0 update, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. A spokesman for Verizon confirmed that all of these devices are expected to get the update -- Droid Bionic, Droid Razr, HTC Rezound, Spectrum by LG, Droid Xyboard, Motorola Xoom and Droid 4 -- but he doesn't known when.

Motorola, for its part, has said it is working to deliver the ICS upgrade for DROID RAZR and Motorola RAZR in the first half of 2012.

The Xoom? Xyboard? So far, nada news on those releases.

This is all Motorola Mobility has said:

"We are planning to upgrade DROID RAZR™ by Motorola, Motorola RAZR™, Motorola XOOM™ (including MOTOROLA XOOM™ Family Edition) and DROID BIONIC™ by Motorola to Ice Cream Sandwich. We will provide more precise guidance on timing after post-public push of Ice Cream Sandwich by Google, as well as any possible additions to this list of devices."

Now that the US Department of Justice and European Commission have okayed the deal, Google and Motorola need to act fast.

First, Google must be careful not to stifle tablet innovation by restricting or delaying access to ANY Android 4.0 code to Motorola Mobility's rivals. Heck, Samsung beat everyone to the punch.

That being said, ICS is a big deal and Motorola -- with Google's supercharged backing -- ought to get something out the door fast. Really fast.

Young generations of users -- my four-year-old included -- are already adept at the iPad in a Droid heavy home. Google could lose the tablet war -- and the smartphone war, for that matter -- if the resulting merger slows down the Android product delivery cycle.

"Ice Cream Sandwich brings an entirely new look and feel to Android. It has a redesigned user interface with improved multi-tasking, notifications, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC support and a full web browsing experience. With Ice Cream Sandwich, Android has been rethought and redesigned to be simple, beautiful and useful," noted David Rothschild, a senior vice president of software and services at Motorola Mobility, which spun off from Motorola last year. " Ice Cream Sandwich introduces innovations such as Face Unlock to unlock your phone, a Data Manager to control your network data usage, and advanced multimedia and imaging features. Ice Cream Sandwich also provides developers with new APIs, unified U.I for phones and Tablets, and improved performance by enabling developers to leverage hardware graphic acceleration."



Great. So let's get moving, Google and Motorola. You've got the platform, the patents, the legal clearance and the innovation. But don't let the bureaucracy and legalities of a merger blow your windows of opportunity. Time could be slipping on the tablet front.

Topics: Security, Android, Mobility, Laptops, iPad, Hardware, Google, Emerging Tech, Apple, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Google, Motorola must capitalize on regulatory win to battle Apple's iPad

    gee you sound like a fanboy too whats up?
    • RE: Google, Motorola must capitalize on regulatory win to battle Apple's iPad

      I found the article very interesting actually. What's your problem?
      Nathan A Smith
  • A nice pep talk

    However, Apple is not Google's only adversary in the tablet wars. There's also Amazon with their 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet and, very likely, a 10-inch form-factor tablet later this year. And Microsoft, with their forthcoming WOA tablet with Office 15 which will include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

    Android-based tablets manufactured by OHA members are quickly becoming boxed in by Apple and Microsoft at the high-end and Amazon at the low end. It will be interesting to watch it all unfold.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: Google, Motorola must capitalize on regulatory win to battle Apple's iPad

      @Rabid Howler Monkey
      I'd hardly call MS's market performance of anything featuring the Metro interface as boxing anything in except their own profits. And the Kindle runs Android with the Amazon app store offering another outlet for Android developers which are the people that will really make or break the platform.
      Nathan A Smith
      • News flash!

        @Nathan A Smith This blog article was a pep talk for Google. Amazon is not a member of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) and is a competitor of Google's. In fact, Amazon is using Google's Android open-source releases against Google and it's OHA partners.<br><br>And with regard to Microsoft, don't underestimate the importance of Microsoft Office apps on tablets. It certainly won't matter to all tablet users, but it will matter to many. And expect Microsoft to port Word, Excel and PowerPoint to the iPad, which is kicking Android-based tablets to the curb in the enterprise, *long* before they ever do so for Android-based tablets.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Google's demise now a reality

    Having been through 5 years of hell due to a major merger of companies and cultures, I see what will be happening to Google over the next couple years. It ain't pretty.

    The two companies have radically different cultures. Google's very proud that the average IQ is 10 points above the average of Motorola. Google is an advertising company, Motorola is a manufacturing company. Google is very free form, Motorola is old school.

    Worst is that Google will be making billions while Motorola loses it's @$$ because manufacturing is low margin, and Android, because it is a fungible asset, allows no margin.

    On the other hand, Google will suffer the same fate all hardware manufacturers using Android. With no margins, Motorola will continue to suck Google dry and never turn a dime.

    I wonder if Google will ever recover the development costs, legal costs, motorola costs, continuing motorola operational costs and everything else related to Android.

    I guess we'll find out in a year or two . . . . . . .
    • RE: Google, Motorola must capitalize on regulatory win to battle Apple's iPad

      @Cynical99 I think Motorola is a platform for Google, and it does not need to be profitable. Soon it will be reduced to a designing and engineering facility like Apple and working closely with Google engineers will make them come up with better products. The financial should matter always, but in this case, the patent pool and the leverage on the home TVs will more than suffice for the business case.
    • RE: Google, Motorola must capitalize on regulatory win to battle Apple's iPad


      Yeah, except as Google has already stated, Motorola will be run as a separate entity so don't worry your pretty little head over it.
      Nathan A Smith
    • RE: Google's demise now a reality

      @Cynical99 Have you shorted Google yet?

      P.S. Shame on you for not acknowledging Trap.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: Google, Motorola must capitalize on regulatory win to battle Apple's iPad


      I find that I agree with you on several points.

      Google needs to keep Motorola as a seperate unit from what is now Google. Motorola needs to USE Android, not CONTROL Android.

      Google also need to avoid the trap that almost killed Sony. Remember that Motorola is the Tail of this merger, not the Dog. Universal was failing, and then took over Sony after the Merger, and continued the failing ways.

      Much the same thing happened when Caldera Linux bought the SCO Unix operation. Suddenly Linux was out and Caldera became SCO. They then continued the practices that had already failed.

      Motorola has long had a habit of very high stakes gambling on very far out projects that don't get enough funding or consideration, and so fail miserably. There are several Motorola Plants near where I live, and I talk to people who work there. Motorola management has every few years bet the farm on some outlandish plan to create an entire new market, without finding out if there is a demand for that market. Then, the company almost goes broke. The Engineers and manufacturing personnel take several years pulling the company back from the brink, then the management does it all over again.

      Over the past ten years, between Space Phones (at $1000/minute) and cell phone networks for Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa (Which were 'chartered' under the direction of Government people in those areas, and were funded but not controlled by Motorola, with no actual product ever built, though Billions disappeared.)

      Google just needs to let the Engineers and Production people at Motorola go with goals of inexpensive quality. Replace the high level dreamers, and have good accountants. Motorola can pay it's own way, and the Engineers will continue to churn out real patents and new products.

      Close Control of Motorola by Google will estrange Google's partners like HTC and Samsung, and could result in Google going the rout of Motorola by letting the 'Bet it all on Something Fantastic' crowd waste Googles money as they have already wasted Motorola's. Something I sincerely hope I never see.