Google just announced that it is acquiring Motorola Mobility (reportedly for $12.5 billion). This could be really good news for the end-to-end user experience in the Android platform. Google is also committing to keep the Android platform open. To quote the blog post :
This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business.
I see this as Google taking a cautious step in the right direction in the whole debate on “Open” vs “Integrated”. It’d be great if Google can find the perfect balance, but if it can’t, I’d much rather it move towards Integrated rather than staying open.The mobile (and tablet) industry is converging on a single playbook for succeeding in the post-PC era. It involves hardware and software from the same vendor, providing a rich user experience. This is the third of the marriages of hardware + software vendor, following RIM’s purchase of QNX, HP’s purchase of Palm for WebOS.
This is really good news for users and developers alike. The one recurring theme in the Top 10 things that I hate about Android was fragmentation. Assuming that Google provides a strong baseline implementation, this will force other manufacturers to follow suit otherwise, over time, only Google’s phone will be selling.
This could also mean that Xoom 2 (or 3), might be a good viable alternative to iPad 2. Right now, it doesn’t even come close, but with a converged OS for mobile and tablet (Ice-cream sandwich), and hardware from the same vendor, and with Android’s reach, we might very well be looking at 2012 as the year of the iPad competitor.
Good luck Google!