As you’ve likely heard, Google is buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash. They’re doing so to “supercharge Android,” but after listening to the conference call, this acquisition is more about patents than it is about hardware; but that’s good for you, the consumer, because as you might have heard, Android’s future has become a bit uncertain because of the bevy of lawsuits against Android and Android partners.
Motorola Mobility has around 17,000 patents. And now, Google will gain those patents (as long as this acquisition meets regulatory approval), which will be of huge value when it comes time to deal with patent lawsuits. Since all Android partners are in a similar boat when it comes to Android hardware and software, having Google take ownership of such a robust portfolio of patents means that the future of Android is much more secure.
What does this mean in terms of actual device releases? You might notice, once this deal closes, that device releases from Motorola are quickened, and that the resulting devices are a bit more advanced, as Android engineers work directly with those of Motorola to couple software with hardware. But at the same time, Google won’t work to make Motorola the number one purveyor of Android hardware by giving it a lot of extra attention; doing so would alienate Samsung, HTC, LG, and the many other Android OEMs, which are incredibly valuable to the Android ecosystem.
In terms of carriers, look for Verizon to benefit the most, as their line of Droid devices are made mostly by Motorola.
So wrapping things up, this acquisition doesn’t do much for the consumer. Motorola Mobility will continue to operate as a separate entity from Google. At most, it means that Android is definitively here to stay, and we might see some faster release cycles from Motorola in upcoming quarters.