Ever since Google originally bought Motorola a few years ago, the Android community was expecting the rise of a Google-ran, Google-owned handset manufacturer to deliver the best Android phone there ever was. This was no less apparent than in the raft of rumors that surrounded the Moto X before release, sorry, the “X Phone”. Still though, time and time again we were told of a “firewall” between the two companies and that Motorola was to be treated the same as any other OEM. More than likely in order not to upset the careful balance Google had in play with HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony et al. Despite the fact that the Moto X and Moto G suspiciously leveraged stock Android like no other device on shelves, there was apparently no special treatment at all.
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Speaking this past week at a low-key presser in Barcelona, Steve Horowitz, SVP of Software Engineering, had this to say: “Google wanted us to be successful, but never needed us to. I wish we had a special relationship with the Android team but before meetings I waited in the lobby like everyone else. We got treated like any other OEM. Google was very careful to not give us any special treatment.” That’s perhaps the key to what happened with Motorola, the way in which Android works for Google means they don’t need to have a teacher’s pet for a handset manufacturer. It’s all about the many, rather than the few. Which has proved pretty successful for Google thus far.
Instead, the Moto X and Moto G were genuine products from Motorola, by Motorola. Citing open-ears when it came to customer feedback, the company detailed changes that were made in order to make a great Android device, such as negating “useless changes” in the software. Which in turn helps Motorola lead the pack when it comes to Android updates, with the KitKat update hitting the Moto X just 19 days after its release. Before now, that sort of speed was unheard of.
So, it genuinely seems that the relationship between Google and Motorola wasn’t a very close one. This is hardly surprising though, after all Google couldn’t turn their back on the Open Handset Alliance and treat Motorola like their favorite. That’d throw the whole Android ecosystem into disarray, and I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that I’m glad Motorola continued to operate on their two feet. Here’s hoping for a bright future under the guiding wing of Lenovo, a large company that has the scale and distribution channels that will help Motorola going forward.