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

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