- 1. Google couldn't handle the customer support. Although this isn'tsurprising for those who try to get customer support from any of theother free Google services, one would like to think that Google couldhave walked and chewed gum at the same time, compartmentalizing thisproduct. Or, more likely, it was just a terrible execution debacle onGoogle's side. I mean, simply offering telephone support, if nothingelse, is not rocket science.
- 2. Google was pressured, or easily bowed to, the carriers such asVerizon Wireless (a joint venture of Verizon Communications (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD)). Again, this seems like a flimsy argument, becauseother devices are also sold outside carrier channels. Apple (AAPL) will sell you an unlocked iPhone, and Nokia (NOK) will do the same. Although these unlocked devices haven't been that popular in the U.S., they can be sold, and U.S. carriers seem to have had nothing to fear here.
- A focus on what has set Motorola apart in recent months. Thismeans battery life. At 3,300 mAh, the Droid Razr Maxx is the onlyAndroid smartphone in the market today that provides remotelyacceptable battery life with a standard battery. With Apple's iPhone5 rumored to have a battery close to 3,000 mAh, Motorola would be wiseto go even higher than its current 3,300 mAh. Perhaps we will see a5,000 mAh smartphone soon! I think something like 3,300 mAh will be"standard" across all mid/high range Motorola smartphones, perhapswith one or two at 5,000.
- A focus on "pure Android." Most people are complaining todayabout the slow updates to Android, and the fact that most people don'tlike the "skins" that essentially all OEMs bake into proprietaryimplementations of Android. For example, HTC has "Sense", Samsung has"TouchWiz" and so forth. These skins are widely hated by the users,and Google (through its Motorola division) coulddifferentiate itself by at least offering "pure Android" on all of itsnew smartphones and tablets. This move alone could chop off the legsof all the other Android OEMs until they decide to copy.
- Chrome OS. Why wouldn't "the new Motorola" also make Chromebooks? After all, Motorola already makes keyboards designed for its Android devices. With Chrome OS being ported to run on the same kinds of ARM Holdings (ARMH) chips already driving Android, from companies such as Qualcomm (QCOM), NVIDIA (NVDA) and Texas Instruments (TXN), it would be all that much easier to do.
- Actually, Motorola has also signed up to be one of the firstproviders of Intel (INTC)-based Androids, shortly after Lenovo and a fewother smaller players. That being the case, just as it makes sensefor Motorola to offer Chromebooks based on its current Android siliconproviders -- Qualcomm, NVIDIA and Texas Instruments -- it would alsomake sense to offer the whole line of Android and Chromebooks based onIntel. In other words, Google/Motorola should simply offer everyproduct -- smartphone, tablet and laptop -- on all four major siliconproviders here: Intel, Qualcomm, NVIDIA and Texas Instruments.
How many basic SKUs does that mean? Well, three basic form factors,four silicon providers... that's twelve just for starters. And ofcourse, each basic form factor will be sold in multiple variants, soof course Motorola will offer a lot more than 12 high-end SKUs inthese three basic categories combined.
What would be the reaction if Google offered "pure Android" versionsof Motorola smartphones and tablets from Intel, Qualcomm, Nvidia andTexas Instruments, as well as Chromebooks based on the same foursilicon providers? Consumers would rejoice! OEMs such as Samsung,LG, Sony, HTC and others? They would feel very threatened, andlegitimately so. Maybe some would jump further into Microsoft's arms. Maybe someone would acquire RIM. Maybe they would just sit tight with apoker face and continue without change in strategy. Who knows. Thestrategic implications of Google going vertical (as a result of theMotorola acquisition) have yet to play out.
- That's Google's strategic move on the device side. But if you'reGoogle, why stop there? Why not sell all of these products directly,in addition to the cellular carriers? Google can sell all of thesesmartphones, tablets and Chromebooks contract-free, SIM-unlocked, inaddition to distributing them -- subsidized or unsubsidized --through all cellular carriers and third-party distributors such asAmazon.com (AMZN) and Best Buy (BBY). Perhaps this would persuade U.S. consumersthat it's in their holistic interest to buy unsubsidized in order tobe able to switch carriers and stay flexible.