Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a deal more than nine months in the making, has finally been approved. The Mountain View-based search giant announced its plans to acquire Motorola’s smartphone and tablet business last August, and just recently promised to keep Android free and open for at least five years in order to secure regulatory approval from China.
Google CEO Larry Page announced the news in a post on The Official Google Blog on Tuesday morning. Page also revealed that Sanja Jha, the CEO of Motorola Mobility, has stepped down, handing over the reins to Dennis Woodside. Until today, Woodside was Google’s President of the Americas region. He was also responsible for building the company’s business in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
As SplatF notes, “Motorola will be Google’s most interesting project yet.” The company is known for its search and advertising business–which paved the way for its popular ad-supported online services–but it is new to hardware. The deal also potentially puts Google at odds with its other Android manufacturers. It will be most interesting to see how things play out.
[The Official Google Blog]
Money makes the world go round, or so we hear. And while Google Wallet is a service that revolves around money more than most, so far not much money has been changing hands—any hands. According to business reports, Google is now contemplating paying carriers to adopt its Wallet payment service. Transversely, not-yet-launched ISIS has been promised $100 million in backing by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile—the same carriers currently spurning Google. Coincidence? I think not.
Google Wallet’s adoption has been tepid at best, mostly because only Sprint supports it, and only on two phones, though 12 more are set for release this year. The Galaxy Nexus was set to be a breakthrough, being a marque device on the US’ biggest carrier, but Verizon nipped that one in the bud. According to Verizon there were “technical difficulties.” The much more likely reason is that Verizon has an exclusive, technical contract with ISIS.
So what does this mean for the future of using our phones as ATMs? We’ll most likely see this adaptation become more and more regular in the upcoming years, but unless Google really pulls out the stops before ISIS’ mid-year release, it most likely won’t be through Google Wallet.
Google’s marketing department has put together a rather interesting study on us smartphone users, what we do, and—more importantly—how other companies can make money off of us. The study focused on six major markets, namely the USA, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and Japan, with research done alongside marketing think-tank Ipsos.
To get straight to the heart of the matter, currently 24%-40% of users in the studied markets have made a purchase from a smartphone, with Japan leading the way. Furthermore, it appears that once you take the taste, it’s hard to go back. In all of the studied markets, 50% of purchasers become return purchasers on at least a monthly basis. In Spain, 64% became monthly customers, with 15% making smartphone purchases at least once a week.
The wide range of numbers and stats offer an intriguing look at the mobile marketplace and advertising realm. For instance, 26% of French smartphone owners say they bring their phones with them to compare prices and get product info at brick and mortar stores. Americans have proven to love multi-tasking, with 81% doing double-duty with their smartphone and other forms of media.
Not to be left out, search reigned supreme. The least mobile search-inclined nation was Germany where a measly 92% of smartphone users have opened a mobile search. What do the other 8% use their “smartphones” for? Phone calls? Japan was once again the leader at 99%.
Google has been going on a programming binge lately, updating its Android apps like there’s no tomorrow. First we had asynchronous texts added to Google Voice, which we covered yesterday in this article, and now we have an equally major update to Google+. Google’s announcement most proudly touts “massive performance improvements” which, while undefined, are readily felt on my Android 2.3.x Gingerbread DROID X2.
While the performance updates may take the spotlight, they are far from alone on the podium. Joining the metal winners in this update are the addition of a “What’s Hot” tab to your stream, and the ability to view exactly who +1’d a post or comment. Continuing on with the list, we have stream posts that have been shortened to stuff more in posts in a smaller amount of screen real estate, resulting in fewer scrolls, and the ability to have unlimited photos in the “from your circles” feed.
Rounding out this mega-update, in last place but certainly not least, your stream will never again jump to the top for an automatic refresh-a very necessary change. This update, as well as the Google Voice update, is not standalone, but rather an obvious concerted effort by Google to better its offerings. In the mobile realm alone, this week saw the release of Chrome for Android, the aforementioned Google Voice for Android update, and this update to Google+ for Android. Not a bad week’s worth of work.
[Android Market via AndroidAuthority]
Google’s proposed takeover of Motorola Mobility, which would give Google unfettered access to all of Motorola’s patents, is about to clear two of its biggest hurdles according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Reuters. Today Reuters announced that European regulators are ready to clear the deal in regards to antitrust laws. This decision comes right up against the February 13 deadline.
Making this weekend that much sweeter for Google is a similar report from the WSJ, stating that US Justice Department has made is decision and will allow the buyout to proceed. According to the WSJ and Reuters, all that remains is for the authorities to make their decisions public and official. More official and public than leaks to two major news outlets? Not sure how that one works, but let it happen!
Since last August there has been much talk and heated discussion regarding Google’s proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Many important questions have been flying around, such as, is this the end of open-source Android? Will Motorola receive vastly superior treatment? Will Google actually license its soon-to-be massive mobile patent library? And most importantly, is this even legal?
If these reports on the US and EU decisions pan out, as I expect they will, this is still not the final hurdle for the deal. It is only the first, thanks to the perils of our modern global economy, but arguably the biggest. China has until March 20 to approve the deal; Israel and Taiwan also have yet to give their blessing. But with the US and UK stamping their approval, Google is likely to have relatively smooth sailing from here.
[Reuters | WSJ via The Verge]
Google has–finally–updated its back-end to support multiple calendars on Windows Phone. The Mango update added support for multiple calendars for Exchange and Windows Live accounts, but Google users were still limited to a single primary calendar. Thankfully, this issue has been rectified.
Strangely, multiple calendars aren’t enabled by default. Most services surface all of the calendars on the phone and let the user choose which to enable or disable in the Windows Phone Calendar settings. Google, however, requires that users manually enable each secondary calendar before it appears on the device.
To enable multiple Google calendars, navigate to http://m.google.com/sync on your Windows Phone, log in, and select “WindowsPhone.” From here, you can check each calendar you’d like to see on your device. Google has added other options as well, like “Enable ‘Send Mail As’ for this device” and “Enable ‘Delete Email As Trash’ for this device.”
It’s nice to see Google provide better support for its users on Windows Phone. The search giant’s Android platform leads the competition by a significant margin, but Windows Phone is expected to become very popular as well.
[Google Mobile Help via Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows]