Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Larry Page said the company is continuously working to keep all of its Android hardware partners happy, and that the search giant will continue to innovate around its mobile platform. However, Page stopped short of saying that the company will produce a Nexus-branded device through Motorola Mobility, the Android OEM it acquired earlier this year.
In an extensive interview with Fortune, Page expounded on Android, how Google is monetizing the platform and what might be coming next in the company's Nexus line of devices, which are designed to showcase the "pure" Google Android software experience.
Page said Google couldn't have produced a Nexus device with Motorola this year, since Google only completed its $12.5 billion purchase of the company in May. "First of all, I don't think there's any physical way we could have released a Nexus Motorola device in that sense," he said. "I mean, we haven't owned the company long enough."
LG Electronics produced the new Nexus 4 smartphone, while Asustek produced the Nexus 7 tablet, which Google unveiled in June, and Samsung Electronics made the larger Nexus 10 tablet, which Google announced in October alongside the Nexus 4. A report from the Wall Street Journal earlier this year indicated Google was expanding the Nexus program to multiple OEMs.
Page said that the right way to think about the Nexus program "is how do we get amazing products into users' hands in the most cost-effective, highest quality way possible and to the most people. That's what we do as a business, and that's what we've done with Android."
He said the Nexus program is designed to showcase Android, and that how those devices are produced and how the software is released is an evolving process. However, Page said the goal is to ensure all Android partners are happy.
"Every day we kind of evaluate how do we help our partners out the right way, how do we produce amazing innovative devices, and how do we get those out, and how do we get that innovation into the ecosystem and into the hands of as many people as possible, and how do we keep our partners happy," he said. "I think we've done a pretty good job of that so far."
In October Google indicated that revenue from its mobile business was running at an $8 billion annualized rate, with the bulk of that coming from advertising. That figure was up from $2.5 billion Google measured in 2011, though the 2012 figure included all the content Google sells through its Play store.
Page said Google placed an early bet on Android. "We thought that the mobile experiences really needed a rethink, right? That was correct. It's been very successful. And I think because of that experience and the knowledge that we put into developing Android and our understanding that, we understand that space really well," he said. "I think we're in the early stages of monetization. The fact that a phone has a location is really helpful for monetization."
Separately, Google's Motorola announced that Flextronics will acquire Motorola's manufacturing operations in Tianjin, China, and will also assume the management and operation of its manufacturing plant in Jaguariuna, Brazil. The deal is expected to close sometime in the first half of 2013, and financial terms were not disclosed. The agreement also includes a manufacturing and services agreement for Android and other mobile devices.
The announcement comes a day after Motorola said it will shut down its mobile development and operations in South Korea and will cut most of its staff in the country next year. The actions are part of Google's plan to slim down Motorola after acquiring the company earlier this year.
- see this Fortune article
- see this Engadget article
- see this release
- see this CNET article
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