Opinion: Why Google Shouldn’t Make Its Own Phone

Opinion: Why Google Shouldn’t Make Its Own Phone

According to Business Insider, Google has bigger plans for Motorola than just hoarding Moto’s patents. BI is saying Google now wants to use Motorola’s team to create its own Google smartphones and tablets, meaning Google doesn’t just want to make another Nexus One, it wants to make its own phone. That would be a very, very bad idea.

No One Would Be Happy

Once upon a time, if Google decided to make its own phone hardware and control its own software, it would’ve been seen as smart. Hell, maybe even romantic. Aww, the colourful company taking control and making its own phones for its scrappy mobile OS. Not anymore. Doing that now would end up poorly for pretty much everyone. Yes, Android has its fair share of problems (hello, fragmentation!) that streamlining with one partner could help address, but isn’t that the purpose of Nexus already? The Nexus phones serve as the reference phone for Android, and it doesn’t piss anyone off. A compromise that Google’s already come up with!

Right now, Android is bigger than anyone ever imagined it could be, and it has become the perfect antithesis to Apple’s boring iPhone. You want options? Android’s got options. You want to tweak your phone? Android welcomes it. This is your phone. There are many that look like it, but this one is yours. That’s Android. You can make it more yours than any other phone.

If Google decided to turn to Motorola for its own hardware needs, that would mean Google is turning its back on all of its current hardware partners. Becoming its competitor, not collaborator. Why alienate Samsung? Why make HTC question its loyalty? It’s like cheating on an exorbitantly rich spouse who handles all the bills and finances, and is also a wonderful person and does exactly what you want it to do, keeping you free from any and all stress. You’re doing ridiculously well by letting your partners make the hardware. Keep them happy.

Hello Windows Phone

You know what’s going to happen if Google pisses its partners off? They’re all going to go somewhere else. That’s not an empty threat. Windows Phone, for all its itty bitty shortcomings, is an awesome OS that’s oozing with fresh ideas, great design and Steve Ballmer’s open arms. Can you imagine what Samsung and HTC could do with Windows Phone if it actually cared about it? Has Google seen what a focused Nokia could do? The Lumia 800 and 900 set the bar for Windows Phones, if Samsung and HTC dedicated a bulk of its resources to a mobile Microsoft device, Google will have an army of top tier phones to contend with. If you’re counting, that would mean Apple, Nokia, Samsung and HTC — all which make better phones than Motorola — against, gulp, Moto.

Seriously, Motorola?

If you were going to attach yourself to a single phone maker, wouldn’t you want to choose the very best? Newsflash! Motorola is not the best. Samsung and HTC have made, are making and will make better Android phones than Motorola. The Razr Maxx and Droid Razr are fine phones, but they’re not on the level of what Samsung is doing with the Galaxy (I, II, Nexus and upcoming III), and it’s nowhere close to what HTC has got going with the One X. And is Google expecting Motorola to be capable of creating a tablet that doesn’t suck? Motorola’s best effort has been the quickly forgotten Xyboard. The Xyboard! Even Google knows Motorola can’t make a decent tablet, if the rumours are right that the company’s been working with ASUS for its Nexus tablet.

Yes, Google spent a good chunk of change to buy Motorola and yes, Motorola deserves some credit for nailing the original Droid (at a time when Android phones were still finding their way) and starting the Android wave. But outside of that the Motorola team just hasn’t proven itself capable of delivering on its original promise.

Remember the Google Phone Store?

Google failed at selling the Nexus One. No, that’s not an exaggeration. They literally failed at it. For all of Google’s excellence in Search and Gmail and Maps and just making cool things and solving problems that we didn’t know needed solving, Google is just plain bad at hardware. Google TV only exists as a foil to Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, even the Boxee Box. The Nexus line has gotten less and less input from Google while getting better and better. Google Glasses shows promise but the prototype looks weird and doesn’t exist yet. And it’s those execs, not people who came over from Moto, who would be calling the shots.

What the Hell Is Going On?

Just last week, Google was trying to pawn off the hardware division of Motorola. Now Google is trying to use it to make a Google Phone?

All of these rumours could just be smoke. And frankly, that kind of about-face sounds incredibly directionless for such a smart company, which makes us put a little less stock in it. But the fact is, Google hasn’t said what it’s doing with Moto. Making its own mobile hardware is a definite possibility.

But there’s no need for a Google phone to compete with the iPhone because Google already competes with the iPhone with Android right now. Focus on making Android wonderful. Bring your partners even closer in so that update happen faster, instead of pushing them into another platform’s arms. But most of all, guys? Make up your minds.