If Samsung (005930) really does plan to move away from Android, then it makes sense for Google (GOOG) to move Android away from Samsung. Over at Unwired View, Brian S. Hall writes that the “X Phone” that Google and Motorola are reportedly working on is much more of a shot across Samsung’s bow than the iPhone’s. Hall reasons that Google’s intention to create a phone with Motorola signals that the company wants to exert more direct influence over its Nexus smartphone brand since Google would have “complete control over the development, distribution and marketing” of any device produced with a company that it owns.
Google’s reasons for wanting to produce its own in-house Android phone with Motorola also boil down to the bottom line. As Hall writes, Samsung is currently the only major vendor that’s making a significant profit off selling Android devices. And Google, for its part, is tired of sinking money into both Motorola and Android without seeing any major returns on the horizon; in other words, the only way for the company to make a profit off both Android and Motorola may be to combine the two and create a unique smartphone that directly fits the company’s vision for the future of mobile.
“Samsung has simply become too powerful within the Android ecosystem,” writes Hall. “What if Samsung were to ‘fork’ Android? What if they were to cut a global deal with Microsoft, say, and make Bing and Bing Maps the defaults? This is not far-fetched.”
While switching to Bing would prove to be a questionable business decision, it would also significantly hurt Google, which makes money from having devices use its advertising-supported services and not from selling Android phones. If Google thinks that Samsung is a risk to “go rogue” then it certainly makes sense for the company to preemptively create its own top-notch smartphone without worrying about third-party manufacturers screwing up marketing and distribution.