We heard last week that Google was tantalizingly close to getting regulatory approval in the EU for its proposed takeover of Motorola Mobility, and today the search giant got that approval. Not only that, but US regulators came down in favor of Google a little earlier than expected. The company now has an almost free hand to absorb Motorola and get access to all those juicy patents.
An unknown factor in Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility has always been the scrutiny it would receive from European regulators. It’s a good day in Mountain View, because Reuters is reporting that the EU is prepared to grant its unconditional approval of the deal. Google announced the $12.5 billion buyout last year, but said Motorola will operate as a separate entity.
At long last, Motorola's Droid 4 smartphone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard is available at Verizon. Motroloa's newest smartphone runs $200 with a two-year service contract and includes free overnight shipping if ordered direct from Verizon, or $550 sans contract. It's been a long wait for those who've been holding out for this particular phone, which was first rumored to drop on December 8, 2011.
With such a steady clip of Droid devices marching into the smartphone marketplace, eventually you're bound to find the Droid you're looking for. Maybe it's Motorola's Droid 4 you've been holding out for, a 4G LTE smartphone with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, five-row QWERTY keyboard, and a 4-inch qHD display with scratch and scrape resistant glass. If so, you only have to wait a few more days.
Quick question: what's the one thing you should absolutely, positively do any time you trade in or return a piece of used tech? Answer: wipe the hard drive. If you already knew that, you might want to spread the word to your friends and neighbors, because Motorola forgot to wipe the info off of a bunch of used Xoom tablets it recently sold to enthusiastic Woot.com buyers. Oops!
While Apple's been busy trying to chase Samsung's Galaxy line out of the Milky Way, Android device makers have ganged up on the Cupertino outfit and experienced a spattering of success. The latest setback for Apple comes from a second German patent ruling against the company over its iCloud service that was brought about by Motorola Mobility, which is currently being acquired by Google.
Big things might be in store for Motorola Mobility if Google's acquisition is able to proceed unabated, but for the fourth quarter of 2011, the mobile device maker posted a net loss of $80 million, albeit that figure is largely the result of write-off costs related to the proposed takeover. Still, it's a complete reversal of fortunes compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 when Motorola Mobility posted an $80 million profit.
Motorola filed a new patent infringement suit of its own against Apple today, and it targets the iPhone 4S and iCloud. Motorola cites six patents that it has used against Apple before as proof of Apple’s infringement. Interestingly, Google’s merger agreement with Motorola prohibits the later from filing any new patent suits without getting permission from Google first. Presumably, this means Google gave Moto the go-ahead to sue Apple.
Given a choice, most enthusiasts would prefer a stock build of Android on their smartphone, and the preference towards an unmolested UI is part of the reason people root. But not everyone has the know-how or courage to root, even though smartphones sporting custom UIs far outnumber ones with a stock build. The reason, according to Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha, is because it's tough to make money on stock devices.
Another Android device rooted and cracked open for the modding community? Yawn, right? Well, when that Android device also happens to be a watch, things get a little more interesting. The Motorola ACTV is a sports watch that runs Android and connects wirelessly with Android devices. With a little hacking around, it can now run Android apps on its tiny 1.6-inch screen.