It was all the way back in August when Google announced plans for its biggest acquisition ever, agreeing to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Since then, shareholders and regulators around the world have signed off on the arrangement, but China has remained the sticking point for Google to move ahead with the final deal. One thing that every analyst agrees on once the deal goes through is that it will kick Google's true, long-term strategy surrounding the Android mobile OS into high gear. Now, there are reports coming in that imply that Google's long-term Android strategy may include some surprises.
For a long time, many observers have speculated that Google might play favorites with hardware manufacturers as it moves aggressively into the smartphone business and pushes its Android strategy forward. In the past, the company has drawn criticism for allowing this or that hardware maker early access to the latest version of Android. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Google's long-term strategy may be to favor a cadre of hardware makers with the latest versions, and to sell direct to consumers: