My two cents on the whole Google-Motorola-Lenovo thing...
After reading quite a few articles about it, I have cleaned my mind enough to properly write my thoughts down, and thought that this forum would be the best place to do so.
I have to admit that I have mixed feelings. There are things I actually like and there are things I don't, so let's start with these.
What seems to be clear - and please, tell me why if you think I am wrong - is that Google's letting go of Motorola is a clear signal of Google's letting go of the whole in-house/first party hardware manufacturing business.
Let's make a few steps back.
First came the Google Play Edition program, then the let's-tone-TouchWiz-down deal with Samsung, and now this.
The GPE program is an easy way for Google to show off its software with an actual revenue (given the high-end prices of these devices) and most of all not worry about any part of the hardware - what they do is essentially slap in a stock ROM into an OEM's flagship.
Are these phones Nexii? No, of course. But they have the main, polarising aspect of them, which is the pure and vanilla Google-based Android experience that most users crave.
When the LG Nexus 5 came out in late 2013 I thought it would be the last one, with Google now finally heading towards the first 100% Googlephone, manufactured by Motorola (the Google Company) and sold via the Play Store with a Moto Nexus branding or something. That alone or the combo of a "consumer edition" 2nd gen Moto X plus a "Nexus version" of the same phone could have been very interesting.
A couple of months and all of this has just miserably collapsed.
Not only Motorola, Google's hardware-arm is no longer theirs, but rumours on the Nexus brand being completely killed are becoming more and more frequent and consistent - again, this being Google giving up on hardware in order not to bother or even just come into conflict with giants like Samsung.
As Stefan Constantinescu highlighted in an article of his, it all sounds almost necessary; i.e. Google eliminating the threat of being a competitive hardware manufacturer in order to tighten its relationships with other OEMs and just focus on the software, trying to merge the two things the best way they could, hence agreeing with Samsung upon Google's-Androidification of the overly bloated Samsung's interface.
To me, it's not even about the Nexus program. Although I love the concept of the Nexus being the true Android flagship both for consumers and - mostly - developers, the idea of a replacement with a series of OEM flagships running stock Android doesn't hurt me so much, wasn't it for the price and the loss of a true and specific reference device.
...so yeah, it ultimately does hurt, actually.
What I hate the most, though, is the loss of this. The beauty of Motorola's rebranding under Google's wing was inspiring, and products like the Moto G and, most of all, the Moto X, proved it.
The Moto X was (and still is) and absolutely amazing device. In my opinion it delivers an overall experience that is even better than the Nexus 5's (and I do own both). From the retail package itself to the daily usage I was only wondering when and what the new Moto X would be released with, competing again for the Android throne in no less than Google's army itself.
It proved that the conjunction of one of the most important and praised companies in the world like Google and a well-known giant of the past like Motorola could not only bring the latter back to life under a new and completely overhauled look (that encompasses literally everything) but actually deliver fresh and different, distinctive products in a really short period of time.
I don't know about you, but I thought it was fantastic.
That, however, is now gone. Period.
I don't know what the future of the Nexus branding is, but hopefully Google will still release a 90%(?) Googlephone for (at least) the two coming years, maybe in partnership with Sony or, well, Lenovo itself, if only for the amazing independent developers consistently working on superlative ROMs, MODs and all sorts of tweaks that make our beloved operating system so great.
Then comes the good part.
There are things that I love and there are brands and products that I love, but eventually I also am a consumer and a tech-lover, so what I ultimately look for is a good product, regardless of the branding.
Sure, I will not lie, if I had to blind-pick a product from either Apple or, say, ZTE, I would probably go for the former - but in this particular case things aren't like that (and hopefully never will be, for anyone).
Lenovo, as a manufacturing company, shares what is in my opinion one of the best portfolios currently on the market.
Both the Yogas and most of all the ThinkPads not only track an impressive record of a company that prior to 2005 almost nobody knew anything about, but they also give us extremely good hopes in terms of the whole brand-encapsulating and internal revamping process (IBM's ThinkPads).
Here come two problems though.
Motorola has already had a huge revamp no more than... well, a year ago (as far as actual consumers' products go), and as we all know the result has been critically acclaimed by everyone both on the hardware and, above all, the software side, albeit lacking in delivering the income Google was hoping for.
Clearly, as much as Lenovo will try to keep the Motorola's image independent (at least outside of China) since they acknowledge its power, whatever will come out at last will probably not be as bare bones as the result Google's vision, upon which Motorola built its own ideas (and not viceversa).
So how heavy will Lenovo's presence be in the new line of Motorola's products? What will the final UI look like? How many bloatware apps will we have to deal with? And most of all, how quickly will updates come?
To say it in plain terms: will Lenovo act just as any other OEM does or will Google's Motorola's influence be enough to make Lenovo think about turning the reborn Motorola into a name to list besides LG, Samsung, Sony, HTC and all the others?
Maybe they do deserve a shot. But please, don't ruin what has been done so far - keep it up, improve it, use your money to spread the idea and the products across the whole world and not just the US and a few other countries. Don't try to turn upside down something that has already been there recently and came out so well. It's not what it needs.
...ok, enough with the blabbering, I think I'm done here. If you managed to follow me up until this point... thank you, first of all. If you want to hear more of my jibba-jabbering (even in real time) you can feel free to throw me a follow @legoalcubo on Twitter - but most of all drop a comment here!