Google is growing increasingly worried about Samsung's position atop the Android smartphone market, according to the Wall Street Journal. During a meeting last year, Android head Andy Rubin reportedly hailed the manufacturer's spectacular success, though also warned that Google could fall into a precarious position should Samsung pull too far ahead of competitors.
The company already wields plenty of influence, tallying 39.6 percent of the global smartphone market last year, with Android devices making up a vast majority of that figure. Other Android vendors haven't fared nearly as well, painting a situation that could allow Samsung to demand more from Google, or — in a worst case scenario — follow Amazon's lead and develop its own forked-off version of the OS.
Motorola is Google's line of defense
That's where Motorola Mobility comes in. The Wall Street Journal says Google's buyout of the mobile business was an insurance measure (or in Rubin's words, a "hedge") that could help block Samsung from gaining an unassailable foothold over Android. Of course, the products we've seen from Motorola under Google's ownership (so far) don't exactly gel with that plan. To pull consumers away from Samsung's gravity, Google will need to innovate beyond its Nexus line of hardware and build a device with broad appeal. Perhaps the so-called "X Phone" is the answer.