Google’s conference call regarding its quarterly earnings mostly rehashed themes we’ve heard before – cross-platform remains a priority. But Google CEO Larry Page had a few words to share about hardware in his own kick-off spiel. Page reiterated what we’ve heard recently about hardware supply levels from the Google Play store, and dropped (it’s a pun, you’ll see why later) a hint around what Motorola is doing at Google in terms of hardware.
Page said that there is “work to be done managing our supply better… and that is priority for the teams.” While it isn’t very detailed, it is at least acknowledgement that the issues around low supply for the hard-to-get and very much in demand Nexus 4 are fully recognized by the very top brass at Google. Page’s comments didn’t go so far as French LG Communications Director Cathy Robin, who promised better supply by February last week, but they show both Google and LG are working together to resolve the backlog.
Also on the hardware front, Page talked briefly about Motorola, and what they’re doing in terms of delivering innovation on that front from their new position under the Google umbrella. Page was even more cagey on this front, but he did come up with possibly telling examples of what kinds of issues they could be looking at. “Battery life is a huge issue,” and he added that you shouldn’t have to constantly worry about your devices, noting that, for example, “When you drop your phone, it shouldn’t go ‘splat.'”
Clearly, these are obvious pain points for mobile devices: durability and longevity in terms of battery life. If Motorola’s hardware engineering team is genuinely being put to work on making real improvements to these and other major smartphone sore spots, I’m content to wait and let things percolate a while longer before we see the union bear fruit. We haven’t yet seen what Google will do once it holds the reins with Motorola’s hardware division, because as Google’s Patrick Pichette pointed out on the call, the company is still working through Motorola’s existing hardware pipeline, which he said accounted for about 12-18 months of releases at the time of acquisition.