Motorola has announced that it is now officially under control of Lenovo, closing the deal that was announced at the beginning of the year.
Lenovo isn't a well-known brand when it comes to smartphones, but the company is a major player in the laptop market, where it usually ranks #1 or #2 in worldwide sales for any given quarter. Lenovo hopes to combine Motorola's brand with its distribution network and the aggressive pricing that allows it to be number one in the low-margin, highly-competitive laptop business.
Under Google, Motorola has been one of the more exciting OEMs out there. It produced the first round Andorid Wear device, the Moto 360, and great flagships like the Moto X. It made best-in-class low-end phones with the Moto G and Moto E, and now with Google it produced the Nexus 6.
Motorola's software has been great, too. The company was the only large OEM to take the frequently-given advice to use stock Android, and it paid off for them with fast devices and a great user experience. Motorola outclassed everyone when it came time to update its devices, too—it beat all other OEMs in our update survey. While the OS was stock Android, Motorola still differentiated itself with great apps and hardware features. Always-on voice recognition used a combination of hardware and software to create one of the best smartphone features we've seen an OEM come up with. The feature was so good that Google integrated it into Android 5.0, bringing always-on voice commands to any Android OEM that wants to use it.
Now it's up to Lenovo to not screw things up. In the blog post, Motorola states that they will "continue to focus on pure Android and fast upgrades," so it sounds like Lenovo won't mess with a good thing. When Google took over Motorola, it said it "inherited 12 to 18 months of product pipeline." The Google/Motorola deal closed in May of 2012, and sure enough, 15 months later we saw the first Moto X. It's safe to assume Lenovo's Motorola takeover will follow a similar schedule, so expect to wait about a year before we see any real changes.