It’s been known for a while that Google is in the process ofacquiring Motorola’s mobility division, and that process continues. If youfeared that this meant Google was planning to devote all of its efforts intoputting Android solely onto Motorola hardware, never fear: Google bigwig LarryPage has stressed that there are no plans to shut out the rest of the hardwaremanufacturers who have been putting zillions of Android-based handsets andtablets into the retail channel.

That’s good news for folks who like a bit of variety when theygo to shop for a new phone. Sure, the Android-based Motorola phones are nice–in fact, I really enjoy using the Android-iffic RAZR phone I’ve been toolingaround with. But ultimately there are folks who really prefer the Samsung,Sony-Ericsson or HTC models, not to mention the many other alternatives outthere.

What this MAY mean, however, is that Nexus phones might beMotorola-built phones, instead of phones created through an HTC or Samsungpartnership. But even that is uncertain – Page claims that the Motorolaacquisition is about building up Google’s file of patents, not about takingAndroid in-house. But we’ll see.

At the same time as it’s claiming that it’s planning to keepAndroid the good old open ecosystem that it’s been, Google has admitted thatAndroid hasn’t exactly been raking in the bucks – from 2008 to the end of 2011,it’s pulled in just $550 million from its Android partners, according to reports.

If that seems like a lot of money, here’s something that’llput it into perspective: during the same period, Google earned four times thatamount from iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. That’s around $2 billion, forthose who don’t want to do the math.

This info emerged as part of a legal skirmish with Oracle,and admittedly, it’s a bit of an Apples-to-Googles comparison: the iOS revenuecomes from things like browser-based search and Google Maps usage, while theAndroid revenue comes from the operating system (which it gives away tomanufacturers) and apps. So it’s probably not worth reading too much into these numbers.

Still, once the Motorola deal goes through, Google will ownmost of the pie when it comes to handsets and tablets that go out with theMotorola branding. Even though Page stresses that the Motorola play is moreabout the patents, this across-the-board ownership of the user experiencecertainly can’t hurt the bottom line.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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