2011
08.22

So what’s in it for M2M? It’s been about a week since Google announced its $12.5 billion intention to purchase Motorola Mobility and many have chimed in on what this could mean for smartphones, patents, and the “openness” of the Android platform. True, many questions linger in the proposed purchase (subject to regulatory approval); a few of which weigh heavy on the world of M2M and connected devices.

To me there are three big questions this proposed deal has for the world of M2M and connected devices.

#1: Does this bring ‘XOOM’ a tablet competitor to the forefront?
Everyone is looking for a formidable competitor to topple the Apple iPad’s stronghold on the tablet world. Less than spectacular sales for Motorola’s XOOM thus far would leave much to be desired for anyone thinking that this tablet would be candidate No.1 in that quest. And it’s true that Google says it would be business as usual for the Android operating system amid this purchase, meaning it would not favor one device over another, but you cannot ignore the fact that Google will have a vested interest in positioning hardware developed by Motorola well in the market.

Analysts still position Apple iOS tablets ahead of those from Android. But with news of HP dropping TouchPad; disappointments from such devices as RIM’s Playbook; and the looming presence of Microsoft (they need to start making a stronger play in this space soon, right?); it’s not hard to figure Google will want to make a strong charge towards toppling Apple. With a Motorola-branded device already on store shelves, could this be the one that gets the added charge?

#2 More home penetration for Android?
It’s no secret that Google wants to be inside your home. The announcement of Android@Home clearly makes a statement here. But would the fact that Google could own a company that has a large percentage of the set-top box market mean even deeper penetration into the home market? Such an arsenal at Google’s disposal could turn the old battle cry of “by land, by sea” to one of “by wired, by wireless” for the company coming into your home.

It’s still unclear as to whether or not Google would keep the TV set-top box businesses, but I have to think that with all the fuel it is putting behind Android@Home that divesting such units would not be in its best interests.

The area of the market has become quite the pressure cooker of news lately. A Parks Associates report found significant trends that will drive the market for broadband providers for services, including Web-based security monitoring, and remote control of lights, appliances, and thermostats via Web-enabled devices.  Parks analysts say broadband providers are well-positioned to tap into this market due to their existing infrastructure and ongoing customer relationships.

There are even rumblings out there of Sprint partnering up with cable companies, including Comcast, to buy Clearwire outright. Nothing has been made public, but one could imagine how this could further enhance services for Sprint and Comcast.

#3: Back in the energy and health game?
Much has been speculated on how Google would acquire home health and home energy services with a purchase of Motorola Mobility due to Motorola’s 4Home business, which it purchased at the end of 2010. It’s not hard to make a correlation between this interest and the fact
Google dropped unsuccessful products like PowerMeter and Google Health earlier this summer.

I agree with all the analysis that indicates this as a strong point that would come as the result of such a purchase. But I ask, what clout could Google add to such services? Could it be a situation where the mobile health and energy experiences are tied together under a single device (perhaps the XOOM?) for homeowners? Now that would be something that could distinguish a tablet from the pack indeed.

Or perhaps it’s the start of some other key acquisitions in the areas of remote-patient monitoring that finally takes this market to the next level that everyone has been dreaming about for so long. When a company like Google gets behind something, things tend to happen. Home health, at this point, is a collection of opportunities waiting to be integrated together.

As the old saying goes, “may you live in interesting times.” Not a day goes by in the world of M2M and connected devices that this saying does not apply.

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