If you are expecting a) the Motorola X to be introduced at Google I/O, b) it to be -- essentially -- Google's next Nexus device, and c) it to blaze a trail with innovative, exciting new features, don't. You might get a) and b) but not c), according to a statement by Motorola CFO and Senior Vice President Patrick Pichette that he made on Thursday, during Pichette's session at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference.
Pichette said that the products in Motorola's pipeline are "not really to the standards that what Google would say is wow -- innovative, transformative." That would, of necessity, include the X, which is rumored to make its first appearance at Google I/O from May 15-17.
Pichette has both a good and bad explanation for why, though.
We've inherited 18 months of pipeline that we actually have to drain right now, while we're actually building the next wave of innovation and product lines. We have to go through this transition. These are not easy transitions.
Motorola Mobility was acquired by Google in 2011, with the deal being finalized in mid-2012.
That's a very good explanation. It's also bad, if you are a Motorola Mobility designer. Essentially, Google just said that Motorola's designs -- at least those prior to the acquisition -- were crap. That probably doesn't sit too well with legacy employees, at least those who have not been laid off.
It's true that recently Motorola releases, such as the Droid RAZR M and Droid RAZR (and RAZR Maxx) HD have been good devices. When compared to rivals from Samsung, though, on both the hardware and software front (full disclosure, we have owned both companies' devices), they have fallen short.
Pichette said that new releases -- once the pipeline is emptied -- are more along the lines that Google expects.
Since day one (of the acquisition_), we've started working on the next agenda and we see that pipeline kind of showing up ... our own kind of work is actually quite promising.
Pichette also used the opportunity to quell controversy surrounding Google's current rapport with Samsung. He said Google maintains a "terrific relationship" with the world's number one Android manufacturer. With the release of Samsung's Galaxy S IV just weeks away, it seems rumors of a growing rift between the two may have been overblown — at least for now.
A portion of Pichette's Morgan Stanley chat is available here.