This week’s announcement that Google is selling Motorola to Lenovo was nearly as surprising as Google's move to buy the phone manufacturer in 2011.
Lenovo is largely known as PC maker; it purchased IBM's PC manufacturing business nine years ago. While the company does make phones, none are for sale in the US, which is the main reason Lenovo wants Motorola – it’s an in route straight to US consumers and their wallets (and the rest of the Western world).
While $2.91 billion (£1.75 billion) bought Lenovo the Motorola brand and Motorola Mobility's line-up of phones, it didn't include the "vast majority" of Motorola's patents, which are still owned by Google and will be licensed to Lenovo. Breaking free from Motorola, Google CEO Larry Page said, "will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere.”
Lenovo will be the third-largest smartphone vendor when the acquisition is complete. “The acquisition of such an iconic brand, innovative product portfolio and incredibly talented global team will immediately make Lenovo a strong global competitor in smartphones,” said Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, in a statement. "We will immediately have the opportunity to become a strong global player in the fast-growing mobile space."
Given that Lenovo has a weak presence in the US and UK, you'd be forgiven for not knowing anything about its smartphones. They do indeed exist, but could use a dose of Motorola magic.
Until we see the first Lenovo-Motorola smartphone, check out some of both companies’ phones below for a taste of what's to come.
In the US, basketball star Kobe Bryant filmed a spot for the Lenovo K900, which runs Intel's CloverTrail+ platform.
Lenovo Vibe Z
Lenovo has a Vibe line-up, which got a refresh at CES with the Vibe Z, its first LTE offering.
Lenovo Vibe X
That came after the Vibe X was revealed at the IFA trade show in Berlin last September. The device sports a 5in, 1,920 x 1,080 display which is made from scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Lenovo S Series
The Lenovo S series is built around quad-core MediaTek processors.
Lenovo P Series
For business users, there's the P Series, which includes the 5in P780 and 4.5in P770.
Motorola Moto X
Hopefully Lenovo phones will get a dose of X. The customisable Moto X is Motorola's current flagship phone, with US orders assembled at its Texas plant. It's just been released in the UK.
Motorola Moto G
The Moto G is a low-cost sibling to the Moto X, and a great phone. We expressed our enthusiasm for this model in our review.
Motorola Droid Ultra
The Droid Ultra is a workmanlike US-only smartphone, with no surprises or flashiness.
Motorola Droid Mini
The Droid Mini is a smaller version of the Droid Ultra.
For more on the Motorola acquisition, see our piece questioning whether the move will turn Motorola into a bland smartphone maker.