Nest will be Google’s core hardware team, “big plans” and generous resources are on the table – report

January 30, 2014
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tony fadell nest

Tony Fadell, showing off Nest

Image credit: LeWeb

Nest, the connected home company that Google bought for $3.2 billion, is said to become the company’s core hardware unit following the sale of Motorola to Lenovo.

TechCrunch reports that Nest, led by industry veteran Tony Fadell, will work not only on smart thermostats and other home appliances, but also on Google’s future gadgets. According to the website, Google has “big plans” for Nest, which will remain intact as a separate division inside the company, with as many resources as it needs at its disposal.

When news broke of the Nest acquisition two weeks ago, many speculated Google was trying to bolster its smart home strategy, after Android @ Home turned out to be vaporware. While that may be true, according to TechCrunch’s sources, the biggest draw for Google was actually the excellent hardware team that Tony Fadell assembled at Nest.

Fadell is known as one of the key people behind the creation of the iPod, the gadget that revolutionized music consumption and laid the foundation for the advent of modern smartphones. The former Apple exec masters hardware and software, and more importantly, the combination of the two, a quality that is visible in its products. Many hardware experts formerly with Apple and other big players have made the jump to Google with the Nest acquisition, and these people are reportedly going to be Google’s crack team of hardware wizards, now that Motorola is officially out of the picture.

Google would reportedly like Fadell to create devices “that would make more sense for the company”, though it’s not clear what that means for now.

Smart homes, wearables, and more

To be clear, Google is still very much interested in smart homes, which CEO Larry Page publicly identified as one of the areas of focus for the next years. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the blog post penned by Page explaining the sale of Motorola to Lenovo:

This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere. As a side note, this does not signal a larger shift for our other hardware efforts. The dynamics and maturity of the wearable and home markets, for example, are very different from that of the mobile industry. We’re excited by the opportunities to build amazing new products for users within these emerging ecosystems.

Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion, a little more than what Lenovo paid for Motorola, which is $2.9 billion. In the grand scheme of things, which includes a strategic alignment with Samsung, Google looks to be getting its house in order. Under Page’s command, the company is reshaping itself for a new set of objectives. Domination in smart homes and wearables is the most obvious target, with artificial intelligence, deep learning, and robotics shaping out to be Google’s defining work for the next years.

As for consumers, having Fadell oversee devices like the Nexus line, Chromebooks, Chromecast, and who knows what else, is certainly positive. Google mastered software design with Matias Duarte at the helm, and Fadell could do the same for future hardware.

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