For years, smartphone makers just wanted to beat Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). After the iPhone shook up the industry, claiming numerous casualties along the way, the Mac maker set a new bar to beat. For the most part, the title of "iPhone killer" has remained elusive to most OEMs. Samsung is perhaps the only company to profitably present a viable challenge.
Following its acquisition of Motorola, it seemed inevitable that Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) would try to beat Apple at its own game by offering a device with integrated hardware and software. That would be a stark contrast to Android's current modus operandi, which pairs Google's software with a wide range of hardware partners. Reports surfaced last year that Googorola was working on an "X Phone" that hoped to be an iPhone killer.
However, Google may have abandoned the X Phone project, according to Chinese telecom analyst Sun Chang Xu, who posted the rumor on her Weibo blog. The company hasn't axed the device altogether, but instead has reportedly stepped out of the development process directly and turned it over to the Motorola subsidiary.
By Google's own admission, Motorola's products aren't great when left to its own devices and the search giant is anxious to "drain" out all the mediocrity in Moto's pipeline. Leaving Motorola in charge of the X Phone, which had high hopes of challenging the iPhone, might be a sign that Google has given up.
On the other hand, the rumor is a little sketchy, particularly in the context of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's recent comments that Motorola's upcoming gadgets would be "phones-plus," whatever that means. Motorola's design chief had also dropped a hint that the company was working on stock Android devices that aren't enormous, which would likely sell well as there's considerable interest for stock Android.
Google may have "clearly" beaten Apple strictly in market share, but profit share and device integration will always be Apple's claim to fame.
Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.