Google CEO Larry Page (centre) with Nest co-founders Matt Rogers amd Tony Fadell (photo: technologyreview.com)

Google CEO Larry Page (centre) with Nest co-founders Matt Rogers amd Tony Fadell (photo: technologyreview.com)

‘Father of the iPod’ Tony Fadell (right) and the rest of the Nest team will become Google’s “core hardware group,” working on a variety of hardware projects and given access to “as many resources as it needs,” according to an unnamed source cited by TechCrunch.

The new division will still work on hardware devices, but not necessarily thermostats or smoke detectors. In fact, Google would like Fadell to work on gadgets that make more sense for the company. Will it be a phone or a tablet? It’s unclear for now [...]

When it comes to budget, Google is willing to let the Nest team use as many resources as it needs. In other words, the company is getting serious about consumer hardware, and Motorola was just a false start … 

If true, it’s an extremely interesting move. It had been widely assumed that Google’s interest in Nest was primarily for the data it could glean from learning more about the behaviours of consumers, rather than in the hardware itself. Indeed, it was that fear which caused many to react badly to Nest’s acquisition by Google.

If Google does indeed have ambitions to move into consumer hardware, its acquisition of a team comprising mostly Apple engineers and led by Tony Fadell may cause some worried looks within Apple. Couple the Nest team to the patents it acquired – and is reportedly retaining – following the purchase and sale of Motorola, and Google would be extremely well-placed to create smartphones and tablets which might pose a serious threat to Apple’s dominance.

The one piece that doesn’t quite seem to fit is Google’s apparent cozying up to Samsung. That doesn’t gel with the idea of Google making rival devices.

But with home automation and the Internet of things flavor of the year, perhaps Google’s hardware plans don’t need to include the smartphone business. With a team of that calibre, it may even be looking to Fadell to answer the question ‘what next after Glass?’.

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20 Responses to “Tony Fadell and his largely ex-Apple team to become Google’s core hardware designers”

  1. 10 bucks says this ain’t gonna end well…

  2. I hope google is looking for a bunch of round, dial-style devices

  3. OneOkami says:

    From what I’ve heard, Google has been actively discouraging Android device makers from deviating from Google’s view of the OS (particularly Samsung).

    I find that quite interesting when you consider that along with the patents they kept from Motorola and the acquisition of Nest which brought several former Apple employees in-house. Not only does this suggest Google is getting quite serious about consumer hardware, but perhaps they’re placing stronger emphasis on design and user experience cohesion.

  4. This might be a strong word… but the word Traitor comes to mind.

    • Tim Jr. says:

      Not a concern as much as if / when they shut down the Nest servers and millions of thermostats stop working around the world.. ba… haha.. bahahahaha! yup.. they require internet and servers to work people… this is going to be fun! Get yur popcorn now!

      • jomym says:

        Nest has had small server outages and even shut down for scheduled maintenance…and everyone’s thermostats kept working. While it is true that some of the functionality of the thermostats would be disabled, homes will continue to be heated and cooled as scheduled.

        Why would they shut down their servers? I’d bet Larry Page and thousands of Google employees use this product.

    • rlowhit says:

      Traitor applies when it comes to nations and military installations, but in business the word has no meaning.

      • I know, but maybe Cook and the folks at Apple actually feels this way. He (Fadell) is now taking all of his knowledge and expertise to a company that is without a doubt the biggest competitor to his former belowed Apple. He’s not just anybody. He (and his team at Apple) buildt the iPod and was an integral part of the succes that Apple experienced in the beginning of this century and still do. For many, especially at Apple, this must feel like a betrayal. He was a very trusted employee and now he’s aiding the “enemy”. Was he not happy with the way Apple treated him. What happened?

      • Tallest Skil says:

        No, try reading the definition of the word.

  5. rogifan says:

    Wow Google’s really laying on the RDF these days. Reading some of this stuff you’d think Tony Fadell was the greatest hardware engineer and designer the world has ever seen. And yet the design for Nest products came from a 3rd party – Bould design.

  6. Tim Jr. says:

    If this is true and they do this, it may mean they will shut down the Nest servers as it doesn’t ‘Fit’ into Google.. that means hundreds of thousands to millions of Nest devices and users are are screwed as our new-fangled-thermostats stop working!!! BAHAHAHA!

    I hate you Google.. :p Thanks for nuttin!

  7. Theres no greater flattery than imitation …

    • ikir says:

      I agree :-) Anyway i fell bad for Fadell ex-coworkers, i think after many years seeing your “friend” became your business enemy, is hurting for sure.

  8. I thought this was clearly the reason Google acquired Nest…acqui-hire a ton of former Apple resources.

    • You do know that Apple totally turned it’s back on Nest from the beginning, and Google has funded them from day one. So all your detriment toward both Google and Nest are unfounded, as many of you are ignorant of the entire situation. BWHAHAHAHAHA Fanboy Wannabees… Blurting crap out like you know something

  9. So why sell Motorola? They should have just moved these guys into the development division at Motorola and let them go crazy.

    • OneOkami says:

      Motorola was hemorrhaging money. I imagine with the talent they brought in with Nest Motorola was no longer worth keeping on the books so they just kept the patents and cut their losses.