"The reason why you don't see anybody objecting to this -- they're all offering qualified support -- is because they don't have any choice. Not in the short term. You're not going to bash Android when your fourth-quarter earnings are all going to be Android-based," said Greengart.
Handset makers spend around a year developing new smartphones and so in the short term, not much will change in terms of their Android smartphone releases, Hazelton said. But handset makers are surely today taking a look at phones that are in the pipeline. "People are probably going back to the drawing board saying, hey, will we launch this Android device," he said.
Hazelton called this acquisition a defining moment in Android's history that will lead to a slowing in its growth rate.
If they decide to shift some of their focus away from Android, smartphone makers are likely to take another look at Microsoft's Windows Phone. "Forrester can hear Steve Ballmer and company pitching the Asian players on how Microsoft is the only hardware agnostic player left and that HTC, Samsung, and LG should increase their support for Windows Mobile as protection against Google favoring its own hardware play," John McCarthy, a Forrester analyst, wrote in a blog post about the acquisition.
"I do expect to see Samsung take another hard look at the split between Android and Windows Phones and start putting some more emphasis on the Windows side," Greengart said. "In some ways the big winner is Microsoft."
The acquisition could also have repercussions in the tablet market, since many of the handset makers also produce tablets. Samsung and LG, for instance, could shift toward Windows 8 when it becomes available instead of using Android on tablets, Hazelton said.
While the acquisition could give a boost to Windows Phone, it also puts Microsoft in a unique position in the mobile market. Now, all of the major mobile-phone operating system developers are vertically integrated except for Windows Phone. Apple, Research In Motion, Hewlett-Packard and now Google produce both the hardware and software for phones. "Windows Phone is the only one left," Hazelton said.
It's notable that the quotes Google posted from handset makers all praise Google for its commitment to defending Android. Google was surely motivated by Motorola's extensive patent portfolio. Android is being attacked on many fronts as companies such as Oracle, Apple, and Microsoft file patent-infringement lawsuits against handset makers and Google. Motorola's patents can help Google defend against these legal maneuvers.
"The patent battles between Apple and Android could turn into a cold war, with both sides accumulating significant IPR (intellectual property rights), which they clearly intend to use as weapons rather than for constructive innovation," Caroline Gabriel, an analyst with Rethink Research, wrote in a report on Monday.