It's still early, but it's beginning to look like Google's $3.2 billion thermostat pickup could be the smartest investment of the year. TechCrunch has learned that the Nest team is going to become Google's core hardware group; Nest's consortium of engineers consists of 100 former Apple employees, including Tony Fadell, the father of the iPod, who knows a thing or two about designing elegant products with mass market appeal.
"There are a lot of designers who think they understand technology and a lot of technology guys who think they understand design," Fadell told Fast Company last May."But to put them together and make it robust and repeatable for the mass market? It's an art."
What that team will be working on, exactly, isn't clear yet, although I think it's safe to assume that phones and tablets are on the table, especially now that Motorola is out of the picture. For the most part, anyway.
For what it's worth, rumors have been swirling that Google was considering abandoning its Nexus line in 2015 to focus on putting pristine, untainted stock versions of Android onto third-party phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the very nice HTC One. But now, Google has a formidable cadre of onetime Apple disciples leading the charge in its historically lackluster design department. Shoring up a known weakness by siphoning talent from your fiercest rival? No matter how you swing it, that's an art in and of itself.