During his time on-stage at the Salesforce.com Dreamforce conference, Eric Schmidt (Chairman and former CEO) of Google said that the company's purchase of Motorola is about more than just patents, as has broadly been claimed.
We did it for more than just patents. We actually believe that the Motorola team has some amazing products coming....We're excited to have the product line, to use the Motorola brand, the product architecture, the engineers. These guys invested the RAZR. We know them well because they're Google Apps users....[We like] having at least one area where we can do integrated hardware and software. [via]
Does it make sense for Google to enter the hardware industry? There are certainly upsides (finer control of the Android experience on their end, and a bargaining chip to help keep other manufacturers competitive) and downsides (Google isn't very experienced in the hardware industry). Clearly they think it's in their best interest, though, and Google has a pretty solid history with this sort of thing.
One thing we can say for certain: the "Googorola" tie-up brings the company one step closer to Phase 4 of their plan for global domination.