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Google acquiring Motorola next week, Android staying free

Google has been given the green light to swallow up Motorola, so expect the two to become one next week.

Chinese regulators have given Google the green light to take over Motorola, The Wall Street Journal reports. Along with the antitrust regulators in America and Europe giving the rubber stamp a few months ago, Google is all set to swallow up the US mobile company.

The $12.5bn (£7.9bn) deal is expected to go through early next week. One rather big caveat was attached -- that Google keeps Android completely free to use for the next five years, so expect no let up in the number of Android devices.

The deal lets Google get its mitts on more than 17,000 Motorola patents, which will no doubt help as the search giant expands into making its own hardware. We're expecting Google's first tablet to launch around July time.

"We look forward to closing the deal," Google spokesperson Niki Fenwick told Associated Press. The Chinese government approved the deal on Saturday.

Android will stay completely gratis to prevent Google giving unfair advantages to Motorola products, like preferential updates. Though judging from the arduous process of pushing out a software update, and the fact Google takes months to update its own products as it is, that seems unlikely.

The deal was announced in August. It'll help Google mount a challenge to Apple's smart phone offerings, with Google CEO Larry Page saying it would "supercharge the entire Android ecosystem". The sizeable patent portfolio will also help Google defend Android against its detractors.

We'll have to wait and see whether or not we can expect even more tortuous legal disputes. Apple and Samsung are due to sit down tomorrow to try to resolve their differences, though things haven't exactly got off to the best start.

What difference do you think this deal will make to Motorola's products? And is it good for competition, or does it make Google too big for its own good? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.