In Short

The father of the smartphone has some of Android's best

Motorola is a longtime communications company, the manufacturer of the first cellular telephone — and it may well be responsible for making Android what it is today.

Motorola wasn't the first smartphone maker, but it was the Motorola Droid on Verizon that helped make Android the household name it is today. The original Droid (known as the Milestone in Europe) sold millions and spawned a number of successors. The Droid MAXX on Verizon continues to be popular, though aging.

But Motorola struggled to make money, and in August 2011 it was announced that Google would purchase Motorola Mobility — they company previously spun off Motorola Solutions — for $12.5 billion. Hardware was just one reason for the purchase — patents were very much another. Google insisted that it didn't buy Motorola with the intention of continuing to lose money, and indeed Motorola began to lose less. But in January 2014, Google announced it was effectively unloading Motorola to Chinese company Lenovo for $2.91. (Much of the disparity in price is due to the paring down of the company, as well as Google retaining "the vast majority" of patents.)

Much of 2012 and 2013 was quiet for Motorola, but in August 2013 Motorola rolled out its rebirth — the Moto X. Wonderfully designed, with customizable features such as the front color, back casing (including wood!) and camera housing — and it was to be assembled in Texas. (Sadly, that assembly line shut down.) The Moto X was heralded as an above-average smartphone that bucked the oversized trend, and didn't fall into the trap of packing in unwanted features and redesigned software.

The Moto X paved the way for two lower-cost smartphones — the Moto G and Moto E.

Motorola also has the excellent Moto 360 for Android Wear.