The jig is up. As the $12.5 billion Google-Motorola deal gained approval from the U.S. just hours after the European Union granted clearance, it’s becoming harder to believe the acquisition will have little impact on Android. Google insists the Motorola Mobility buy was a patent acquisition to defend Android from the recent smattering of lawsuits from Apple and others. But this is really a win for Google, its Android OS and Motorola. From a device and software standpoint, it’s high time Google admits the need for an independent hardware channel. After all, this could work.

While Google’s acquisition still awaits approval from China, Taiwan and Israel, pundits are already exploring a world of Google-Motorola harmony. Google needs more control over the device-making process to stay on par with rivals, and that means more gadgets to pre-install Android software. The timely leak of Motorola’s first Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich handset has reinforced a vision of these two falling into step, aided by the murmurings of [email protected], a system of connected devices.

Motorola joins the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich party

Motorola’s first Android 4.0 is reported to be powered by Intel’s Medfield platform, a switch-up from the typical TI OMAP processors in most of its smartphones. With photos hitting the web we can see a likely perk with the phone’s camera, which is expected to come with instant-on burst mode. Also look for a new version of MotoBlur, all to debut at Mobile World Congress in a couple of weeks.

James Kendrick of ZDNet proposes a Motorola Nexus line, urging Google to rethink its separate operations strategy. With Android having reached a certain saturation point, it’s become a messy match-up for OEMs. Samsung’s the big winner at the moment, making a difficult time for Motorola, HTC and Sony.

While Motorola is protected under Google’s wing, HTC and Sony have turned to each other for solace. Word of a PlayStation-certified HTC device is bubbling up around MWC, boosting HTC’s faltering device line and expanding Sony’s software reach. PlayStation has been a mobile safety net for Sony this past year, and as Microsoft turns an eye to Android for Xbox LIVE, Sony will have to leverage a diversified distribution strategy as well.