Google has launched an official assault on Apple today, with the announcement of the acquisition of Motorola’s Mobility division for $12 billion.

The move is aimed to bolster the internet-giant’s hardware credentials, as well as strengthen the Android platform which is in direct competition with Apple’s iOS devices.

Larry Page, CEO of Google, said, “Motorola Mobility’s total commitment to Android has created a natural fit for our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers. I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.”

Despite entering into the hardware business, Google’s Andy Rubin, Senior VP of Mobile stated that Google remains committed to Android remaining an open platform.

We expect that this combination will enable us to break new ground for the Android ecosystem. However, our vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to Android as an open platform and a vibrant open source community. We will continue to work with all of our valued Android partners to develop and distribute innovative Android-powered devices.

Today’s announcement is likely to further fuel the smartphone arms-race with Apple, with Google being the beneficiary of over 17,000 mobile patents as part of the sale. It remains to be seen how the purchase will impact Google’s relationship with other Android partners, such as Samsung, HTC and LG.