As early as next week, Google could be solidly in the mobile phone manufacturing business. That's when the United States Justice Department will vote to approve the company's proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The acquisition, first announced last August at a reported price of $12.5 billion, is said to provide Google with a battery of patents that the company can use to defend the Android ecosystem from infringement lawsuits by Apple and others.

But Motorola, of course, also gives the company a slew of competitively positioned smartphones, including the Droid Razr and the Droid 4, which it can use to push forward the latest innovations of the Android operating system.

[WSJ via CNET]