Google will ship its own smartphone by the end of the year, The Telegraph reports.
Sources inside mobile carriers told the British publication that Google wants to extend its move into hardware with a new Google-branded phone.
The report doesn’t spell it out, but from the sound of it, this new device would be different from Nexus devices.
A “senior source” said Google will ship this device by the end of 2016. The phone will see the Mountain View company “take more control over design, manufacturing and software.”
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Google’s own vs Nexus
The Telegraph doesn’t go into any detail, but the story does partially match a credible report from The Information claiming that Google would take more control over the devices it sells under the Nexus brand. According to that report, future Nexus devices will only have Google’s brand on them, effectively relegating the manufacturing partner to ODM status, akin to how Foxconn makes devices for Apple without taking any credit.
The Information said that Google convinced HTC to take on this role, despite some opposition from inside the struggling Taiwanese company. From other reports, we know that HTC is making two smartphones for Google this year, including a 5-inch device whose specs leaked out recently.
A potential confusion?
As The Verge’s Vlad Savov puts it, it seems unlikely that Google is making a new phone in addition to the Nexus line. A Pixel smartphone may sound enticing, but such a product wouldn’t make sense, at least not without a huge push into the hardware business and billions poured into development, sales support, and marketing. Being more like Apple sounds good on paper, but Android reached 80% market share without a Google phone. So why would Google even bother?
It’s possible – and likely, we think – that the carrier sources cited by The Telegraph were talking about the HTC-made Nexus smartphone(s), which – the rumor goes – will be closer to Google’s vision than previous devices.
Adding credence to this speculation, Sundar Pichai recently hinted that Google will take more control over the way Nexus devices look. Google will be more “opinionated about the design of the phones,” the CEO said.
Then again, the Pixel C tablet and the short lived Nexus Q are proof that Google sometimes puts out devices without a clear strategic or tactical purpose.
What do you think?