Google is talking to mobile operators about launching its own branded smartphone by the end of the year, a move that will give it “more control over design, manufacturing and software,” the Telegraph reported.
The news comes just weeks after CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the company intends to “invest more effort” into developing its Nexus device range, but stopped short of committing to building its own smartphone.
The tech giant’s line of Nexus products are manufactured by partners like Samsung, its biggest handset vendor partner, while it focuses on its Android operating system. However, the report said that Google has issues with Android consistency as so many devices run its software, with many users getting updates very late.
“Its own phone would allow Google to control the software, securing the future of services such as the Google search engine and Google Play app store that run on it,” the report explained.
It quoted Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, as saying that with Android fragmentation, Google needs to become a more controlled platform, and that “I think they’ll seek to control it more, more like Apple.”
This would not be Google’s first array into hardware. In 2015, for instance, it launched the Pixel C, a 10.2-inch tablet.
Earlier this year it hired Rick Osterloh, who stepped down as head of Lenovo’s Motorola Mobility unit, as senior vice president, in charge of a new hardware division, as it brought several of its hardware efforts under one division.
Meanwhile, Pichai, speaking at the Code Conference 2016, said the company plans to continue to work with OEMs to develop Android powered phones, with no intentions to manufacture its own. But it wants to “put a lot more thought” into its future development.
He also indicated that the company will be “more opinionated” when working with its Nexus vendor partners, beyond pushing the latest, unmodified, version of Android.
Earlier in the month Huawei confirmed that it will manufacture a Nexus smartphone for Google again this year.