Google chief 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.
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.
“Today the Nexus phones have Android integrated, but now you will see us add more features on top, so there’s a lot more software innovation to be had,” he said. “We could also be a lot more opinionated on the design of the phone, even though we work with OEMs to do this.”
Strong Samsung is important
Google’s biggest handset vendor partner is Samsung, and Pichai was bullish about this company’s ongoing battle with Apple, after being quizzed about the fact that South Korean vendor is seemingly its only hardware partner that has a truly global presence.
“I’ve always felt that a strong Samsung is important for Android, as it drives our high end computing offering,” he said.
“However, Android is open, and the answer for it may not be one global player addressing all the questions. There are great regional examples in places like China, India, where companies are profitable in their segments, and as conglomerates, they aggressively reinvest. This is also not necessarily an Android problem, as much as the fact that the smartphone and hardware industry is very competitive.”
Addressing the company’s presence in China, Pichai said he remained open to discussions with the government about one day relaunching Google search there, after pulling the service almost six years ago.
“I care about serving users globally and always thought Google should be available for everyone, and that includes China. I want to be in China serving Chinese users too, wherever possible,” he said.
During the interview, Pichai also talked in depth about the company’s ambitions in developing its artificial intelligence offering, claiming it has the advantage over rivals like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft because “we have been doing it a lot longer”.
“If you take any examples of conversations users have with Google, or the ability to answer questions at scale globally, and have follow up conversations, that is where our quality shines through.”