Google is reportedly set to modify its Android platform strategy to allow multiple device makers to have early access to new versions of the operating system, enabling the launch of a portfolio of Nexus lead devices including smartphones and tablets.
Previously, the company has worked with a single company to offer a flagship device when a new version of the platform is introduced, including HTC, Samsung and Motorola. According to the Wall Street Journal, it will now work with “as many as five” partners in the same way.
There are a number of benefits to such a strategy. Firstly, it would address concerns that Google may favour Motorola following its acquisition by the search giant – by offering access to a number of key Android partners, it could ensure a level playing field without the need for Motorola itself to lag in order to show a lack of preference.
Secondly, it would enable Google to address concerns about fragmentation, by working closely with the manufacturers of its flagship Android devices. Traditionally, Nexus devices have featured a pure “Google” user experience, without the user interface customisations made by vendors such as HTC and Samsung.
Finally, the move would also help boost the speed of penetration of new versions of Android, which has previously suffered due to the lag between the Nexus device and availability of a full portfolio of handsets from multiple vendors.
Google is continuing with its plan to sell devices direct to consumers, as well as partnering with retailers. This will enable it to ensure that its various services are supported across-the-board, which is not necessarily the case for operator-supplied smartphones.