Technology

Google to step up smartphone wars with release of own handset

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Google might launch its own smartphone, which will end up competing directly with Apple’s iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy top-end series, says a new report.

A new report by Telegraph UK cites senior sources in Google, and adds the company plans to tighten its grip on Android. Telegraph’s report says, “Google is in discussions with mobile operators about releasing a Google-branded phone,” and the new device will be released by the end of the year.

The report indicates Google wants more control over design, manufacturing and software. “They are concerned that Android is fragmenting, that it needs to become a more controlled platform…I think they’ll seek to control it more, more like Apple,” Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight told the paper.

Telegraph also points out Google has hired Rick Osterloh, the former president of Motorola, to lead a new hardware division.

The report comes even as Google CEO Sundar Pichai was quoted as saying they have no plans to manufacture Nexus phones. Pichai in a conversation with Re/Code and Verge’s Walt Mossberg, said they will continue to work with OEMs to make Nexus smartphones.

He also said, Google will be investing more effort into their Nexus smartphones. “We will be opinionated where we need to be and where we feel that we need to push the category forward. You’ll see us actually add, more thoughtfully features on top of Android on Nexus phones. There’s a lot of software innovation to be had,” Pichai told Mossberg.
Pichai’s comments had sparked rumours that Nexus phones might come with additional features, and not just stock Android.

Rumours have also claimed HTC is manufacturing the next Nexus phones. Recently on GeekBench a new device called Huawei Nexus 6P was spotted which had test scores more in line with the Snapdragon 820 Soc rather than the 810, which is on the actual device and 4GB RAM instead of 3GB. The device already running Android N.

Another report on 9to5Google hints there might be some truth around a Google-manufactured Nexus smartphone. The report claims a tip it got from an IP address located near Google’s campus, which said Google was “‘annoyed’ at the iPhones perception of being the only ‘premium’ offering on the market.”
The report hints Google’s new phones will compete in the high-end segment, and will be in addition to the Project Ara smartphone, which is a modular device.
Google typically launches the Nexus devices along with the final Android build towards the end of the year in October-November time-frame. Last year, Google had launched two Nexus smartphones: the more premium Nexus 6P manufactured by Huawei and the LG Nexus 5X.

In a Reddit AMA, the Google Nexus team had also explained that design, concept, specifications of a Nexus phone is done on a collaboration basis between the OEM and Google. The Nexus 6P in particular won rave reviews for the camera, display and overall performance.

Now it looks like Google wants to launch a more premium device, but with no OEM partner. We’ll have wait and see if the company actually does launch a Nexus without any another OEM’s branding.

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