Is the Nexus line of smartphones not Googley enough for you? Well, it looks as though Google is putting the finishing touches on a new Android smartphone that will bear its name instead of the familiar Nexus branding.
This latest report of a Google smartphone comes from The Telegraph, citing “sources familiar with the discussions.” Although Nexus devices carry the torch for Android smartphones (new Nexus flagship launch with the latest and greatest version of Android), they’re designed and manufactured by third-party OEMs. Last year, Huawei was tasked with building the 5.7-inch Nexus 6P, while LG built the lower-end Nexus 5X.
But as we’ve been hearing more and more frequently, Google wants greater end-to-end control of the design process — an advantage that Apple has long had with its iPhone (Apple controls both the hardware and software of its smartphones). Earlier this month, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that his company would be “more opinionated about the design of phones” and that it would be “investing more effort” going forward.
The other important takeaway from this newest report is that Google is rumored to be in discussion with U.S. carriers to release the smartphone. This has the potential to be both a blessing and a curse for Google. Having its own-branded smartphones available both in stores and online at the “Big Four” U.S. wireless carriers (Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint) greatly adds public marketing exposure that was never there with the Nexus line of smartphones. On the negative side, there’s the potential that carriers wouldn’t agree to carry the supposed Google Phone unless they were able to load it up with their infamous bloatware, marring the “clean” Android look that Nexus devices are known for.
But Google has considerable clout of its own and perhaps it could use its significant muscle to push back against carriers that look to shove their apps and services onto customers. If Apple can get away with selling bloat-free iPhones through carriers, so can Google.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, the Google Phone will be released before the end of the year, which will put it directly in competition with not only the iPhone 7, but also the new crop of Nexus devices that will ship this fall. And next year, we should expect to see a production version of Google’s Project Ara smartphone making its way to consumers.