Google is planning to shake up the smartphone industry by launching a new phone under their own brand name to compete with Apple and extend their control over Android.
Google’s Android OS currently leads the smartphone market with a huge margin and four of the every five phones currently being sold are running some form of Android. Even with this kind of dominance, the Android ecosystem is not what Google would want as most of the Android phones don’t get timely software updates which effects the user experience. Furthermore, the high-end smartphone market is still controlled by Apple iPhone.
The software giant has been working with some manufacturers to launch phones under the Nexus program but according to sources familiar with company’s plans, Google is now planning to launch a smartphone under their own brand name later this year. There is no information about the specifications or pricing of this phone as yet but we expect it to be a high-end phone which will sit above the Nexus price range. It will obviously run the latest hardware and software at the time of release and will support Project Fi network program. According to Telegraph UK, the company is currently in talks with major mobile operators to facilitate the Google-branded phone when it comes out.
Google has recently launched some hardware under their own brand including Pixel C tablet and Chromebook Pixel. The Pixel C is the first tablet to bear the Google tag, prior to this, there have been some tablets by Google but only under Nexus program with other hardware manufacturers. Earlier this year, Google also hired Rick Osterloh, former Motorola President, as the head of their hardware division which also points towards company’s seriousness.
It is currently unclear whether Google will tap their hardware partners like LG, Samsung, Huawei or others for the manufacturing of their phone or will go with the likes of Foxconn (which also makes iPhones). One thing is clear that Google’s plan to jump into hardware will surely make its partners, who have made big bets on Android, feel insecure.