Google might be considering making its own Android handset, as per a new report. If true, the move could put pressure on its OEM partners to create better handsets. The report comes days after Google was said to be in talks with chipmakers to make its custom-designed processors.
Currently, the company relies on its hardware partners to design and manufacture handsets and tablets. While it does maintain a Nexus program, in which it controls the design and user experience aspects of the devices, the hardware is still manufactured by its partners. According to a report by The Information, the company is mulling whether it should make its own handsets.
It is not a stranger to manufacturing devices. The Pixel C tablet it launched alongside the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X was manufactured by Google. In fact, the Pixel lineup of Chromebook PCs is also designed by the company. If it does decide to design and manufacture its devices, the move could set a benchmark for other manufacturers to follow. This would push its partners to manufacture better products as they will be directly competing with Google.
But at the same time, it could strain its relationships with existing partners. The company briefly-owned the smartphone company Motorola. But seemingly to avoid friction with its own partners, it intentionally didn't try to make any bold moves. Major partners like Samsung are already losing their grip on the market to smaller rivals from China, such as Xiaomi and Lenovo, and the South Korean company in particular has been looking for a while to reduce its reliance on Google, with efforts like bada OS and Tizen OS.
The report comes shortly after The Information also reported that Google was in talks with chipset makers to manufacture its custom-designed processors. But as seems to be the case with Android OEMs, chipmakers might also not like the idea of manufacturing processors dictated by Google, as they stand to lose the chance to provide cutting edge technologies that distinguish their work from rivals.
There are several conflicting reports around what Google really has planned in the smartphone space. On one hand, it has reportedly agreed to give its Android One partners more leeway on the hardware front, while on the other hand it wants to set an example of how its devices should be made. It will be interesting to see how things pan out for Google in the coming months.
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