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article imageGoogle reportedly building its own Android phone from scratch

By James Walker     Jun 27, 2016 in Technology
Google is reportedly planning a move to disrupt the Android ecosystem by launching its own smartphone developed entirely in-house. Its current range of Nexus handsets are built by external companies. Google now wants control, abandoning the Nexus name.
Google set up its own hardware division back in April, spawning speculation that it is planning to build its own consumer devices. According to The Telegraph, the company is in active discussions with mobile operators to release its own smartphone wearing Google branding.
The device would be unlikely to use Google's Nexus brand. Nexus devices are supported and sold by Google as the flagship Android handsets for each generation. They run stock Android without any alterations. Google helps to develop the devices but contracts other manufacturers to design and build them. Last year, it partnered with LG and Huawei. It has previously worked with Samsung and Motorola on Nexus devices.
There is currently no indication that the Nexus line will end this year, Another device is already understood to be in development, this time by HTC. There are also rumours that Huawei is building another device for launch in 2016.
No details are currently available on Google's aims for the new project. A key goal seems to be successfully shaking up the Android ecosystem, tightening its control on the platform and allowing it to directly compete with Apple's business model.
The move would see it design and build both the hardware and software on its own phones, the same methodology Apple applies to the iPhone. Google already has its own line of tablets and laptops. Building a phone would give it a comprehensive range of first-party hardware, putting it in the same position as Apple and Microsoft.
The plans may concern smartphone manufacturers currently reliant on Android. Google has already indicated it is growing increasingly frustrated at the fragmentation of Android, expressing annoyance at manufacturers' refusal or inability to regularly issue software updates. The company is thought to be considering ways to become more controlling of the operating system it created, something that has already worried some manufacturers into beginning to move away.
Last week, reports emerged that Huawei is building its own mobile operating system so it isn't reliant on Android in the future. Samsung is thought to be taking a similar approach, stepping up the development of its Tizen platform for smartphones so it has an alternative should Google impose restrictions on Android.
It remains to be seen how consumers would react to a Google-developed phone built entirely in-house. Nexus devices have gained a reputation for being the domain of developers and Android purists and sell in comparatively small numbers. Google could target a wider audience with its own device, going after the iPhone and thoroughly disrupting the Android platform in the process.
According to The Telegraph, the new device will launch "by the end of the year." Although not explicitly stated, it seems probable the phone will target a similar market region to Google's current Nexus range, using premium specifications at a competitive price.
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