Google may release self-designed smartphone by end of 2016 - report

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Google is reportedly working on a new self-branded phone over which it will exert more design, software, and manufacturing control, putting the company in more direct competition with Apple's iPhone.

The Google device will ship by the end of the year, one of several sources explained to UK newspaper The Telegraph. While Google been shipping self-branded Nexus devices for years, most of the work has been handled by outside parties like LG, Huawei and HTC. This has nevertheless allowed Google to define the Android platform via products that run "pure" versions of the OS.

Google may be concerned, however, that there's still too much fragmentation in the industry. Because phone makers are mostly free to customize Android, that means that they can install custom apps that steer people away from Google services, where the company generates most of its revenue.

Some vendors are also slow to push out new versions of Android to their customers, particularly people on older hardware. While a Nexus 6P is likely running Android 6.0 or later, non-Nexus devices may sometimes be running 5.x or even 4.x, left there because supporting new devices is more lucrative.

Much of Apple's success with the iPhone has been linked to the company having direct control over both software and hardware, the latter of which is its main profit driver. Google has been growing the number of physical products it offers though, and earlier this year launched a new hardware division under former Motorola president Rick Osterloh.


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