Google's first non-Nexus smartphone tipped for 2016

If you have been wondering why there has been relative silence on the rumor mill about a 2016 Nexus, aside from a HTC leak here and there, this might be the reason why. According to your usual anonymous sources, Google will be launching a new smartphone later this year, but it won't be a Nexus. Or hopefully in addition to a Nexus. It might be a shocking revelation, unless you've heard the rumors before. Google is eyeing directly making its own Android smartphone, not unlike Apple directly making its own iPhones. And this could simply be the first of the "more opinionated" smartphones Google has planned.

It perhaps all started with the Google Pixel C tablet hybrid. Although it wasn't exactly the first time Google made hardware of its own, like Chromebook Pixels and Chromecasts, it was the first time it did so for an Android device. At the moment, there are no longer any Android tablets in Google's online device store, so naturally there has been speculation that Google would do something similar for Android smartphones.

The company has, in fact, sprinkled clues to support that theory. It has expressed dissatisfaction over the fragmentation of Android and CEO Sundar Pichai has hinted that the company will be more "opinionated" about the designs of Android devices, much to the worry of its OEM partners. And just last April it hired former Motorola president Rick Osterloh to head its new hardware division, proving it is quite serious in its hardware venture.

Naturally, details about this Google smartphone are almost non-existent, other than a general "it exists". If it does exist, it could be a way for Google to strike a balance between reining in the fragmentation of Android and alienating its hardware partners. Some of those, like Samsung and Huawei, are already said to be looking at alternatives to Android should Google suddenly decide to take control away from manufacturers. Putting out its own smartphone while still pushing the Nexus program would at least offer some middle ground.

On the other hand, that would make Google a direct competitor to those OEMs as well. That will depend largely on how much Google will market its own smartphone. Although it might be looking at Apple as a blueprint of a platform and hardware maker in one, Google has yet to prove its mettle when it comes to mass producing consumer devices for a much larger market.

VIA: The Telegraph