On Sunday, The Telegraph published an article by James Titcomb saying Google was working on its own cellphone. The publication does not make reference to the phone the company is already making in cooperation with other manufacturers such as HTC and Huawei.
If the information is true, the company would be working on a device that can fully use all of Android’s features without incompatibilities. The note even says that the company is in touch with different phone service companies to release their new handset later this year.
According to the Telegraph, a “senior source” confirmed the release of Google’s new phone this year. If the company launches its own handset, it would directly compete with iPhone. Even though the Galaxy S7 is the best-sold phone as of now, the company would enter the arena as a phone manufacturer and an OS developer which is also Apple’s market. In a similar fashion to its competitor, an exclusive smartphone would allow the company to further establish its search engine and web browser along with its Google Play Store. Also, the entire developer team could have specific hardware in mind while working, which would allow them to fully exploit the OS capabilities.
The company has not emitted an official statement on the rumor nor have any of its manufacturer partners. In fact, Sundar Pichai, the company’s CEO, said the organization had set exigent goals for its participation in the mobile market by making its alliance with HTC stronger. Interestingly, there is no other reference implying Google wants to enter the smartphone market directly other than this article.
Google to step up smartphone wars with release of own handset https://t.co/RsnZiEGTGS
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) June 26, 2016
The implications of exclusivity could be numerous
The smartphone market is getting crowded. A turf, once exclusively dominated by Apple, changed last 2015’s trimester when the iPhone dropped sales. The Galaxy S7 established a wide dominance in the number of shipped phones, and Huawei took a huge part of the customer base for itself. The last two make their own phones, but they use Android as the main OS, and if Google really enters the arena, future updates and improvements would be uncertain in the long run.
There are also legal implications. Google has been in the eye of the storm ever since the European Union raised its voice against it. A European Commission officially registered a lawsuit against the tech corporation due to monopolization. According to the accusation, Google is using the vast popularity of its OS (Android) to push their search engine, web browser and online store. If the company actually extends its hardware branch, the European Commission could use it as an excuse to further push its claims.
In conclusion, there are a lot of factors that indicate such plans do not exist. Android operates in 2 of the top 3 best sold smart phones in the first Q of 2016, and the Nexus project is stronger than ever. Still, comments on high-rank executives about working harder in the mobile sector, recent year releases of new hardware such as laptops and tablets, and the fact that last year, the company hired the former president of Motorola, Rick Osterloh, give these rumors a logical and kind of acceptable base.