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Google reportedly working to launch in-house developed phone later this year

With the Nexus program, Google partners with several companies in creating phones and tablets that deliver a "pure" Android experience. According to The Telegraph, it looks like Google is set to release its own phone developed internally with more control over the "design, manufacturing and software" that doesn't involve a partnership with a well-known brand.

Citing a senior source, The Telegraph writes:

The technology giant is in discussions with mobile operators about releasing a Google-branded phone that will extend the company's move into hardware, sources familiar with the discussions told The Telegraph.The new device, which will be released by the end of the year according to a senior source, will see Google take more control over design, manufacturing and software.

Earlier this month, Google CEO Sundar Pichai talked about the search giant being "more opinionated as to the design of the phone." Then there's the newly-minted hardware division, helmed by former Motorola president Rick Osterloh.

That doesn't mean that the Nexus line is being waylaid, as Pichai reiterated that Google is fully committed to working with OEMs and putting more "thought into our Nexus devices." What's more, ​Android Central​ understands that the Nexus program isn't going away in the long-term.

A self-branded phone could just be the case of Google exerting more control over the design and manufacturing of the handset, much like what it does with devices like the Chromebook Pixel and Pixel C tablet.

For now, the story is still a rumor, and should be taken as such until we have more concrete details. What's your take on a Google-branded phone?

Harish Jonnalagadda
Harish Jonnalagadda

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

117 Comments
  • **Google partners Posted via the Android Central App
  • Knowing Google, the premium Google phone that many would want would probably never appear and would still remain a Nexus device. IF Google made a phone, it would be a mid-range device. Probably some quirky but really interesting modular phone made completely in-house. Ahem. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Or follow suit with the Pixel. Be an ultra high end phone in the $800+ range and leave the Nexus line as the "affordable" Android devices.. Posted via Techmology
  • The 6p is like 500+ us dollars that's not affordable and I don't see how an in house "pixel" phone changes that, this is all just speculation but it dont see what thus does for Android as a whole. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • The Nexus 5x is currently selling as low as $230 at some retailers which is the affordable Nexus. The "P" in Nexus 6P literally stands for "Premium".
  • The base model of the 6P was $499 from launch day. Posted via HTC 10
  • It's cheaper than the iPhone 6S and Galaxy S7.
  • Still a high end offering Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • 5 bills isn't a lot of money
  • What? Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Not to children, of course
  • Nah I have a job and am out doing something in the world instead of sitting on my ass being an ass to other users Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Ignore Scott, he was the first crack baby. Nothing but incoherent nonsense. Posted from Nexus 6
  • It's all relative. The 6P goes toe-to-toe with the iPhone 6S Plus and the Galaxy S7, yet it costs $250-$300 less at full retail price. It's an affordable phone as far as the flagship tier goes.
  • Cheaper than the most expensive widely available phones doesn't necessarily mean "affordable." Posted via the Android Central App
  • DING DING DING Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Not really a good comparison since those phones are very overpriced. Google will need to have an ironclad program in place and support the hardware much like Apple does. Nexus while somewhat successful has been plagued with poor engineering and manufacturing from what I've read.
  • Flagship phones like the iPhone, S7 Edge, HTC 10, etc. are all $600-$800. The Pixel is a $1k Chromebook, and the Pixel C is an expensive Android tablet. A Pixel phone would likely be $700-$800 and would compete with the top tier flagship phones without a compromise like most Nexus' have.
  • Where's the market for this type of product? Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Same market that bought the Nexus 6 at launch. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah because that was a huge market /s Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Are you being intentionally obtuse? geoff5093 literally just listed the other phones in the market it would likely be competing in. Are you arguing that there's no market for high-end phones? Also, I think you're missing the more important point in that it's Google, they don't have to have to sell a bunch of them to justify making it. Just look at the Chromebook Pixel.
  • No, what I am saying is there is no market for a 800+ us dollar phone which there isn't. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Except no one has said it will be $800+. Way to fabricate a straw man. The comment you replied to stated $600-$800, for which there is already an established market for high-end phones in that range. Plus, you're still missing the point that Google doesn't have to make this phone to move units en mass. It could be part of a long-term play, or maybe they will make it just because they want to. Or maybe they won't make it at all. It's all speculation at this point but to say it won't happen because of market forces is a failure to recognize that Google can (and has shown they are willing to) make something for reasons other than moving units.
  • I'll agree with that last sentence but no one has said it won't cost 800+ either you and me don't know a damn thing Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • First off I didn't say $800+, I said $600-$800. And to prove you wrong, look how many iPhone's, Galaxy Note, and Galaxy S7 Edge phones are out there. They are the most popular phones, at least in North America, and cost $700-$1000.
  • How many nexi do you see out there? Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • And yet Google is still making them. You just proved my point.
  • Well Google has to make them because there needs to be a dev phone. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Obviously there clearly is a market for $800+ phones. Has been for quite a few years now. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This^. Google very rarely use their devices or projects in order to make a profit. They make enough money from ad revenue in their search engine, and other sources that to break even or even a small loss won't make or break them. Even Google leaders have stated that their devices are designed to push innovations in technology, not to make money.
  • he clearly stated the market: would compete with the top tier flagship phones ... iPhone, S7 Edge, HTC 10, etc.
  • Except with Googles lack of marketing power it won't. I love a nexus as much as the next guy but it just doesn't sell. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I see you're still clinging to that tired argument. You're ignoring the fact that It doesn't have to sell as I and others have demonstrated by pointing out the Chromebook Pixel.
  • Dude i agreed with that statement above Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • You're fighting a straw man. I'm not arguing that a Pixel phone would sell like the iphone, galaxy or even nexus.
  • He's still just a child. He'll mature and make better arguments in the future.
  • I disagree with your opinion that it would be a mid range device. Google wants to do what Apple does with the iPhone and what Microsoft will do with the Surface Phone which is planned for 2017. Just like Microsoft relies mainly on OEM partners yet releases premium hardware under the Surface brand so would Google still mainly rely on OEM partners for the bulk of Android yet still release a premium device under its own brand. Microsoft originally wanted the Surface because they wanted to make a premium product with their own vision and say about design. This sounds like the same story. Most people will still buy the OEM Android phones since they will be much more affordable yet still offer a quality product and experience. Just like OEMs dominate Windows sales even though the Surface line is clearly superior. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Cmon man a high end in house Google phone just won't sell. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • And nobody wants a Pixel, except us geeks. Google could totally make a premium phone, or a midrange phone - there's no way to be sure until they actually announce their plans themselves. Everything until then is basically speculation. My dream phone would be a Nexus/Pixel phablet with Tango and a quality stylus. It's not probably going to ever happen. But I'd absolutely pay top dollar if it did. Just like some people do actually buy a Chromebook Pixel despite the price. Google's a company with enough size to build and sell niche products if it wants to. Hardware is not the core of their business, so they can experiment a lot there. And they do, with both success stories and failures - Chromecasts and Nexus Q's. Posted via the AC App on my Note 5
  • That 100% depends on how it is marketed. Enterprise would be a good start. People use Windows and Office at home because they tend to use it at work. That's just one possible gateway. Then there is the old fashioned suggestion. I have so many iPhone owning friends and family who are quite frankly getting a bit bored and disenfranchised with Apple. They have been asking more and more about Android. If there was a Google "version" of the iPhone, of course I would recommend it. Hell, I'd probably own one. Posted via the Android Central App
  • There is a iPhone android phone. It's called the Galaxy S7 Posted via the Android Central App
  • There is also an idiot troll and his name is Jonathan Leduc. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Troll fight!
  • yah it is pretty damn close but what I mean is the whole "we completely own the software and the hardware" schtick. A GPE S7, from a software update standpoint, would be a nice option.
  • Nice compliment. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google could make a phone that crushes the S7 and IPhone at 500 bucks and no one would buy it because their phones are not made of the masses.
  • "their phones are not made of the masses" That's a good thing. I wouldn't want Google making phones out of people. What would they call it? Soylent Green of course.
  • +1
  • I think it will on carriers with lease options
  • I stopped reading after "what Microsoft will do with the surface phone" Yea, then BlackBerry will adopt windows 10 as an os and finally dig itself out the grave. Posted via the Android Central App
  • There is no "many" that want a premium Nexus phone. It's just us and the blogs. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Wrong. There's a very large segment of society that want the phone that is perceived as the most premium just to say they have the best, even if they know nothing of technology. Posted via unlocked S7 Active on T-Mobile
  • Do you notice how celebs dont have vertu phones and have iPhones? I believe I'm right on this one Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Actually, you just proved his point there buddy. The iPhone is exactly a phone people buy for price and appearance because they don't know technology. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's not correct to classify all people who have iPhones to not know anything about technology. And Google doesn't have the marketing prowess to push a premium phone like Apple can. And I'm not your buddy. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • yah good point @thatguy97
  • Leave the iPhone people out of this, please. They have enough problems. Unlocked Marshmallow Nexus 6 on Verizon. I'm a happy guy.
  • Ssssheeeezzz, what a disaster we have here Posted via the Android Central App
  • A "Pixel" Android smartphone isn't unrealistic. Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
  • Considering BlackBerry runs on Android I don't think anything is unrealistic these days. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm down for a Pixel Phone although I don't want to pay the premium like we seen on Pixels Chromebooks.
  • So you're not down for a Pixel phone...
  • Exactly.... Posted via the Android Central App
  • The Pixel C have a decent price for a premium tablet whereas the Pixel laptop cost the price of a premium laptop but is not a premium laptop experience.
    If they build a Pixel Phone it will probably cost the same as flagships from Samsung and HTC, so it will have to be better than a Nexus otherwise I would just stick with the Nexus.
  • I agree with you now my only question is how do they make it better than a Nexus 6P. I dont care for them but they appear to be rather good. Do they make the battery last longer? Better Camera, Screen?
  • They could start by removing those ugly top and bottom bezels that measure a foot each. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Except they don't measure a foot each. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I would totally be down for a Pixel phone! I've had the S7 Edge, LG G5, HTC 10, iPhone 6S+ but I keep coming back to my Nexus 6P. I really enjoy Google's vision of Android. I would pay top dollar for a Pixel phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You've "had" the S7, G5, HTC 10...? Past tense? Do you buy a new phone every month?
  • Lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm not getting excited, for all I know it could be Android one-ish type device aimed at emerging markets. Posted via the Android Central App
  • For us that's not exciting but it would be nice to see that as Android one was nothing but an empty promise. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Which is still important just not for you. Google will eventually make a phone, its just a matter of time. Posted via the Android Central App on Nexus 6p
  • Get ready for the One Plus Google! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Except without BS marketing. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I don't think there is truth to this story. But if there is, what could be happening is that Google could bring a second or third Nexus phone while still letting another or two other OEMs make the other Nexus phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why not? With ATAP wrapping Ara soon they'll be bored, so why not get the team behind the original moto x to crank out another phone just for fun & old times sake
    Motorola is not dead, they're just not called Motorola anymore. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Who said anything about wrapping me up? What in? Some super soft blankets, I hope... Posted via the Android Central App
  • And folks, you too can have an exciting career spamming message boards indiscriminately telling lies about how much money you make and becoming the most hated human being on the interwebs. Sounds truly appealing!
  • And this is what Samsung and Huawei were afraid of by a move like this. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google makes self-driving cars. Samsung makes Tanks. Tell me again how you're right.?. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No, not at all Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Samsung has nothing to fear from this. Rodeo time, time to get er on down the road.
  • Exactly, people seem to think this is a product that will change the android landscape. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • But what if it does? Don't you think finding out would be worth it?
  • If they can convince the carriers to go along with another iPhone type deal will be the reality of the situation. They know that they have to have complete control over the updates to stop the fracturing and be mainstream with the public and be pushed by the carriers to sell them here Of all the companies that could out spend Samsung or Apple on Advertising , Google is the one that could do it.. The question is how they plan on marketing it and to whom .. Posted via the Android Central App
  • They tried that with the Nexus 6, but AT&T still blocks updates for it. Even if you bought it unlocked and have an AT&T (or Cricket, or any MVNO using AT&T's network), you don't get updates straight from Google.
  • I didnt know this, How do they block it even if its straight from Google and also is the 6p in the same boat?
  • They didn't technically "block" the update, they just took a very long time to certify it. So, any phone that had an AT&T (and MVNO) SIM inside wouldn't know there was an update available. It's fixed now, but they didn't release Marshmallow until January, even though it was available in October for everyone else. More info here http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/01/13/guide-im-on-att-or-cricket-strai... And no, the 6P is not effected by this. I have a Straight Talk SIM inside my 6P and I get the monthly security updates just fine.
  • They sim blocked it. No the 6P doesn't have this problem because it is truly unlocked and not sold through carriers. 
  • I believe it would be possible for Google to take on apple head to head with a "pixel" device. With the right marketing, carrier deals like apple has, I.e. no bloat, and focus on pushing it to the masses. But let's be honest with ourselves, Google has the attention span of a gnat when it comes to projects like these. It would end up being like the Chromebook pixel if anything. It would be a top of the line device with killer design, but they'll never dedicate the resources needed to elevate it to apples level. I wish they would though. Give Apple a real run for their money. Posted using the power of my mind!
  • Lets really be honest, the carriers are not going to give google that sort of leeway. Apple got it in the beginning and Samsung should have asked for the same at that time but decided to go with the money.
  • The upcoming Nexus devices will only have Google branding, even though HTC is making (at least one.) I think people are reading too far between the lines.
  • Oh and then there is this... " Then there's the newly-minted hardware division, helmed by former Motorola president Rick Osterloh." That might be the strongest evidence there is that this could happen. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Although not impossible, Google would be insane to do this. The Nexus program isn't a success in itself. I think everyone who isn't a blind Google fanboy can admit that few people buy Nexus devices. General consumers don't really care for them when they come with a known and relatively well established brand in mobile (like LG) let alone without it.
    Chromebooks and Pixels in general also don't sell (And no, a couple of schools in the US doesn't make anything relevant). So why would Google, whose brand isn't appealing as a hardware brand and already raises sufficient eyebrows as a software one, try to sell people a phone? It won't work.
    Microsoft who has a far greater tradition in building hardware and who has found success with the Surface line lately (enough for Google to try to pathetically rip it off with the Pixel C) wasn't able to avoid the collapse and death of Windows Phone when the established mobile brand attached to it - Nokia - went away.
    I see absolutely no reason why Google would succeed here, even with Android. Not to mention this would also burn bridges with Android OEMs. It doesn't matter how small you think the project will be, OEM partners will not like to have you competing with them directly. And they'll also find little reason in the future to participate in the Nexus program. Even if Google pays them, it will be redundant and a waste of time. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Chromebooks sell better than you think (maybe not the high end model) and all Google cares about is their services and getting them out to people. If that involves them making a phone because they feel they need to cater to the "high end/premium" crowd, I could see them doing it. 
  • In the US, maybe. Not anywhere else.
  • Moving goal posts
  • You call Surface a success and then say Chromebooks aren't? Chromebooks outsell Macs now! If the Play Store works well on them, they could really put a dent in the Windows market.
  • Once again, small reminder: the USA does NOT represent AT ALL the entire world. Quite the contrary. What happens in the USA has absolutely no reflection on the way the rest of the markets work.
    Chromebooks do NOT outsell Macs anywhere (except, maybe, in the USA, and I've never even seen a report on that being true but I'll believe it based solely on the abyssal price difference). And yes, the Surface is a success. Not only it revolutionised the tablet market - putting and end to it and ushering in the era of 2-in-1's - but it also sells really well worldwide (and not just in the USA), making Microsoft a lot of money on profits. Chromebooks on the other hand barely sell at all outside the USA. And even with the Play Store in them, they will present no threat to either Macs and even less Windows. Mac computers sell to people in the Apple ecosystem. That won't change. And Chromebooks are everything but real PCs or productivity tools. Even with Microsoft apps in them, no one with two functioning brain cells will buy a Chromebook to replace a Windows PC.
    Android is a great mobile OS but that's what it is. A mobile OS. ChromeOS is neither a great PC OS nor a great mobile OS. Which is why it's absolutely irrelevant. Having the Play Store in it will make as much of a difference as Windows Phone having UWP apps in it. UWP will not turn Windows Phone into a viable OS, just like the Play Store won't turn ChromeOS into a viable OS.
  • http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/19/11711714/chromebooks-outsold-macs-us-i... UWP will not turn Windows Mobile into a viable OS because no one creates UWP. It certainly isn't a mature market place. On the other hand, the Play Store already has all the apps and developer support. It certainly is not a guaranteed success, but they are in a better position than Microsoft is with their store. “That is the most expensive phone in the world. And it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine.” Ballmer on the iPhone. Reminds me of your argument against Chromebooks, "productivity! blah blah blah blah". The US isn't the rest of the world, you are right, but the world will follow them if Chromebooks become more relevant. They are heavily used in schools here and the younger generation is moving away from PCs. Chromebooks have a steep road ahead of them for sure, but they do have a chance, especially for mainstream users. Windows will always have its niche but use cases for it are getting narrower every year. Ease of use and lack of complications in ChromeOS makes it very appealing to people who do not need Windows software. That segment will only grow going forward.
  • I thought Chromebook sales just surpassed those of MacBooks, but I might be wrong.
  • I wouldn't say Microsoft has a great tradition in doing hardware. In the mobile front, they've always had hardware partners doing their phones and tablets (Samsung, LG, Motorola, Asus, Acer, & Nokia) with their software on it. Up until they bought Nokia, what devices have we seen with Microsoft listed as the OEM? In other areas, they have the X Box game consoles and they had the Zune. But in their PC and laptop market, it's the same as their mobile offerings, they have OEMs like Acer, HP, Asus, Toshiba, Sony, etc doing the hardware with their software on board. So I don't see this being any different than what Microsoft has been doing lately with their phones after the Nokia sale and their Surface line.
  • I don't see how a Pixel phone would be any different than the current 6P. And as many hardware problems as the Pixel C has, I don't know why anyone would want Google making a phone on their own.
  • I agree Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Sounds big!
  • Where and when can I buy one? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Maybe they will just brand it pixel like their tablets and chromebooks. That can be their "high end" line where they have full control over. 
  • How does this product benefit Google at all? Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • How did the Pixel line benefit them? It was higher priced than the offerings of their hardware partners, but they still did it. What I can see is that with any Nexus device, the design is still driven by the OEMs. All of the devices carry the design language of the OEM's non Nexus devices, with the most obvious being the Nexus 6 looking like a enlarged Moto X. But even the devices done by Samsung and LG look similar to their non Nexus devices. This would allow Google to have 100% say in the design.
  • They Got Rid of Motorola? There was there chance....
  • But they hired Motorola's President and put him in charge of the hardware dept.
  • They should offer a full spectrum of sizes with this phone - 4.5", 5.0", 5.5", 6.0", 6.5", 7.0".
  • We've been hearing about Google's Project Ara for a couple of years now. I doubt they would trust someone else to manufacture their groundbreaking baby. I have little doubt that this will be the phone released. I have many doubts that people will be attracted to a phone that looks like a flattened Rubik's cube.
  • I got a name for the new phone: G phone Posted via the Android Central App
  • About time lol hope is good Posted via the Android Central App