Google plans to shake up the smartphone market this year by releasing a mobile handset of its own. The move would tighten the search engine’s grip on mobile software while allowing it to compete directly with Apple’s iPhone.
The tech giant is having discussions with different mobile operators regarding the release of a phone that is Google-branded and will help extend the move by the company into hardware, said those familiar with the talks.
Google is already developing the operating systems Android that runs four of five smartphones around the globe and it endorses a number of phones made by its partners such as Huawei and LG under the Nexus brand by Google
However, unlike rival Apple, it leaves the manufacturing to a third party such as South Korea based Samsung, with the company left to concentrate on the developing of software that operates on its handsets.
This new device that will be launched before the end of 2016, according to one source, will see the search engine take control of design, software and manufacturing.
Although the Android operates on most of the smartphones globally, Apple dominants the high-end, lucrative smartphone market.
The proliferation of device makers operating Android, many of who apply the software differently, means that Google has struggled with ensuring consistency, with some owners of smartphones waiting for updates for months and some makers relegating the internet services of Google, which are on Android.
Making its own phone allows Google to be in control of software securing its future services like Google search and Google Play app store will run within the device.
Google is known best for its software used on Internet, but has taken the steps necessary into the realm of hardware of recent by releasing a tablet of its own, laptops as well as other gadgets.
Earlier in 2016, Google hired the former Motorola president Rick Osterloh to lead its hardware division, which was a clear sign that it has ambitions to grow.
The CEO at Google Sundar Pichai said in May that Google was putting additional effort into smartphones, although he mentioned that the company was continuing to support the Nexus, Google backed smartphones, which most believe will continue in 2016 with new handsets manufactured by HTC from Taiwan.
The Google move might add more dimension to the claims of the European Union that Google abused the dominance of Android.
This past April, the European Commission charged Google formally with abuse through monopoly accusing it of using its success of the operating system Android as well as Google Store to push it browser Chrome and its search engine.