It might not happen this year, or even next, but soon Google will have complete control over how its Nexus phones are made. The approach would match Apple’s iPhone strategy, treating outside manufacturers as contractors rather than seeking out help for development. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, allegedly wants more of a vertically integrated approach in an effort to challenge Apple in the high-end market.
The report comes from The Information, citing unknown sources familiar with Google’s plans.
Google traditionally collaborates with hardware partners—Samsung, Motorola, LG, Huawei—to make Nexus phones, allowing these companies to determine factors like design. With this new approach, however, Google would seize control of the entire process, and use outside sources for things like manufacturing parts. Again, this approach would be very similar to what Apple does with its iPhone; it allows the Cupertino company to create a more seamless, synergistic hardware/software experience.
According to The Information’s report, Google wants to do this for a few reasons: to fight Apple in the high-end market, and to combat the iPhone’s eventual abandonment of Google services. It started with YouTube and Maps, and although Google remains the default search in Safari, there’s always the threat that could change; Google makes a lot of money from Apple, and vice versa. But Google certainly stands to lose out on a lot of revenue should the iPhone ever completely un-Googlefy itself.
We’ve speculated that Google might finally move to developing its own phone(s) in the future, much the way it does with its Pixel products. Could we see a Pixel phone in Google’s future? According to The Information’s report, the search giant is thinking about it.