In a sense, Google is already deeply involved in the cell phone game. Its Android operating system is the most used mobile operating system in most countries in the world, for instance. But it still lags behind in major markets including the United States, Canada, and Australia. Part of the reason for this is because Google has never had its own hardware before. However, it looks like that’s about to change, as it is being reported (via The Telegraph) that Google is working on its own device, and hopes to make it available by the end of the year.
Having its own phone would allow Google to control every aspect of how it operates, which it just can’t do when its software is installed on hardware created by various manufacturers: A mid-2015 report stated that Android was installed on over 24,000 unique devices. An analyst told The Telegraph, “They are concerned that Android is fragmenting, that it needs to become a more controlled platform. I think they’ll seek to control it more, more like Apple.”
Still, it seems like Google’s goal of having their own phone released by the end of 2016 is ambitious: Project Ara, the long-delayed modular smartphone Google has been working on, is only shipping units to developers this fall, while consumer versions will only be available in 2017.
When Google actually enters the smartphone market, they’ll at least have the advantage of a preexisting user base. Apple’s iOS isn’t right for everybody, and if Android can find its way onto a high-end and more stable device, it’s possible that Google can both keep the users it has and steal some away from Apple.
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