Developers may want to start getting ready for a new Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android phone later this year.
The Telegraph reported Google intends to design and manufacture its own branded Android phone, one that may help the company compete with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and its iPhone.
Currently, Google supports hardware partners such as LG and Huawei, i.e. mobile device manufacturers that create Android phones under the Nexus brand.
If Google creates its own Android phone, however, it may become more appealing for developers to consider creating Android apps.
Google reportedly said it wants to take an "Apple-like" approach to hardware development in the future. By doing so, the company may be better equipped to develop a similar relationship to the one Apple maintains with iPhone users.
For example, Apple manufactures the iPhone and can provide consistent updates to end users periodically.
On the other hand, multiple hardware manufacturers offer Android phones, which has made it exceedingly difficult for Google to provide consistent Android updates to end users across numerous devices. This often left Android developers struggling with "fragmentation," or the use of different versions of the same operating system.
If it manufactured its own phone, Google could release Android updates regularly and minimize the dangers associated with fragmentation. And with the ability to release consistent updates, Google may be able to make it easier for developers to design and deploy Android apps that could have an extended shelf life.
"[Google is] concerned that Android is fragmenting, that it needs to become a more controlled platform," CCS Insight Analyst Ben Wood told The Telegraph. "I think they'll seek to control it more, more like Apple."
It remains to be seen if Google will release its own phone this year, but it's certainly something for developers to watch.
Android remains exceedingly popular worldwide, and with its own Android phone, Google could empower developers to create better apps and drive increased revenues as well. - Dan, @FierceDeveloper