Rumor Mill: Sony working with Google on Nexus-branded smartphone

Sony Mobile Communications may be joining a growing roster of Android handset makers working with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) on new smartphones as part of its Nexus program, according to a post from Xperia Blog.

The blog posted several pictures of a device that may be the "Nexus X" made by Sony. It is unclear though whether the device, which looks like the Xperia Ion smartphone, is a Nexus device. As The Verge notes, the rumored Sony device has "Google" on the back instead of the "With Google" logo found on LG Electronics' rumored Nexus 4.

A Sony Mobile spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reports emerged last week that LG is working with Google on a Nexus phone that could debut this month. According to a Bloomberg report, which cited unnamed sources, the LG gadget is based on LG's Optimus G model.

Google has reportedly decided to expand its Nexus device program to more vendors. HTC made the original Nexus One and Samsung made the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. Asustek produced the Nexus 7 tablet, which Google unveiled in June.

By spreading the cachet that comes with producing a Nexus device to smaller Android vendors such as LG and Sony, Google could be seeking to not only raise their profiles but also smooth over tensions between Android OEMs. Such a move would also help Google push back against worries that it will favor its Motorola Mobility unit in Android device development; Google closed its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola in May.

For more:
- see this Xperia Blog post
- see this The Verge article

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