In two weeks from now we will likely have official confirmation of brand new smartphones from Google, the first to be designed by the company itself.
The web giant has teased an unveiling set for 2am AEST October 5, and unless it’s planning to reveal a completely unexpected product that just happens to have the rounded oblong dimensions of a smartphone, it seems like the long-held rumours of a Google phone will come to pass. Here’s everything we know so far.
A new Google microsite shows a familiar rectangle — which has been the centrepoint of the company’s search empire for almost two decades — slowly morphing upward into the shape of a phone, which fills with a variety of standard lifestyle images. Aside from the graphic, the page features the text “5 Oct.” and the Google favicon used across its products, as well as a field for people to enter an email address and be “notified”.
The web address of the teaser — madeby.google.com — makes it clear that this product will be promoted as built and designed in-house, unlike the Nexus devices which carry the brand and design hallmarks of the manufacturers that make them.
In recent years Google has increased the number of hardware products that carry only its own branding, including Chromecasts and the acclaimed Pixel C tablet. Despite having developed the open source Android operating system for more than a decade, the company has never built its own phone.
Recent leaks had shown HTC to be building a new pair of Nexus phones, but Android Central reported last month that the devices would be dropping the moniker.
More recently, Android Police cited an “exceptionally reliable” source as claiming Google would rename the devices Pixel and Pixel XL. Another source told the website that Google would claim the devices were “the first phones built by Google” — a claim that’s now been given weight by the company’s teaser — although Android Police believes the phones will be designed by Google and manufactured by HTC.
Google set the stage for its new phones earlier this month when it killed its experimental modular phone initiative, Project Ara.
Also of note is the company’s recent complaint that phone manufacturers using Android weren’t doing enough to release updates in a timely fashion. The delay has led to unflattering comparisons between Google’s Android system and Apple’s iOS.
Since Apple controls both the hardware and software, it can ensure that security and feature updates will work with all devices and push them out instantaneously, while Google relies on manufacturers and service providers to tweak and approve changes to Android before they can be rolled out. With a phone it has designed and controls itself, Google would have a device that would compare much more favourably to the iPhone in this regard, and could serve as an example for other manufacturers.