RUMOUR MILL: By Thanksgiving, we could see five new ‘Nexus’ smartphones and tablets – the title given to Android’s flagship phone for a particular version – being sold directly to consumers through Google, as opposed to the traditional carriers. Well, that’s if a report by the Wall Street Journal is true.
The paper notes that:
Google will work with as many as five manufacturers at a time to create a portfolio of “Nexus” lead devices that include smartphones and tablets, and it plans to sell the gadgets directly to consumers in the U.S., Europe and Asia through its website, and also potentially through some retailers, one of these people said. The smartphones are expected to be sold unlocked, meaning they come without a wireless contract and can run on multiple wireless networks by inserting a SIM card.
The phone will also run on the upcoming (and much rumoured title) Jelly Bean, which is expected out in the third quarter of this year.
However, the Wall Street Journal also notes that it plans to give many other hardware manufacturers to produce ‘Nexus’ devices, as opposed to one – suggesting that manufacturers aren’t that happy with Google buying Motorola, even fearing that Google “will try to boost the struggling Motorola business at their expense”. Previously, Google partnered with one manufacturer to create a ‘Nexus’ device – currently with Samsung, but previously with HTC.
Google’s plan to sell direct to consumers is also being said to “help supercharge the sale of Android-powered tablets”. Those tablets have been unable to find much of a market due to the dominance of the iPad, and the Kindle Fire’s attractive price tag (the irony is that the Kindle Fire is running Android, but heavily customised).
The plan also suggests that it wants to “exert more control” on the platform and “reduc[e] the influence of wireless carriers” over its phones. The plan does allow Google to have more control, since it will be selling and distributing the phones in addition to marketing the overall Android name – something that has always been left with the carriers.
Is it a good idea, however? It is. But it will depend on the markets, because if Australia or the United Kingdom aren’t allowed to purchase phones via Google, then it goes to show that the carriers have some power in that country.