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Is Google Actually Going to Release a Phone This Year?

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As if you didn’t already have too many Android devices to choose from: Google is supposedly rolling out its first Google-branded phone (read: a non-Nexus device) by the end of 2016, The Telegraph reported this morning.

The technology giant is in discussions with mobile operators about releasing a Google-branded phone that will extend the company’s move into hardware, sources familiar with the discussions told The Telegraph. […] The new device, which will be released by the end of the year according to a senior source, will see Google take more control over design, manufacturing and software.

It’s an unsurprising rumor to hear: Google CEO Sundar Pichai has publicly commented on the company’s emphasis on phones, and Motorola’s Rick Osterloh was hired earlier this year to head up a new hardware division. And there’s also the much discussed Google Ara, a modular phone which lets you swap out pieces like a camera or speakers and is slated for release in 2017.

But Google is already working with hardware companies like LG and Huawei on the Nexus line of phones, which are made to the company’s exact design specifications but are manufactured by third parties. It’s hard to see how Google could take more control over design or software than it already does with Nexus, and while the company is likely eager to move into the manufacturing space, the timeline for Ara hasn’t changed, and it seems unlikely that this new mystery Google phone is going to jump in front and actually become available to the public by year’s end.

In the meanwhile, there are plenty of iPhone rumors to gawk at, since that device will likely be available in the fall.

Is Google Actually Going to Release a Phone?