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Google could finally pit Nexus phones against the iPhone

Google’s Nexus line of smartphones is a favorite among hardcore Android fans, but that’s where it ends. Nexus was originally created as a reference device for manufacturers and developers, but Google could finally give Nexus phones what they deserve and go right after Apple’s iPhone.

A fresh new report from The Information says Google CEO Sundar Pichai wants Google’s phone operations to be vertically integrated. This means that the company would be more involved in the design and production process, which is exactly how Apple handles the iPhone.

Related: Google paid $1 billion to be the default search engine on the iPhone

Presently, Google partners with other Android manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola. These manufacturers generally have a heavy emphasis in the development process of Nexus phones because they are usually based on current handsets already being offered by each company.

According to the report, Google would design Nexus phones from the bottom up without input from another manufacturer. Google would then partner with a manufacturer for only the production aspect. That would be very similar to Apple and Foxconn’s relationship in that Apple only uses Foxconn for production of the iPhone, and nothing more.

If Google does go in this direction, it’s more than likely that it would take over the branding as well. Google has always allowed each manufacturer to showcase its brand on Nexus phones. However, if Google handles all the development, these phones are likely to carry Google branding.

Although it might be a first for Nexus devices, this kind of development wouldn’t be a first for Google. The company has designed it’s own Chromebook Pixels and the more recent Pixel C Android tablet.

As to why Google would want to do this, it’s anyone guess since it’s only a rumor at this point. It’s possible that Android wants more control over how Android is used and how fast devices get updated. Google could also be looking to punch Apple while it’s down — last week’s earnings announcement revealed the iPhone is slowing.

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Perhaps it would be in response to Apple’s latest ad-blocking efforts that hinder Google’s ability to make money, or Apple’s move to use Bing as it’s default search engine for Siri. The former was a huge loss based on the fact that Google was willing to pay Apple $1 billion for that right in 2014.

Then there is the question on if Google is really ready to make Nexus a household name? The company is marketing both the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P more than past Nexus phones, so it’s very possible. However, it could put a strain on its relationship with other Android manufacturers.

We will have to wait to see how this one pans out, but your next Nexus phone might just be a Google Nexus.