Google plans to launch the next major release of its Android OS on up to five different Nexus-branded smartphones.
A report in the Wall Street Journal echoes recent rumours that Google is to move into direct-selling of Android Nexus phones via its Google Play online store. This is an attempt to show more of a united front against the rival iPhone.
Fragmentation in the Android sector has led to a huge number of phones, only a few of which are running the latest OS, and which also causes some app incompatibilities.
There have been three Nexus phones to date, generally released in conjunction with a new version of Android OS. The Samsung-made Galaxy Nexus was the flagship phone when 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) appeared.
“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,” says the WSJ.
To launch OS 5.0 (code named Jelly Bean) on multiple Nexus-branded devices will be a new approach from Google, and it looks like the phones could include one each from the current big-name Android handset makers. OS 5.0 is due in November 2012, a year after 4.0 made its debut.
The WSJ report claims the phones may be shipped unlocked via retail shops in Europe, Asia and the US, and Google's Play online store, so they’ll work with any mobile network’s SIM card of your choosing. The story also mentions a Nexus tablet from Asus, which could appear around the same time as the new phone range.
As before, the Nexus range is expected to run the “pure” Android OS without any of the third-party additions or alterations. This would be an advantage for future OS updates, avoiding the sometimes lengthy delays that users of the Samsung Galaxy series found when waiting for Android 4.0, for example.