Google will give several device manufacturers early access to future releases of the Android operating system, a new report says. As part of the shift in strategy, the search giant will also begin selling some devices directly to consumers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google will give more device makers early access to Android in an effort to tame the platform's fragmentation problem -- the fact that the Android experience can vary widely due to the diversity of devices that run it. It also wants to calm any worries that Motorola, which Google acquired last summer, would not become the default "preferred partner" for hardware.
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Previously, Google would typically partner with a single manufacturer to create a kind of "reference" device for major updates to Android, with the word "Nexus" in the name. For example, when Google releases Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich," Samsung got the nod, and the two collaborated to create the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first phone to run ICS.
Google tried selling its first Nexus phone, the Nexus One, directly to consumers, and has been rumored to be considering doing the same thing with tablets. However, that strategy failed to gain any traction, since the unlocked version was only available online for a prohibitive price of $529 (it was also available for $179 through T-Mobile, with a contract).
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In April, Google began offering the Samsung Galaxy Nexus unlocked for $400, double what it costs with a contract. Going forward, future devices with the Nexus label would be presumably available unlocked from the beginning.
Are you excited by the prospect of being able to buy many different Nexus phones and tablets online, and directly from Google? Have your say in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.