Google could be set to change the way its Nexus phones are made, taking control from hardware manufacturers. That could mean that the next Nexus could be more like a Pixel, with Google exerting end-to-end control.
Until now the Nexus smartphones have been created by hardware manufacturers with experience in the area. It's been a showcase of different manufacturer's skills, bringing with it character: the Nexus 6 was distinctly Moto, the Nexus 6P distinctly Huawei, achieved by a close working partnership between both sides.
Sources talking to The Information claim that Google is looking at designing the hardware as well as the software in future. This will effectively make the smartphone manufacturer a contractor, rather than a partner in the project. Currently the manufacturers don't get much money from the Nexus handsets, with Google taking a 15 per cent slice of the retail price from online sales, hacking profit margins for the manufacturer.
The Information reports that some of the larger brands are unlikely to bend the knee to Google willingly, but the company might find a compatriot in HTC. There are already rumours that HTC - struggling financially - is in talks with Google about making future Nexus hardware. HTC was originally an OEM company, that's seen a rapid rise and fall through the Android space. In HTC's current position, it might welcome the opportunity.
So is this potential change a good thing? The Nexus devices have always been big hits, and not just because they run pure Android. Although Google doesn't have a wealth of industrial design experience, we've seen some interesting devices in the Pixel and Pixel C. It does raise the question, however, of whether this will still be a Nexus handset, or is this simply a Pixel phone?
Google usually releases its Nexus handsets towards then end of the year, around September. The next Nexus may well find itself only carrying Google branding and none from the manufacturer.