Google already has a pretty tight grip over its Android-powered Nexus smartphones, but according to a report by The Telegraph, unnamed sources at mobile operators claim that the company wants even tighter controls and is planning to release "a Google-branded phone" that will arrive "by the end of the year."
See also: Being open source is killing Android
According to the report, this will allow Google to "take more control over design, manufacturing and software" and allow it to better compete with Apple and the iPhone.
It would also "allow Google to control the software, securing the future of services such as the Google search engine and Google Play app store that run on it."
And it's here that the report starts to feel dubious, because while Google contracts out the manufacturing of its Nexus handsets to companies such as Huawei, LG, HTC, Motorola, and Asus, in no way does that reduce Google's control over the hardware or software.
Also, the 2016 schedule feels aggressive, and rules out this handset being based on Google's Project Ara.
However, what it could signal is Google's desire to release a handset that was based around a proprietary, closed-source version of Android. Since many of Android's woes stem from the fact that Android is open-source, not only would a new handset powered by its own operating system eliminate all those issues, but it would also mean that the handset was differentiated from all the other Android devices on the market.