As Google continues to push deeper into hardware, rumors about a line of Android phones have begun to surface that could give advertisers deeper insight into consumer preferences through a variety of media.
The latest report suggests Google entered into discussions with mobile operators about releasing a Google-branded phone that will further the company’s move into hardware this year and complete more directly with Apple's iPhone.
Google has been working on a module phone through Project Ara, but it's not scheduled for release until 2017. Ara will allow consumers to interchange hardware modules like the camera and the speakers, as well as other phone components. Each interchangeable module would offer a specific feature. Artificial intelligence (AI) will power many of them.
Speaking at the Re/code conference, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company wants greater control over Android and guarantee that up-to-date services are installed on every device. It may seem that simple, but the future phones will support AI and machine learning. At least at Google.
Google already develops the operating system that runs on 80% of smartphones sold worldwide, but it has close ties with handset manufacturers LG and Huawei under the Nexus brand.
Google's Chrome browser already talks with beacons, but a Google-controlled phone would give the company access to much more data and make it much easier to monitor product use through apps and search. In the future, screens could become the wall in the room or the user's hand.
Owning the hardware would also give Google more control to help advertisers explore different avenues in mobile. Mobile push technology and real-time data are two key areas, according to eMarketer,. The firm released data earlier this year suggesting 41% of marketers are interested in exploring mobile-focused targeting and 32% real-time location data for their local media buys.