Google CEO Sundar Pichai: We Won't Make Smartphones

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Google plans to ramp up investment in its Nexus line of Android smartphones and tablets, but it has no plans to manufacture the hardware on its own, CEO Sundar Pichai said this week.

Speaking at Recode's Code Conference in California, Pichai said Google will add new features to future Nexus phones in addition to the Android operating system. But other than requesting design changes to Nexus hardware, Google will still rely on partners to manufacture the devices.

"Today, when we ship Nexus phones, we just ship stock Android," Pichai said. "There's a lot of software innovation to be had."

But "our plan is still to work with OEMs to make phones," Pichai continued.

Recent product rumors are in line with Pichai's comments, pointing to more software features and even preferential treatment for Nexus owners. Last week, text buried in the code of the latest update to the Google Photos app suggested that Google may soon allow unlimited free cloud storage for photos and videos uploaded from a Nexus device.

In addition to offering a peek at the Nexus roadmap, Pichai also discussed Google's artificial intelligence ambitions. He views the transition from traditional search engines to voice-recognizing digital assistance as a natural evolution of computing, similar to the rise of mobile devices at the expense of traditional PCs.

One of Google's main AI tools is Google Home, announced last month at the company's I/O developer conference.

"In the next five to 10 years, building a true conversational understanding and being able to have the dialogue, I think, is where we plan to differentiate" Google Home from competing products like Amazon's Echo, Pichai said. "The hardware is just a manifestation of that. We want to help people use it to get things done."

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