Rumor: Google-Branded Phone Due in 2016

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Though CEO Sundar Pichai says otherwise, rumors suggest Google is prepping its own branded smartphone.

According to The Telegraph, Google is in discussions with mobile operators about releasing a handset later this year. But earlier this month, Pichai said that while his company may request design changes to Nexus phones and tablets, it will continue relying on partners to manufacture devices.

Google did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment. Currently, it focuses on software, producing the popular Android operating system but handing off production of Nexus devices to partners like LG and Huawei.

Details remain foggy, but as Engadget points out, the Pixel C tablet (pictured) could offer a glimpse of what a Google smartphone might be like. The high-end piece of hardware—available in 32GB for $499 or 64GB for $599—earned a three-out-of-five rating from PCMag's Sascha Segan, who called the slate "extremely buggy" with dull cameras.

The Web giant, meanwhile, is busy readying its modular smartphone, Project Ara, for distribution later this year. A developer edition will start shipping in the fall as a 5.3-inch Android device with most of its key technology house in the frame, with room for up to six additional modules.

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