Mobile World Congress 2012
An Android operating software icon sits on display with a Google Inc. logo at the Google booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012.  Bloomberg /Getty Images

This Could Be Google's Next Move to Fight Apple

Nov 06, 2015

There are many differences between Android and Apple's iOS, but among the biggest is that each Android phone is slightly different than the next. While every generation of iPhone runs the same type of software and features similar hardware specifications, most Android phones come with different processors and software that's been slightly tweaked or modified by the phone's manufacturer, like Samsung or HTC.

Google, however, wants to create more consistency within the Android universe, according to a new report from The Information's Amir Efrati. The company is said to be in talks with microchip companies about developing chips based on Google's own preferred designs, the report says.

This likely won't impact whether Android phone makers decide to modify software on Android phones. It just means phones running on these Google chips would likely offer similar performance and consistent features since they're powered by the same processors.

The move would also give Google's Android more ammunition to combat Apple's iPhone at the high end. Many flagship Android phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4, and HTC One M9, come with software that looks and feels entirely different from one another. Samsung, for instance, layers its own software called TouchWiz over Google's basic Android. HTC adds its Sense software to its Android phones, too. These phones also come with different features and run on different processor models, which makes the experience of using one Android phone noticeably different than using another made by a separate manufacturer.

That's not the case with the iPhone. Provided they're all running the same version of iOS, the software experience between an iPhone 6s, an iPhone 6, and an iPhone 5 is exactly the same. That's because Apple doesn't deal with other hardware manufacturers that add their own apps and services to phones. And, since all iPhones run on processors designed by Apple, they offer the same level of power and similar features.

However, based on The Information's report, it sounds like Google is looking to change this in order to better compete with the iPhone at the high-end of the market. That's a space where Android had some trouble. One of Android's benefits is that there are phones available in various price ranges. Chinese startup OnePlus, for example, saw wide success with its first Android phone in 2014 because it was priced much lower than phones made by Samsung and LG while offering similar high-quality hardware.

Samsung, which creates more expensive Android phones that are meant to compete directly with the iPhone at the high end, has seen its profits decline over the past two years. But the company had a turnaround in October, when it announced that its operating profits increased by 80%. Still, those numbers were thanks to its component-making business, not because of Galaxy phone sales.

This isn't the first time reports have suggested that Google is brainstorming ways to help Android better compete at the high-end. Google was reportedly working on a program called Android Silver last year, which Efrati also reported for The Information. It was meant to be a re-branding of Android that would make the platform more premium and unified like the iPhone. However, it was reportedly delayed due to the departure of former Google executive Nikesh Arora.

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A driver drives a Google Inc. self-driving car in front of the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California on September 27, 2013.
Google Driverless Car The Google Self-Driving Car has been in the works since 2005 after a team of engineers won a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to design an autonomous car. The project, which aims to reduce traffic accidents, has made headway in recent years as states passed laws permitting self-driving cars. Google plans a commercial release between 2017 and 2020.David Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty Images
A driver drives a Google Inc. self-driving car in front of the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California on September 27, 2013.
Google Internet Balloon
This undated photo released by Google shows a contact lens Google is testing to explore tear glucose.
Avatars from Google Lively.
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Google's modular phone (Project Ara) at Engadget Expand New York 2014 at Javits Center on Nov. 7, 2014 in New York City.
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Flight team engineers Kenneth Jensen, left, Damon Vander Lind, center, and Matthew Peddie prepare for the first crosswind test of their 20kW Wing 7 airborne wind turbine prototype in Alameda, Calif. on May 24, 2011
Vic Gundotra, director of product management of Google, demonstrates Google+ on the Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 at Moscone Center in San Francisco on June 27, 2012.
Google Driverless Car The Google Self-Driving Car has been in the works since 2005 after a team of engineers won a grant

David Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty Images
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