This Could Be Google’s Next Move to Fight Apple

3 minute read

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.

The 10 Most Ambitious Google Projects

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
Google Internet Balloon
Google has been testing balloons which sail into the stratosphere and beam Internet down to Earth. Jon Shenk—AP
This undated photo released by Google shows a contact lens Google is testing to explore tear glucose.
Google's smart contact lenses.Google/AP
Avatars from Google Lively.
Google Lively Google Lively was a web-based virtual community space where users could design avatars, chat with one another and personalize their online hangout space. The project was discontinued after a six-month stint in 2008 after limited success.Google/AP
Eye in the Sky
Google Earth Google's virtual map of the Earth allows users to tour the earth with 3-D satellite images. The project, which dates back to 2004, has already found significant applications in disaster relief.Google/AP
Google's modular phone (Project Ara) at Engadget Expand New York 2014 at Javits Center on Nov. 7, 2014 in New York City.
Project Ara Google's build-your-own-smartphone project allows users to customize their handsets to their own preferences, with the possibility of eliminating electronic waste by encouraging users to add hardware updates on their own terms. The team is working towards a limited market pilot in 2015.Bryan Bedder—Getty Images for Engadget Expand
colored pill capsules
Disease Detecting Pill Google unveiled its plans to disease-detecting ingestible pill in October, a project that'll let patients access their real-time health data to encourage preventative care. The pill will contain nanoparticles that can bind to certain cells and chemicals, with the possibility of detecting diseases like cancer in early stages.Getty Images
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
Flying Wind Turbines The flying windmill is the project of Makani Power, a wind turbine developer acquired by Google in 2013. The tethered airborne turbines will harness wind energy for the goal of producing low-cost, renewable energyAndrea Dunlap—Makani Power/AP
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+ Google's social networking platform launched in 2011, the most successful service after several flops at designing a Facebook competitor, like the now-retired Google Buzz. Today, Google+ boasts over half a billion monthly active users.Stephen Lam—Reuters
Google Books Google Books dates back to 2004, when Google partnered with libraries and universities to plan to digitize millions of volumes over the next several years. The project aims to make searching books as easy as searching the web.Getty Images

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at