â€œThey are concerned that Android is fragmenting, that it needs to become a more controlled platform,â€ said Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight. â€œI think theyâ€™ll seek to control it more, more like Apple.â€
Google is best known for its internet software but has taken steps into hardware in recent years by releasing its own tablet computer, laptops and other gadgets. Earlier this year it hired Rick Osterloh, the former president of Motorola, to lead a new hardware division in a sign of its growing ambitions.
The companyâ€™s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, said last month that Google was â€œinvesting more effortâ€ into phones, although he said the company would continue to support the Google-backed Nexus smartphones, which are expected to continue this year with handsets made by Taiwanese company HTC. â€œOur plan is still to work with [other manufacturers],â€ he said.