BARCELONA—Word on the Barcelona street is that LG is in discussions to become Google’s next hardware partner for Nexus phones.
Head of LG’s smartphone division, Ramchan Woo, told CNET his firm was already “heavily in discussions" with Google on the subject, though no firm commitments had yet been made.
Google is well known for choosing different device manufacturers and chipset vendors for each iteration of its Nexus platform, which represents the pinnacle of its Android experience and sets the bar for the ecosystem.
With the firm having recently purchased Motorola, however, some analysts were predicting Google would try to make its Nexus in-house.
“Discussions are one thing, final product might be another issue,” analyst Jack Gold told EE Times.
Gold said if LG was talking to Google about the Nexus it must be that Google is trying to maintain some level of arms-length separation from Motorola to remain seen as treating all Android licensees fairly.
LG, he said, was probably more willing to work with Google and meet some of the firm’s negotiation points given the Korean phone maker’s relatively weaker position in the Android food chain.
Another interesting possibility is that LG could leverage its new partnership with Intel on the smartphone side to give a new Google Nexus an interesting Atom twist.
“Intel does need to get a compelling Atom-based product to market,” said Gold and added that the chipmaker’s recent closeness to Google and given how closely the two companies have worked on porting and optimizing Android for Atom, the possibility wasn’t all that remote. “Intel really has a desire to make a splash with its new chips,” he said.
Finally, LG does have some channels of distribution and technology capabilities it can uniquely bring to bear, also making it an interesting option for Google to consider as a Nexus partner.
Rumor has it that LG is also planning a Nexus TV, which would be the first of its kind, though Google has been pushing Android TV especially hard. With flop after flop in Google’s television endeavors, opening a Nexus program for set-top boxes could be an interesting move by the firm.