Google plans to provide a number of handset makers early access to new releases of the Android OS and then sell the resulting devices directly to the public, sources tell The Wall Street Journal. In the past, Google has chosen one handset maker to make a "lead device" that runs a pure form of Android not yet released to others, so this multi-vendor partner approach marks a strategy shift for the online giant. (See Google Unlocks a Nexus Phone (Again).)
But it also means the handset makers wouldn't need to market their devices through carrier channels as they have done historically: The operators, potentially, could be cut out of the equation.
The WSJ also suggests that Google will have its Jelly Bean OS ready for these direct sales devices by Thanksgiving (fourth quarter).
In other mobile OS news:
Table 1: Worldwide Smartphone Sales by OS in 1Q 2012 (thousands of units)
|Operating System||1Q12||1Q12 Market Share (%)||1Q11||1Q11 Market Share (%)|
|Research In Motion||9,939.3||6.9||13,004.0||13|
|Source: Gartner (May 2012)|
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile