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Sundar Pichai says Google is not planning to do its own smartphone (well, except the Ara modular phone)

The company will continue to work with hardware partners on Nexus phones.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Wednesday that the company plans to continue working with partners on its Nexus smartphone line, though it may become more "opinionated" on issues like how the phones are designed.

"Our plan is still to work with hardware partners," Pichai said, speaking at Code Conference.

Thus far Google has worked with a range of partners to build Nexus phones, with Google tightly controlling the software and some hardware elements, while leaving manufacturing to its partners, who have included LG, HTC and Huawei, among others.

There has been speculation that Google would reshape Nexus to further control the phone manufacturing itself; it has stepped up its hardware game of late, hiring former Motorola president Rick Osterloh to oversee those efforts.

Despite what Sundar said onstage, Google does plan to make one smartphone itself — its Project Ara modular concept phone — though it is unclear how much of a niche that will be when it launches next year. And while Google will make the core of the phone, other companies are working on plug-in modules.

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