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googleVappleIn an apparent move to take on Apple’s dominance in the lucrative high-end smartphone market, search engine giant Google may release its own brand of handset by the end of this year, according to a media report.

The technology giant is in discussions with mobile operators about releasing a Google-branded phone, the Telegraph reported on Sunday, citing sources familiar with the discussions.

Known for its internet software, the tech giant in recent years has taken steps into hardware by releasing its own tablet computer, laptops and other gadgets.

Google already develops the Android operating system that runs on 80 per cent of smartphones sold around the world.

It also endorses a range of phones made by partners such as LG and Huawei under the Google Nexus brand.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai had, however, earlier said that “our plan is still to work with hardware partners”.

Its own phone would allow Google to control the Android software, securing the future of services such as the Google search engine and Google Play app store that run on it, the report said.

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