Google is not getting out of the hardware game.
In February, the company abandoned its Motorola handset line, acquired in 2012. But now the search giant has returned to the smartphone-maker for its latest co-branded line of Nexus devices. On Wednesday, Google unveiled the Nexus 6, a smartphone built by Motorola, and Nexus 9, a tablet from HTC.
The devices are large, evidence that Google is going after the "phablet" market, the fastest growing in the mobile category. Nexus 6 sports a 5.9-inch screen, larger than the new iPhones; the Nexus 9 tablet screen is 8.9 inches.
The latest Nexus devices arrive as Google moves to tighten control over Android, its dominant mobile operating system. In June, Google introduced Android L, its latest iteration, built for mobile as well as emerging technologies like Internet-connect wearables, TVs, homes and automobiles.
Google is also working to polish Android and maximize its money-making potential. The company recently released Android One, a uniform, heavily-branded platform for cheap smartphones in emerging markets. In September, the tech website The Information reported that Google is framing contracts with its hardware partners, like Motorola, Samsung and HTC, that requires more Google apps and services to be pre-installed on smartphones.
Google did not return requests for comment.
Hints of Google's potential branding campaign came earlier this week, with three 30-second spots that appeared during AMC's The Walking Dead. The quirky ads, featuring animated robots, ran with the tagline "Be Together, Not the Same."
In 2013, Google spent $567.9 million in measured media, according to the Ad Age DataCenter; a third of that went to the Motorola brand, which Google agreed to sell to Lenovo in February for $2.9 billion.