Over the past few years, Google has been active in releasing hardware such as smartphones, tablets and even their own smart watch. Given Google’s partnerships with other manufacturers, this doesn’t seem to make much sense at first, but as reports The Information, the release of the hardware is part of the company’s broader security strategy.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly sees hardware as the best way to “protect” the volatile smartphone market. According to Google Assistant VP Sissie Hsiao, Pichai is concerned that Apple is gradually taking market share away from Android partners such as Samsung, and that antitrust regulators could interfere with the Google-Apple agreement that uses the company’s search by default on iPhone.

At the same time, the development of Google’s hardware business is allegedly taking place at the expense of other company products. While Android support apparently remains intact, Google is reducing investment in the Assistant for cars and third-party hardware development in general. Xiao and other executives have reportedly been exploring the possibility of transferring Assistant and Google TV development staff.

Google declined to comment, reports The Information. However, the company may have other reasons to be more active in the risky hardware business. While Android is unlikely to lose its dominance, any further slip-ups could eat into Google’s crucial mobile ad revenue, even if its deal with the iPhone search engine remains intact. As you know, Apple’s privacy settings already prevent companies like Google and Meta from collecting user data for better ad targeting.

The big question is whether Google can increase its hardware efforts enough to protect itself from any problems. While Google significantly updated its smartphone lineup with the release of the Pixel 6 last year and received positive reviews for the latest Pixel 7, it’s not yet clear whether this will lead to a significant boost in sales. In 2021, the company sold just 4.5 million smartphones, while Apple and Google shipped more than 200 million devices.