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Is Google developing a 'YouTube Edition' Android phone?
Would you buy an Android phone made specifically for YouTube? That’s what Google is trying to find out, according to a recent survey given to one of Android Authority’s readers.
The survey, which was distributed through UK-based Survey Bods, details an Android phone dubbed “YouTube Edition” that features software and hardware optimized to make watching YouTube even easier.
A brief disclaimer: Just because this phone appeared in a survey does not mean it will become a thing. There’s a possibility a phone like this will launch eventually, or Google may have already scrapped this idea. We don’t know. Unfortunately we could not verify the information with other sources.
The survey described a handful of unique software and hardware features that will make watching videos and connecting with creators a breeze. The first feature is called YouTwist, which will let you rotate your device to landscape on the home screen and instantly access a grid of YouTube videos you might want to watch. There’s also a dedicated hardware button on the side that gives you quick access to YouTube and capturing video. The survey called this YouCapture.
The survey described software and hardware features that will make watching videos and connecting with creators a breeze.
A feature called Creator Connect also appeared in the survey, which has an Instagram Stories-esque design for YouTube accounts and appears at the top of the device’s home screen. Tapping on one of these profiles would take you straight to the user’s community feed in YouTube. A Live Lockscreen feature was also demoed in the survey. This feature would allow a live video thumbnail to display on the lock screen, allowing the user to jump straight to that live YouTube video by tapping on it.
An image of the phone, as it appeared in the survey, can be found below.
So is this going to be a top-of-the-line flagship phone? Not quite. In the survey, the YouTube Edition phone was compared to a handful of older or mid-range phones like the Apple iPhone SE, iPhone 6, Sony Xperia XA1, and Samsung Galaxy A5.
A few different versions of the YouTube Edition phone’s specs were shown, too. In most cases, it would come with a 6.01-inch 18:9 LCD display with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,080, a 2.2 GHz processor, a 3,700 mAh battery with fast charging, 4 GB of RAM, dual 12 MP and 5 MP rear cameras with HD video recording, and an 8 MP front camera. Additional specs include dual Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, a fingerprint sensor, and either 32 or 64 GB of storage. The phone could also come in Black, White, and Red color options.
Pricing information was also given. Depending on the storage amount, the phone would cost anywhere from £269 (~$360 USD) to £299 (~$400 USD).
The survey also mentioned that YouTube Edition phone customers would receive an additional 10 GB of free data per month for 12 months.
The fact that the survey mentioned LG and Samsung as theoretical partners is interesting since both companies have yet to join Google’s Android One program. Back in September, it was rumored that LG was a potential partner for Android One, but that’s pretty much where the rumor stopped. This could be the first sign of LG or Samsung becoming an Android One partner, but that’s just speculation for now, of course.
The idea of a smartphone built around a single video service is a bit confusing. On one hand, Google wants to get as many eyes on YouTube as it can. This phone seems to make it easier than ever to make that happen. I’m just not sure if users would want video thumbnails and links to YouTubers’ community feeds clouding up their home screens.
If the YouTube Edition phone turns out to be real, we likely won’t see it become an actual product for some time. Companies issue these types of surveys pretty early on in the development cycle, sometimes even when the device is still a loose concept.
We’ll be on the lookout for more details about the YouTube phone in the future. We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update this article when we receive a response.