Report: Android Silver to replace Nexus program next year



Even more rumors are coming out corroborating early reports that Google is looking to do away with the Nexus line. Originally, they were thought to be doing that with Google Play Experience devices, but the Android Silver train seems to be gaining more steam.

So what is Android Silver? It’s a new device initiative Google will be launching to help bring premium handsets with pure, unadulterated versions of Android to carrier and retail store fronts. There are a few different components to this that make it a bit different up against the existing Nexus and Google Play Edition lines:

  • Android Silver handsets can either be existing versions of OEM smartphones or smartphones made specifically for Android Silver.
  • Android Silver handsets’ software will have little to no OEM or carrier customization.
  • OEMs who offer Android Silver handsets will commit to timely updates.
  • Google will put up the marketing dollars for carriers and retailers to promote the handsets alongside their usual offerings.

Basically, it sounds like it’s going to be the Nexus program we’ve always wanted — affordable, available, and with Google actually trying to sell these things at high volume instead of just catering to developers and enthusiasts.

Other staples of the existing Nexus program — such as great hardware at very affordable rates — might or might not carry over. That story has yet to be told, and we likely won’t have a clear answer on it all until everything’s official. All of it is looking to go down next year if rumors are accurate, with Google said to be putting up more than $1 billion to get OEMs and carriers on board.

[via The Information]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. This is a brilliant idea. Hopefully it stays bloat free and prices slashed. If so, I’m in.

    1. The problem is, Google seems to be shifting towards “premium” devices for this program. Prices slashed and premium usually don’t go good together unless the premium is outgoing in place of new premium.

      1. We don’t know pricing yet. Let’s not speculate. Google’s goal is to make devices available to everyone.

        1. Isn’t this whole report speculaton ?

          But as to price why would anyone price the Silver version any less than the standard version and risk canibalising sales of their own phone ?

          1. I agree 100%. I think it’s just wishful thinking at my end. I don’t have my hopes too high.

          2. Because Google will be handling the marketing, the OEM does not have to do it, reportedly.

          3. Yup, for premium features I’ll pay a premium price gladly. That’s why they make mid-tier devices for those that would rather not invest in a device that may be above their budget.

          4. Did the Nexus program ever cannibalize the OEM phones that they were based on? Did Galaxy S II sales suffer because of the Galaxy Nexus? Or the LG Optimus or G2 because of the Nexus 4 or 5? This program is still mostly for developers and enthusiasts. Plus I am guessing Android Silver devices will only be sold off contract, thus no carrier subsidizing, which means they will cost more than the handsets sold through a carrier.

          5. The answer to your question is no but the relevance of the question to the discussion is also quite low.

            Google’s intention in dropping the Nexus line and introducing an Android Silver line is surely to attract more customers not just the developers and enthusiasts.

        2. I don’t think the premium devices will be priced any differently to current GPe devices but there will be a range of devices at different price points.

  2. “Can be existing OEM phones”? So forked is is OK?

    ” little to no bloatware “? So forcing sprint NASCAR or Verizon Isis on me is fine?

    ” promise timely updates”? You mean like they already did 2years ago and basically ignored?

    With no Steve Jobs, Google needs to man up and grow a spine… Because canceling Nexus for this is just clear carrier service… And theres enough porn on the internet.

    1. The Google Play Edition phones have gotten timely updates.

    2. 1) Officer Vi or GTFO
      2) Well… there isn’t any two. I just like the League of Legends reference. LoL!!

    3. Chances are even if carriers install bloatware part of the Silver line conditions will be allowing customers full control over what they can uninstall. Let’s wait and see what happens before getting our knickers in a knot.

    4. 1) Forked what? Hardware? Do you even have any idea what that phrase means? Ever heard of “Google Play Edition” phones?

      2) It did not say little to no bloatware, it said little to no OEM customization. A good example is the Google Play Edition of the HTC One (M8). It is almost stock Android, except what is required to make their speciality hardware work (two camera lenses on the back).

      3) If this is anything like the GPE editions, they yes, those do tend to get timely updates.

      My feeling is this is basically Google Play Editions of phones, except “Google Play Edition” implies it is only being sold from the Google Play store, whereas “Silver” could be sold from anywhere, including physical storefronts. I hold out some hope that Google might have gone with “Silver” because perhaps they have future plans for “Gold” or “Platinum”.

  3. Nexus pricing and factory images are great, but high end hardware running Google’s version of Android is even better. Bring it on, dammit. My wallet is ready.

    1. I do hope they keep the global demand in mind, though. Nexus as a brand is doing amazingly well now in India, arguably competing with Galaxy on an almost equal footing. Key? The price.

  4. I would love to get to actually build my own NEXUS. Down to how big I want the battery

    1. this

    2. ARA

  5. why Android Silver? sounds low budget…

    1. I agree. It should be Android platinum.

    2. Because Google is terrible at naming things :(

  6. With the emergence of OnePlus One and their $299 superphone, manufacturers had better take notice and significantly lower their prices. Regardless of whether or not OPO can keep up with demand, I think they set a pretty high standard for others to follow. I would love to keep on buying Nexus phones, but if they were not such a great value, I wouldn’t be nearly as interested.

  7. I love how you start off with “Rumor” in this article, then go on to state it as if its fact.

    1. It is never stated anywhere in the article that any of this is fact. Just because it does not continually state that this is a rumor, doesn’t mean that it is fact.

    2. “it sounds like it’s going to be”

      “might or might not carry over”

      “That story has yet to be told, and we likely won’t have a clear answer on it all until everything’s official. All of it is looking to go down next year if rumors are accurate”

      Yeah, that all sounds totally factual.

    3. You’re absolutely correct. He should have began EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE with, “This is just a rumor, but…”

      Clearly, the average person is too dumb to equate the opening line of “even more rumors…” with the rest of the article about that rumor.

  8. Who names these things… Google Plus, Hangouts, and now Silver? They may have some really smart people working there, but they really need some help with the marketing.

    1. Ugh yea, Hangouts is deplorable. Everyone knew what gChat was they should just call it that.

  9. Good. Hopefully, this will weaken Google’s drive to eliminate external storage.

  10. I still can’t feasibly envision a situation where Verizon will allow Google this much control over a device on their network. We all have seen what happened with the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 7 LTE. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    1. I guess Verizon customers will just have to continue missing out. I doubt this will effect Google’s decision making processes. They’re a much bigger company so if the Android silver line really takes off Verizon will be forced to change or lose customers.

      1. I totally agree. The other big 3 will more than likely be on board and Google wouldn’t give 3 f*cks about Big Red.

  11. I’m confused by the name. Is it a Nexus for old people?

  12. I hope this program is true, this is what should have been since day 1. But I still hope they don’t get rid of Nexus. Not to mention Nexus-6 could be next :) (although I hope the phone doesn’t actually get any bigger it’s already at a limit)

    1. I think what they’re really trying to avoid here is in 2 years when the nexus model hits 7. They don’t want to look like HTC and have an HTC One and HTC One (m8). IDK…

  13. I say google buys T-Mobile and make it the carrier for android silver for 3 years

  14. And yet Android Silver doesn’t sound as good as Android Gold. That makes me think that there will be some ‘Gold’ special editions in the future.

  15. If this “rumor” is true, the only thing that has me a bit gun shy is pricing. One Plus One aside, dollars -vs- specs nothing is beating a Nexus right now. Google Play versions of phones, and OEM’s can’t really compete here even if they strip 98% of their software and propriety components. I would love to see an unlocked HTC One at $399 off contract direct from Google, but I doubt it’s going to be a reality unless it’s under-spec’d, and black plastic. Hell, even the 2012 version is $499 still. Granted spec for spec it’s a different phone, but what will OEM’s look like if they try to compete with the Nexus YOY? Suddenly the OPO is looking a bit better.

  16. Wait a second .. Android Silver?

  17. Why not Gold or platinum ?
    Will I get a Centrum Silver discount ?
    Does it come with an ACA Silver plan ?

  18. Android chromed-plastic ?
    The Android guy now looks like a tea pot.

  19. Google is for play…Microsoft is for work AND play !

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