Rumors of Google killing off its Nexus line in favor of an upcoming Android Silver program have been escalating in recent months. Guess nobody told Dave Burke, the guy in charge of the Nexus program and the head of Android engineering at Google. In an interview with ReadWrite, Burke finally laid to rest those ridiculous rumors of the Nexus-line’s demise, and although he was mum on details of the Android Silver program, he made it perfectly clear Nexus wont be going anywhere.
“People have been commenting about Nexus because there is something else and they think that means the end of Nexus. That is the totally wrong conclusion to make. People just get excited by concepts and forget why we do things. We are still invested in Nexus.“
It would then appear that, while the Android Silver program could indeed be geared toward higher-end Android devices built by Google’s hardware partners and running near stock versions of Android (similar to Google Play), these devices will be offered in carrier store, with subsidized pricing. This may have something to do with the fact that nobody wants to pay $700 upfront for a Google Play edition of a phone they can get on-contract for $100. Suddenly, Samsung holding back the Galaxy S5 Google Play edition is starting to make a lot of sense.
Burke goes on to clarify Google’s reliance on actual hardware to build Android onto, and the reason we’ve seen Android development phones since the original HTC Dream. But it’s not just for Android developers, consumers too need a lower-cost, contract-free Android device, offering the purest version of Android, with updates directly from Google.
“When we are working, there are sort of two outputs. We’re building a Nexus device and we’re building the open source code. There is no way you can build the open source code without the phone or tablet or whatever you are building. You have to live and breathe the code you are developing.
You can’t build a platform in the abstract, you have to build a device (or devices). So, I don’t think can can or will ever go away. And then, I think Nexus is also interesting in that it is a way of us explaining how we think Android should run. It is a statement, almost a statement of purity in some respects. I don’t see why we would ever turn away from that, it wouldn’t make sense.”
So there you have it, folks. Straight form the horses mouth. And although Burke didn’t specifically say the Nexus smartphone line was here to stay (perhaps he was talking about tablets?), we think there’s a good chance of a Nexus 6 launching with Android L later this year. Now, let the rumors begin.