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AH PrimeTime: Android Silver Premium Range To Replace Nexus Program?

April 30, 2014 - Written By Peter Holden

LG’s latest flagship, the G3, isn’t even launched yet, and already the Nexus 6 hype machine has begun rumbling. Something else that has been percolating in the background for a while is the notion that Google is wrapping up its Nexus programs, with the Nexus 6 and possibly a new Nexus tablet being the latest and last products to appear bearing the Nexus moniker. The (rumoured) end of the Nexus program doesn’t mean that Google are about to leave a void in the smart phone market though. If anything, the Android Silver program shows just how ambitious Google really is.

Google have done really well out of the Nexus programs, agreed? With each new version they have pushed the limits in value for money hardware coupled with quick software updates, and we are now awaiting the Nexus 6. The Nexus SIX. You can’t help but feel that the number 6 is worrying Google. In today’s world, when you reach the 6th version of anything, it means it isn’t new, or vibrant. The sixth version implies that its venerable, reliable, if not really exciting. And there’s no way we would ever accept a Nexus 5 ‘S’ is there? And would it really be good business to unveil a Nexus 7 (handset) next year? It’s fairly obvious that the Nexus Program can’t carry on in its current format. Bear with me Nexus fans, stop the hyperventilating. Whereas a new, more ambitious program will bring back the excitement, the new product buzz. That is what Google are (allegedly) planning to do with their new ‘Android Silver’ program, according to The Information.

What is Android Silver? Well, for starters, it would appear that where the rumoured Nexus 6 will be based on the upcoming LG G3 handset, the Android Silver program will be a range of premium devices provided by multiple manufacturers. The devices will  feature high-end specifications, and will also receive prompt firmware updates ala the Nexus and GPE devices. The rumour is that Google will be investing around $1 billion in the program to subsidise the developing and marketing costs for the partners that sign on. This is a good thing. How many times has a Nexus device been launched and you’ve seen someone comment “Oh, I wish that so-and-so manufacturer had made it rather”. This means that the Android Silver Range will appeal to yet more people. And with Google helping out with development and marketing costs, this can only be a good thing for struggling manufacturers such as HTC and Motorola (if they sign on).

Of course, with Google subsidising the programs costs, they will retain more control over the Android Silver devices. And this is something that will interest anyone who has ever wailed against the bloat that Samsung, HTC and Sony have inflicted on their respective customers. A limit on the amount of pre-installed non-Android apps, with the customer having the option to remove any such bloatware. Just last week we ran a story centred around Samsung’s unused and unwanted bloat. Whilst some of us used the odd one or two Touchwiz apps, most of Samsung’s pre-installed apps were unused. Whether or not a manufacturers custom launcher would be pre-installed on the Android Silver range in the first place is doubtful. So you see, this ‘new’ venture is really just a more balanced version of the Nexus program. Instead of one manufacturer reaping the benefits of selling a Nexus handset, everyone who decided to partner Google on the scheme will benefit.

As of yet, it’s not known just which if any handset makers have signed on to the Android Silver program rumored to be unveiled next year, with its range of premium handsets to be available in the US, Japan and Germany. I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that both Sony and HTC sign up to the program.  If you’re a Nexus fan, are you excited by the rumors concerning the Android Silver program? Would you be happier if Google just carried on the tradition and served up the Nexus 7 (handset) next year? Let us know in the comments or via our Google Plus page.