My title for this week’s editorial is, I’m sure, going to make a certain subculture of Android users scoff and shake their hands. Which is fine, I don’t judge – much. This week, some more reports surfaced suggesting that Google was to move the Nexus program out from underneath the consumer spotlight and introduce a new line of devices dubbed ‘Android Silver’. This news naturally led to the speculation that the Nexus line was dead, living on borrowed time, which in turn led to the idea that ‘Android Silver’ would be a flop. This whole Android Silver thing is pure speculation at this point, but as an avid Nexus user myself, it doesn’t worry me – it excites me.
I love my Nexus and I’m not afraid to say it. Sure, there are times I look at my Nexus 5 with scorn and think “I wish I didn’t have to charge you before I leave for the evening” or ask it “who signed off on your speaker, you sound awful!” but then I think about why I love it so much. I have little to complain about in terms of performance, the display has a little light bleed but otherwise looks great to me and sure, it’s made out of plastic and could be a little more premium, but the grippy back stops me from dropping it and I love the minimal look of it. I enjoy my Nexus more for its software than its hardware though. Despite what other manufacturers think we want in our smartphones, only Google has gotten it right for me. I say for me, because I live through Google’s services, so this is a subjective thing of course. I don’t want to use Samsung’s music service, I want to use Google Play Music, I don’t want to have to “learn” HTC’s multitasking menu, I want simplicity and easy access to Google services. My Nexus 5 does that, and it suits me just fine.
There’s a part of me however, that thinks “Well, I could get an M8 and put a stock ROM on it” (Google Play Editions aren’t available in the UK) and since I reviewed the HTC One (M8) last month, I’ve been thinking of getting some better-looking hardware. This is exactly why Android Silver excites me; choice. I’ve always been a big fan of choice, I have no time for staunchly using the same stuff from the same manufacturer, even though I have my ‘favorites’. Make a good phone, tablet, case, keyboard, Chromebook, speaker, whatever and I’ll buy it; regardless of what name adorns said device. I don’t hold much loyalty to hardware manufacturers, I think it’s a little silly, and overblown at this point. If I’m a fanboy of anything, it’s choice.
According to reports, Android Silver is to be a program of higher-end hardware that will be marketed heavily (at least compared to Nexus devices) and be available from carrier stores, as well as a range of manufacturers. Hopefully, this won’t be another US-exclusive move from Google, the lack of Google Play Edition phones in my homeland of little ol’ England still baffles me, but time will tell. The idea of being able to choose from a Sony, HTC, Samsung, LG, Huawei, Lenovo or Motorola device is essentially what Android was supposed to be in the first place and if I could choose something like the Xperia Z1 Compact with stock Android and a few Sony apps, I’d be very happy. Maybe a version of the G3 will appear in this Android Silver lineup? Who knows, but I do know that it sounds very exciting, and could finally offer choice without compromise when it comes to Android phones, at long last.