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Report: Google Ditching Nexus Program in Favor of New “Silver” Line

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Remember that rumor from January that suggested Google would kill off the Nexus program by 2015? A new report today out of The Information seems to back up that idea, while also adding additional information to a more recent rumor, that Google will introduce a new device program called “Silver.” There is a lot to cover here, so hang with us. 

To back up for a second, let’s talk about the initial report on this “Silver” program. Android Police had the scoop earlier this month, suggesting that Google was ultimately creating this new partner phone program because they wanted to take tighter control over the software side of Android, meaning they want less bloatware and faster updates on products that run Android. The program would allow no more than five devices at a time to carry the Silver branding, with those devices being sold at carrier stores, rather than through Google Play. Google’s hope is to create Silver experiences in carrier stores, with fully trained Silver staff, and easy ways for users to migrate over to a Silver handset.

Silver handsets could also feature services like 24×7 support over Hangouts (like Amazon’s Mayday), a loaner phone program, and a lost phone app suite.

So what do we know now? Well, today’s report suggests much of the same, but this is the first time we are hearing that Google may replace its Nexus program with Silver. The Information cites sources who believe that Silver phones (high-end phones selected by Google) will indeed run close-to-stock Android, which would be a good thing if they are going to take away our beloved Nexus line.

Outside of killing the Nexus line, Google will reportedly pay for much of this new program for its hardware partners. Google could spend heavily to promote the devices, but also pay for whatever is needed to get them into carrier stores in that previously mentioned Silver experience. They may even pay for development costs.

LG and Motorola are thought to be the first two to join the program, with Samsung, HTC, and Sony still on the fence. No word on a potential launch of this program has been given.

I should point out that during the original killing-of-the-Nexus-line rumor, we noted that the only way it would make sense for Google to kill its Nexus family, would be if it closely partnered with OEMs to push phones with the newest versions of Android. According to these rumors, that’s exactly what is happening.

Dying for your thoughts.

Via:  The Information (subscription)
  • coolsilver

    I just don’t want tied to a carrier with locked bootloaders. GPE devices are at least able to be unlocked

  • Marko Šaric

    Oh dear.

  • jaxxmjd

    Selling Google program phones through the carrier stores has worked well for Verizon customers thus far.

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  • Otis

    All I want to know is, is what does this mean for affordable tablets? Google essentially produced the only good tablets that weren’t priced into the land of stupidity and loaded with bloat. Doesn’t really make sense they’d kill off their Nexus tablet line, it’s fairly popular. I really want that rumored Nexus 8, too 😡

  • Trevor

    Hope the price is more bronze than silver.

  • Erstam

    Hopefully project ara is out by then. I would hate to lose nexus prices.

  • Alex Niehaus

    PLEASE let one of these come to Verizon. I know everyone says switch, but VZW service where I am is much better than the alternatives, so I need to stick with it.

  • Big EZ

    Kinda sounds like the 5 Nexus phones rumor from last year.

    • joejoe5709

      There were rumors a couple years ago and I believe that turned out to be the GPE program. Someone with half clues two years ago would have assumed a GPE would be a Nexus and it was being spread among several OEM’s.

      • needa

        the five nexus phone rumor was supposed to be an android anniversary thing.with specifics to the october launch. gpe seemed like more of an afterthought to appease the update freaks.

  • Nick V

    The only way for Google to solve this dilemma is to create a standard for all GPe and Nexus phones. They would all have to use the same hardware on the inside, so that updates can happen quickly and without extra coding. One of the biggest issues we see within the Android community is too much variation. Media Tek, Qualcomm, NVidia, and others all have different standards and update cycles.

    Google should work with one of those vendors and create their own SoC, so that they are in control of the updating process, and have the necessary checks in place to setup the updates in a more timely manner.

  • sagisarius

    I wish they’d show tablets some more love with these programs. One GPE tablet is ok. It would be rad if they would have a bunch of tablets from different companies getting updates at nexus speed.

  • MH

    I’m ok with this. If google can rein in Samsung and HTC from adding 273 items of bloatware and control the updates directly….this should be better for everyone

  • that_guy

    So, anyone with Verizon is out.

  • Michael Nichols

    Why can’t they just call it the Nexus line still. I grew to love the name Nexus

    • Rodeojones000

      They can call it testicles for all I care. So long as it’s stock Android with prompt updates I’m on board.

  • Keith0606

    My question is if the updates still have to go through the carriers or will they just come straight from the source like nexus phones. Seems to me the carriers are usually the source for slow updates more so than the OEMS.

  • I’ll be really upset. I love NEXUS and the fact of having a vanilla google experience for a low-cost. I would even be ok if Nexus phones jumped up by say $100. But to lost it entirely to OEM devices with their own crap and likely $600 prices forcing us back to contracts… booooo!

    • Stone Cold

      Google would take most of that carrier approval for updates out of the picture. Is what I get from this story.

  • Richard Giordano

    well at least Google shouldn’t worry bout Motorola being on the latest version of android since they seem to have tht already covered wit the their Moto X and Moto G. The DROIDS are are a different story cause of Verizon. 🙁

  • tylerc23

    “I can see it Clark… and it’s beautiful”

  • Stone Cold

    I love this idea.

  • CaffinatedOne

    This makes sense and is a good thing. Google needs to step up if they want to have an anything near healthy Android hardware ecosystem. It’s great that Samsung has been doing well in this space, but having one vendor be massively dominant isn’t really good for anyone (aside from Samsung, of course).

  • SewWhat

    Verizon will NEVER stand for it….

    • steve o

      Google > Verizon

    • SewWhat

      I mean it wont happen.. they’re control freaks. they’ll try their damnedest to find a way where they can legally block activating a device that they don’t have their fingers in the software end to block tethering and gain revenue from the sale of affixed bloatware.

  • Google couldn’t come up with a more attractive name than the silver phone. Silver doesn’t sound like a premium device. That name could cause a bit of confusion for the unknowing.

    • RoyD77

      Maybe they will. This is all internal leaks. Don’t be shocked if it has a new name when it hits the market. It’s like the launcher called GEL, or Google Experience Launcher, all the way up to official release, where is was called Google Now Launcher.

      Still, silver or platinum are associated with “premium” to consumers.

  • Alan Paone

    This sounds like it’s more about the premium experience, not premium hardware. Some phones are already competitive with Apple’s hardware, the big weakness is Apple’s Customer Service. Honnestly, google has pretty weak customer service even compared against companies that aren’t apple.

  • DC_Guy

    Curious to see if Google can wield the type of power over the carriers that Apple does and actually retain similar control.

  • wmsco1

    Price? Side stepping phone co. Control. Open bootloader. No bloat. Pure Android. Google play updates. Google support.

    • Stone Cold

      Some bloat will be allowed.

  • OFD

    I wish Google would find a strategy and stick with it. I’ve been attempting to buy the best Android phone every couple of years since the first droid. It’s no fun to get a phone and then realize it is not what you though it would be. Galaxy Nexus on Verizon that was not a real galaxy phone. Google moto x that turned into lenovo moto x. It seemed like with the strengthening of the play store the nexus line finally had become the phone/tablet we could count on for consistency.

    Now i don’t know.

  • BoFiS

    I’m concerned about pricing since presently the Nexus 5 (and OnePlus One soon) are by far the cheapest high-end handsets you can get…however, if this means Nexus-like devices on Verizon again, I’m all for it!

  • Patrick Crumpler

    Looms like I will be getting my next phone from Motorola or LG. Good news for me, looking to replace my N4 this summer. Maybe the 1+

  • wmsco1

    The Verizon galaxy Nexus scandal, I have not forgotten. Have to wait and see what it becomes and if its worth it.

  • Guest

    The G2 can play back Flac files as well, although the speakers don’t even come close to the same quality.

  • jonzey231

    They wouldn’t even need Verizon’s approval. Just sell it with Verizon-compatible radios like the 2013 Nexus 7 and that way people like us who are still on Verizon can still use these devices. It might piss Verizon off but what are they going to do? They had to agree to let any compatible device onto their network back in 2012.

  • WallBreaker

    I call False rumor. I’m not saying there isn’t some truth to it but i doubt the Nexus line is ending.

  • cwillen

    I still don’t think this whole “Silver” line deal is screaming the end of Nexus. I do however, think it’s screaming the end of the Google Play Edition phones. The GPE selection is sort of a “Premium Nexus” device, but broadening that into a “Silver Line” of phones sold by carriers seems like a way for OEMs to brand their devices a being given the official stamp of approval by Google.

    Also, as other comments have alluded, the Nexus line was never only about stock Android; it was about getting a highly competitive device at an insanely affordable costs that you were pretty much guaranteed would stay relevant for 3-4 years (if not by Google directly, definitely through the community). If the Silver line is just a series of premium Android phones running “close-to-stock Android,” that’s missing half the equation.

    I suppose we’ll have to wait and see, but I really hope the Nexus line doesn’t die.

    • WallBreaker

      I Agree also people forget that developers use the nexus line. I don’t see the nexus line dying. BUT! What if this actually causes the Nexus devices to drop in price even more making the Nexus line’s staple being cheaper but solid devices, and the Silver devices being the Higher end Stock Devices.

      • cwillen

        I don’t think the Nexus line would be cheaper (not sure how that would even be possible, although OnePlus is making a statement), but I do think this could fix a lot of the problems with Android being so fragmented. If OEMs release “Silver Line” devices, and those are the one that end up selling, that’s what will keep getting made.

        I honestly think the problem with the GPE devices was that MOST people don’t shell out full market price for their devices. People go to their carrier, renew their contract, and pay a subsidized price; because that’s what they’ve always done. If people can pay $0-200 for a “Silver Line” device at a carrier, I think the general public will have a much higher demand for a pure Android experience.

  • WallBreaker

    $67 (into savings each month) x 12 Months = $804

    There is no reason that anyone shouldn’t be able to afford a unlocked device between $600 – $800 if you plan ahead and realize most companies release a new version every year you can easily plan ahead and save.

    • some people do that every month to pay for bills/gas/maybe food…not everyone has extra funds to waste on a cell phone

  • Rob

    As I have already said on another website, I think branding it “silver” is kind of stupid. If they want it to be premium it should be platinum.

  • joejoe5709

    This sounds a lot more like a replacement to the GPE program than the Nexus program. I still say there’s a place in this world for the Nexus program as Google’s best example of pure Android as intended for enthusiasts and a reference point for developers. But if Google wants to make any money, the Silver program is a great way to go. I’m all for selling this in stores as the Nexus program’s biggest issue is visibility and availability. Do they need a dedicated “Silver” staff? I don’t think so. That sounds stupid. Does Apple need a dedicated Apple specialist in each store? Nope. I want the Silver program to be as approachable and understandable as possible. It needs to appeal to the mainstream, not the enthusiast.

  • JDM

    Why Google would want to get rid of the Nexus line is beyond me. :facepalm:

  • LiterofCola

    Give me a silver-lined Sony and I’d pewp myself.

  • Disqus_n00b

    I do not want the carriers involved in any way. Nexus was the original “Un-Carrier”

  • AndrewScottRox

    So what this seems like to me is what they should have done from the very start. They should have a stock phone that gets updates from Google, support from Google, is reasonably priced, and cuts bloat.

    I cringe at the thought, but I think Apple did it right. They leveraged themselves to have control over the hardware, the software, the updates, and the pricing. Apple made it so you don’t really care about the carrier, you just have your iPhone. The Nexus program should have been the same way but to me it looks like Google is taking a very long road at getting there and is finally ready to stop making concessions to carriers now that Android has gained popularity.

  • SplashMTN

    This would be great if they make the Silver editions as affordable as Nexus phones, but if it’s anything like their GPE pricing I can’t see them selling a lot of these phones. Of course I could be totally wrong, but if you take the average consumer looking for a phone and say you can have this phone for $50 on contract or you can have the same phone with pure android for $650 off contract they’re probably going to opt for the $50 phone.

  • Roubaix

    So is ther going to be a gold and platinum line?

  • hebrewHAMMER

    But can I get it in goid? …

  • Nayners

    I think this may be a great step for Google. Let’s face it, not many people know about the Nexus line (compared to Samsung sales, Motorola, etc.) Which is very sad. If Google is willing to pump the money (Billions?) into it, to convince the carriers to give up a of a bit of control, this would be amazing. It would push stock android forward, and hopefully lead to unlocked bootloaders as the standard. However, I still have a hard time Verizon will go for this, no matter how much money Google throws at them. So don’t get ahead of yourselves, Verizon users. You’ve got a long road to travel first.

    Color me optimistic, though.

  • needa

    this makes me think of the samsung rumors from a month or two ago that they would be releasing phones closer to stock etc etc. which means if all of this is true… samsung is probably already a partner. it makes sense to me at least.

  • Michael

    HTC needs to jump on this ASAP!

  • I couldn’t care less if the Nexus program goes away as long as:

    a. The Silver handsets are developer friendly (i.e. fastboot unlockable)
    b. The Silver handsets are significantly cheaper than the Google Play Editions (some where between GPE and Nexus pricing would be fine)
    c. I get the same software that I would get on a Nexus

    • WickedToby741

      a. Fat chance if carriers are involved.
      b. Plausible, but don’t know how realistic.
      c. Expect it to be close but not identical.

      Going by the rumors, we’ve already seen our first Silver device: the Moto X. That being said, software was near-stock but not quite stock, the bootloader was locked tight by Verizon & AT&T, updates were quick (even beating Nexus and GPE devices in some instances), carrier and OEM bloat was kept to a minimum, and the off-contract price is reasonable (although that took some time).

  • Manthas

    It may be just me, but it sounds like they’re setting themselves up for a tiered experience based on the proposed naming convention. Your standard Android OEM devices that are out there in the wild now would be “Bronze” level, these new devices are “Silver”, and potentially an actual Nexus replacement line of “Gold” tiered devices. Obviously I have zero support for this theory whatsoever, but there it is. We have to wait to see how this pans out moving forward.

  • Matthew Rebmann

    This really can only be good news, I’m sure but Going to miss the Nexus brand name. The design language of the last two were impecible as well. “Android Silver” just doesn’t feel the same. But hey, change is good (hopefully)!

  • Conor Most

    A more important report: White Nexus 4 still looks sexy as hell almost two years after launch.

  • noooooo

  • Johnny Steele

    I would love a near stock android phone with features that other phone companies have? I guess I wouldn’t mind that! I just….I really like the word “Nexus” for a phone. “Silver”? Eh…

    • WallBreaker

      I’m starting to think the M8 GPE was a sign of that. Unlike the GPE M7 the M8 GPE actually retained the HTC Features it even had both the stock and htc camera apps pre installed.

  • Jason Smith

    So we’re all ok with losing unlockable bootloaders and easy rooting over in-store support that most nexus owners don’t need and a purchasing model that we don’t even like (in-store with a contract)? I don’t get it.

    • Hopefully the bootloaders will still be unlockable.

    • WickedToby741

      It’s important to remember that this is meant to appease a much broader base than current Nexus customers. But that’s not to say that we’ll for sure lose those things (although I wouldn’t hold your breath for an unlock-friendly Verizon or AT&T device).

      • Jason Smith

        Yeah I get that. It’s just that the iPhone is for the “lowest common denominator” crowd. Nexus didn’t stand for that in the same way. Hopefully something replaces it in the techy niche.

  • 213ninja

    i like Google’s vision and i think with the right partnerships and pricing, this stands to be even better than the nexus program. But, I don’t see VZW signing up for this…are they going to ditch their DROID brand? If Tmo and AT&T sign up and LG and Moto sign up, how is this going to be any different than what we already have?

    If Google can get everyone on board (buy everyone), then this could be cool, but the debbie downer in me makes it feel like pie in the sky…

  • epps720

    LG G3 is obviously going to be the first phone in this silver line. Why else do they have a silver button on the back?!

    • 213ninja

      i saw that on BGR too!!

    • Gordon F.

      The atomic number of silver is 47. 7-4=3. Half Life 3 confirmed.

      *Proceeds to kick own arse for what he just said*

  • jeepguy04

    This seems contradictory to what Google has been trying to achieve with the nexus line. With the nexus phones lately they seem to be going for affordable full retail amount to wage a war with carrier subsidies. (Same with the Google influenced Moto X)

    So now with this silver line they are going for high end devices pushed through carriers which will probably only be affordable with those carrier subsidies?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see more close to vanilla android devices offered through carriers. I think the GPE devices are great but if you are with one of the big carries(ATT and Verizon) its hard to pay 500-600 bucks for the vanilla version of the same device that you can get for 200. Its not like they give you a rate break for not using your upgrade. So silver edition devices for 200 on contract sounds great.

    If this silver edition stuff is for real (leaks multiple times seems to suggest its the real deal) then I don’t see why Google would end the nexus program as part of it. It would seem they would want to continue with the nexus agenda of solid affordable off contract devices. While at the same time trying to get vanilla android sets pushed through the carriers as a silver edition. Unless as part of the deal the carriers and oems wanted an end to this affordable phone trend. But it doesn’t seem like Google to bow down to the carriers.

    • 213ninja

      Google’s bottom line is based on user volume, right? While very respectable and appreciated in these circles, Nexus doesn’t get them many new users because the marketing is limited, especially when compared to Samsung and the carriers…and the program doesn’t seem to have been designed to do as such. But what if Google can take Nexus and turn it into something that does add value? Google can push Nexus to the carriers, the carriers will market it as “Silver”, and that gets Google in more pockets. Any changes made to the program will likely be the carriers asking Google to make “carrier-friendly” concessions….hopefully for us, not too many……just some thoughts……i’m not married to any of my crap.

  • Jedi_Skote

    As long was the price point is still there I think I can deal with it.

  • Brett Wcislo

    Nexus never mattered to me because I’m on VZW.

    • Arthur Dent

      Ok

  • br_hermon

    My initial concerns are price and availability. I love a $350 to $400 Nexus phone. Finding that with carriers is difficult to come by. Secondly, if this is done primarily through carriers, what about all of us prepaid? Are we screwed? If Google wants to do this with carriers and OEMs, fine. But if you take away my chance to buy a carrier-independent, reasonably priced, top of the market (mostly) phone to use on whatever prepaid carrier I want, then I’ll be pissed.

    Keep the Nexus program in place as it stands today, add to it the Silver program… win / win.

  • Mike Boodoo

    Looks like I’ll have to start over. Years of explaining what Nexus devices are to my friends will now have to be replaced by “Silver” devices…

    • WickedToby741

      I don’t think you’ll have to do that. The goal of the Silver program seems to be more consumer facing. As such, marketing and promotion will be much more prominent. Think the Galaxy or Droid brand (hopefully).

  • Rasheem Fields

    If aint broke, dont fix it. The Nexus line made google stand on its own. This idea sound dependent on others…

    • epps720

      This is all a guess but I’m thinking Google got tired of losing so much money on these phones and never saw the sales volume to make it worthwhile. They figure they can put the Nexus money towards building the value perception of Android and showing that it isn’t second fiddle to Apple.

      • Rasheem Fields

        It was good while it lasted…that Nexus line had OEMs disgusted. Changed what pricing of a smart phone should be…sounds familiar..

    • WallBreaker

      I own a Nexus 5 and while I love it if you look at the big picture this is going to benefit us and android users in general the Nexus line served its purpose showcasing stock and getting more people to appreciate it.

    • Stone Cold

      They almost had to make this decision as most average consumers think Samsung is Android nothing about any Android other than the Nexus maybe makes anyone think of Google. They want all OEMS to hopefully get on board with the future vision of Android. and this could help truly in the long run yes you can custom skin it IE touchwiz or sense but they are limiting the amount of preloaded apps.

  • WickedToby741

    So if I’m hearing this correctly, Google basically wants to turn other OEM’s into what they turned Motorola into (near-stock Android with sensible tweaks, quick OS upgrades, affordable price) through the Android Silver program?

    Sounds good to me as long as they can keep the prices of these devices down and the updates Nexus- and GPE-quick. The two most important aspects for me are quick updates and a low price. If Nexus devices die and these two aspects aren’t carried forward to the Silver program I’ll be severely disappointed. If they stick to the Moto X formula I’ll be happy.

  • Pdiddy187

    Skeptical. Very skeptical.

  • Dave

    NO JUST NO

  • Cruz R

    It just sounds weird. We can all speculate on rumors like these. But it seems like we are ask puzzled on this one. Google can surprise us or really let us down on this one. What worries me at this early stage is the meddling of others. The carriers and the hardware partners. I just wonder how far into this Google plan it is. Will we see the last Nexus release around October, November? Or will we get this Silver device we are hearing about? Google I/O will be interesting this year to see if it will hint the Silver line of devices…

  • BillySuede

    this would be akin to manna falling from heaven. a silver edition note 4?! please make it happen and TAKE MY MONEY! *throws bills at the screen feverishly*

  • Rodeojones000

    More stock Android devices to more carriers (read: Verizon) is a good thing. My only concern is that they decide to go with GPE pricing rather than standard Nexus pricing. But (and I might be in the minority amongst the many pre-paid lovers here) if there are carrier subsidies included with two year contracts I’d be all over this.

    • Stone Cold

      Silver device on T-mobile no contract please just take my money.

  • thompson

    Hopefully “silver” is just the code name and not the name they are actually going to try to market. Whatever it’s called, I still want my fully unlock-able, stock Android devices.

  • lgreg64

    This works perfect for motorola. I would say the Moto X would meet this now.

    • WickedToby741

      It seems as though the Moto X was the inspiration for this program. Or Chromebooks or Windows Phone.

  • jbworldwide1

    If true, I’m wit it. As a Nexus fan I was in my feelings initially but after thinking about it, it’s not such a bad idea.

  • Ry Sav

    as long as its on Verizon, im all for it…..FINGERS CROSSED

    • 213ninja

      those fingers are gonna get mad cramped…..

      • Ry Sav

        its all mind over matter hahah

  • maxx1987

    awesome! wouldld love to have multiple nexus-like options!

  • Dustin

    This could be good news for big red customers…hoping that if this is a reality, Google pushes these on Verizon as well.

  • Bionicman

    ummm cool. it seems like its the logical thing to do since the Nexus program probably isn’t making a ton of dough and its not deterring manufacturers to stop putting in their own skin. i can see this silver line taking over both the Nexus line of phones and the GPE phones that are out there.

  • Justin Tierney

    Honestly, Unifying android accross all platforms like this could be the kick in the a$$ that Android and Google needs in order to rise above. Unifying Android with hangouts and SMS accross all devices, and causing a more unifying experience will give Android that “cleaner” feel and less “Fragmentation” (A word I hate to use)

  • Orion

    I love the Nexus line but you know what? I’m all for this. This just gets more stock Android phones to carriers. I knew moto and LG would be first in line. Those two are my fav OEMS at this current time.

    • WickedToby741

      Those two seem to be Google’s favorite OEMs at the moment too. Just look at who is releasing the first Android Wear devices.

  • Nerds

    I moved to prepaid on T-MO with my Nexus 5. I pay $30/mo and will never go back to the 2 year contract model. I will never deal with Verizon’s/AT&T’s horseshit again. If there becomes an issue of when updates will arrive and certain devices having to wait that will push me to become a reluctant iPhone user. That is the reason I am a Nexus owner in the first place.

  • bimsebasse

    Bad news for Nexus owners, good news for everyone else, I guess. The reason we Nexus owners like Nexus is not simply “stock android”, it’s also the reasonable price and the hardware designed to fit stock android. That’s why GPE devices do not and cannot replace Nexus devices.

    • Detonation

      Unfortunately you guys are also a tiny fraction of the market

      • bimsebasse

        Yup – can’t argue with it making sense from a business point of view, unfortunately. I have never seen a single person with a Nexus phone :/

        • JSo

          No regular consumer knows about the Nexus line. It isn’t really marketed anywhere.

          • cadtek91

            They’re on T-Mobile at least.

          • JSo

            But there isnt any real advertising for it. They just sit on a shelf next to all the other phones that people actually know about. They are skipping over one of the best phones and they don’t even know it. And the sales people only push the popular phones like Samsung, HTC and even Sony.

          • WallBreaker

            actually they sell them in store at att t mobile and sprint.

          • grumpyfuzz

            The nexus 7 was. I know someone who said they know what the Nexus 7 is, but they didn’t know what the Nexus 5 was.

        • moelsen8

          i’ve been around for all 5 generations of nexus phones and i’ve only ever seen one in the wild, last year the person in front of me at dunkin donuts was paying with an N4.

        • WallBreaker

          ive actually never seen nexus 4 owners but I have seen Nexus 5 owners quite often since it became available in store on tmobile sprint and att.

          • Trysta

            Just recently I’ve started to see some Nexus 5’s in the wild (3 different people in separate situations). So we are out there!

  • JSo

    No more beautifully made Nexus phones?

  • Wolfpack93

    Sounds like GPE flagship phones to me.

  • RoboCop

    Silver line Sony on Verizon and make it about $200 less than retail since retail is paying for the manufacturer goodies that go away with a stock android experience…. Wait… Nvm…none of that has a chance… I feel like we’re the Trix Rabbit and Verizons like “silly customers, good phones are for AT&T”

  • Nick

    R.I.P. Nexus, I’ll be keeping my Nexus 7 2013 for as long as possible then 🙁

    • WallBreaker

      I sold mine because i heard about a Nexus 8 but if that doesn’t happen I might have to repurchase one and hold onto my Nexus 5 and 7 as long as possible lol.

  • Rolfi Polanco

    sucks been a proud owner of a nexus 4,5,7 2013 awesome pricing it has short comings but it was a beast all around might go moto if there pricing sticks 400 down line

  • Alix8821

    I LOVE my Note 3, but i’d deff love a legit “Google Phone” on VZW. G-Nex was ok, but i still had to root cause VZW sucks. I’d love a pure google, no-root-required, top-of-the line, stock android phone, on VZW….. We’ll see.

    YES, rooting is easy, but rooting my N3 to slim down TW & stuff is one thing… My N7 is untouched and i Love it… That’s all

  • Shagnscooby

    It’d be nice to have an equivalent high-end Nexus phone but it would pretty much make us dependent on subsidized phones again.

  • TSK

    I don’t know why, but i feel that even with all the good this might bring, it will be in the loss column for me. If Google is not first hand designing the devices like the Nexus line I won’t be happy. Maybe I’m just an elitist, but the only phones that feel good to me are the Nexus 5 and the Moto X. The Nexus 5 is the sexiest phone I think I’ve ever seen, many people call it bland or blah, but it’s simplicity is what makes it great. Even the M8 with the metal chassis doesn’t come close. So if this means Google will back out of the design, I’m going to be praying that Moto can keep up their ergonomic design.

    • AMTrombley89

      Agree. It seems like this is the last forseeable year that Google and Moto will make amazing phones. In 2015 when this rumor is to come true and Moto starts putting out Lenovo-designed phones, it’s going to be a real tossup as to what “good” is going to be.

    • Chris Hannan

      I think the Nexus 4 is the best looking Nexus so far.

  • pmd

    new gold Silver phone from google…this doesn’t sound as good as new gold nexus phone from google

  • tharealoc

    Damnit sundar!

  • archercc

    Yayyy to more up-to-date devices. Booo to the death of the Nexus.

    Nothing is like a Nexus, a phone designed AROUND Android. It really does deliver the “iphone experience.” Ive played with GPE devices and, while not skinned, they still dont provide the same function as a Nexus. Id much rather just see them get more and more behind the Nexus.

    But if they kept a Nexus, low volume device tweaked by a hardware partner to be as Google envisions it I would still get it. The idea of the better support would be welcome but I dont just want a de-skinned S5.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Finally. the true Google phones arrive. I think silver will allow them to do full system back for their phones. Doing it for every android device would be intense.

  • Blake

    If this is true I might not buy android phones depending on the specifics of the rollout. What I appreciate about the nexus is the minimization of branding and excess software just based on who made the device or what carrier it’s on. I don’t need to see Samsung and Verizon logos all over my phone, nor do I need or want to see ANY of their apps on the phone. It’s why I don’t like GP edition of devices. I also prefer more the one device model – buy THIS phone and it’ll be updated on time, every time, for 2 years.

    • WickedToby741

      How do you feel about the Moto X? Because honestly, I think that’s what this program is modelled after just with a broader subset of OEMs.

      • Blake

        If it was done like Moto X, sans the whole “customized editions only available on AT&T” at launch bit, I’d be hesitant but I’d happily give it a shot. They’ve proven themselves/the device to do well and it’s the closest to Nexus in my mind (the branding part is a thing to me, cost too). I just worry that won’t be the case. I hope, if this rumor is true, you’re right though.

  • T4rd

    So how would this affect pricing? If they’re not selling the phones through the Play Store anymore, I would assume the prices would be at the mercy of the carriers, which would probably not want to charge any less than $500 for any new phone off contract.

    • WickedToby741

      But if Google is covering the cost of marketing and software development, carriers and OEMs can still keep their typical margins at a lower price. If Google is at the negotiating table, I’d expect them to push for reasonable pricing ($350-500 off-contract). They should have pulled Woodside back into the fold to execute this instead of letting him go to Dropbox. He did wonderful things with Motorola.

      • T4rd

        Yeah, I just don’t see Verizon and AT&T allowing a phone to be sold for Nexus pricing in their stores off contract though. Contracts are their bread and butter and a $350 phone would discourage people from renewing, esp. if they’re still on unlimited data and want to keep it. Though they can always force you off those legacy plans anyways if they want, esp. if you’re not under contract anymore.

        • WickedToby741

          I think in AT&T’s recent earnings report they said that over 40% of their customers opted for a Next plan. And AT&T is delighted. The way they report revenues changes because of separating out the device cost from the plan (they can realize the full MSRP of a device at the beginning of the plan as revenue because of an accounting trick) and, as with tiered data, this pricing model more accurately reflects the budgets of customers. Verizon has also said that they welcome a shift away from 2-year contracts, they just don’t expect it happening anytime soon (although AT&T’s performance would suggest otherwise). While I don’t know that they would welcome a low MSRP for a device, they certainly welcome enticing customers to forego 2-year contracts in favor of Edge and Next plans. And honestly, if they do agree to sell devices at Nexus prices, they could entice cost conscious customers to stay instead of bolting for T-Mobile. I think OEMs will be the most resistant to hit those low price targets, but with Google footing the bill for marketing and promotion, it does make it easier to hit that target.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    “LG and Motorola are thought to be the first two to join the program, with Samsung, HTC, and Sony still on the fence. No word on a potential launch of this program has been given.”

    I think we can assume HTC will be in. I mean, what do they have to lose? And this would be a great way for Sony to make it into carrier stores. As for Samsung…. They’ll do it because they feel like they must dominate everything.

  • W. Paul Schenck

    Stock Android, on the latest hardware, on the carrier of my choice… sounds too good to be true.

  • STEV3

    I’m curious if Silver is just going to be a different version of a premium device, just like a GPE just instead it’ll be a Silver Edition. Not like the Silver 5 or the Silver 7 etc.

  • Mvasquez

    Any idea if these phones will still be priced like nexus devices? One of the big reasons I live nexus phones is I can get a top level phone for a reasonable price without having to use an upgrade just to afford one.

  • Mordecaidrake

    If the ‘silver’ line comes to Verizon I’m all for it. Although I’m sure they’re screw it up. However, I want a pure android line. I haven’t bought the Samsung Tab Pro yet for this reason, the announcement of the new Nexus 10.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    “Fully Trained Silver Staff”? . . . Definitely something I wouldn’t mind doing part time…. Hey Kellen, any hiring news on this front that you’ve heard through the grapevine?

    • rfranken

      would these said staff people be “geniuses”
      hehe

    • Stone Cold

      No different that the Samsung Store inside Best Buy. They have the google one they have put in so why not use it to also showcase the Silver line if the ends up being true.

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        I think this idea is a lot more broad than a Table with Google products.

        • Stone Cold

          I know it is. Let’s just go ahead and hit Hypebeast mode as this has been needed for sometime now. Aligning Android in a way that the control wrests with Google versus “Carrier testing” latest update and the consumers still wait months or not at all for Kit Kat or whatever other update Google releases.

  • TopXKiller

    gg HTC

  • evan brown

    If these are essentially more widely available nexus-like devices, made by a multitude of manufacturers, I welcome it. This also seems like its the follow up to the rumor last year about a nexus device made by a each manufacturer. If this gets on vzw… go google.

  • Tony Byatt

    I guess they went with silver instead of gold to not raise expectations…

    Interested in seeing how this plays out…

  • nabooska

    Is this not the way android should’ve been from the beginning??

    • WickedToby741

      Arguably, Android never could have reached the scale it did under this new formula. Android started out very, very open and has gotten more closed and regulated over time. It was the openness of Android in the start that got the attention of manufacturers, carriers, and customers alike. It was the polar opposite of the tightly controlled iOS. Without that openness, I don’t think there would have been such widespread support over the years. But now that it is widespread, it’s time for Google to pull in the reigns. Customers now want to see more polish and developers want to see more consistency across Android devices. Android is still the most open mainstream OS available, but a lot of the openness has been sacrificed over the years in order to achieve this higher level of consistency and polish.

      • WallBreaker

        actually its still very open, google’s apps and services such as gmail google drive ect are technically not a part of android.

        Android is still very much open, you can polish and refine an open OS it just takes longer I do think Google is trying to refine things but I wouldn’t confuse refinement and polish for “closing” an OS.

  • Paul Cruz

    I love both Nexus tablets and phones but I don’t care about the Nexus name it is all about the clean Android experience. So as long as they stick with that I’ll buy a phone carrying the Silver name or any other name they want to use.

  • Josh Flowers

    Oh crap, I can just see Verizon getting into this. “All phones are limited in their update schedule, but if you want the newest OS then you have to upgrade your handset. to one of those more expensive models–their update schedule is somewhat less restrictive.”
    Wait, this already happens.
    Here’s hoping the ‘Silver’ line doesn’t go the way of the Verizon G-Nex which was horribly controlled.

  • My only concern would be the pricing. Part of the reason I love the nexus line is because you get a damn good device at an amazing price. There’s a reason I didn’t buy the Google Play Experience devices and it wasn’t about stock android.

    • Jason Downing

      Yup. There has to be some sort of incentive for these OEM’s to make the same/similar phone that’s not running their proprietary software. A cheaper device would probably lower sales numbers for their flagship devices.

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        I think the incentive is Google footing the bill.

        • Fawzi94

          And that would make up for the lost revenue on any lower-priced phones, since google would presumedly take care of most of the fixed costs (Software and product development, server management for updates, carrier negotiations, post-release product support, marketing, etc.). The “Silver Line” might decrease unit revenue, but by reducing costs and increasing sales it can maintain or even increase overall profit for OEMs.

    • j

      This.. Nobody in the tech community gives two craps what you call the phones, or where you buy them. ALL we care about is competitive specs, little to no bloat, and $400 or less full retail. I think that should be painfully obvious by now. MotoX, Nexus line got it right. $700 phones can die in a fire.

      • Bob G

        I actually care about $1 or less full retail.

      • Alan Paone

        phones only cost $700 because your carrier says they cost $700 without a contract.

        • jstew182

          This is also seen with GPE phones that aren’t sold by the carriers.

        • Right! If ALL mobile phones were offered in the open market without the smoke and mirrors of contracts and the coordinated pricing by all involved, people would get sticker shock and phone makers would be left to compete on price. The profit margins on phones are enormous compared to TV’s, computers and other consumer electronics. Of course, not every mobile phone maker is successful, but the ones who are make a killing. That’s why the speed of change is so rapid. It can afford to be because there is so much money in this stuff.

        • MH

          It only cost samsung $256 to make the GS5. I’m sure the carriers paid $400-450/unit and are reselling for a handsome profit per.

        • TheDrunkenClam

          This^

      • Tyler

        I think the main problem is that the Nexus phones don’t sell as well to people that aren’t tech savvy. This sounds like google is trying to become well known and one sure way to do that is to have a line that promotes a certain premium experience.

        • michael arazan

          I have met quite a few non-techies who own nexus phones, even back with the GNex in 2011

    • jrop

      Manufacturers do seem to be paying attention to making cheeper phones lately though. Take for example OnePlus and Motorola.

      That may not hold true for Samsung or HTC, I guess.

    • ArclightX

      Indeed. These new fangled “Silver” phones had damn well better include 2 things…

      1. Same aggressive price point
      2. All the LTE/UMTS bands that Nexus phones traditionally have

      I actually think Point #2 is more important than Point #1 to be honest. Nexus phones (unlike carrier branded AT&T/Verizon phones) are one of the few true “World” phones made. You can basically pop it anyone’s SIM card and it will just work. Even the Google Experience devices can’t boast that.

      That had better not change.

      • epps720

        As long as that SIM doesn’t have a Verizon logo on it

      • LiterofCola

        Nope, they’d be stupd to leave Verizon out of the picture. Even though people here might not like them.

      • Rob

        I think you’re confusing an unlocked phone for a phone that has many/all of the LTE/UMTS bands. Carrier branded phones will work overseas on different networks, albeit through international roaming. The hardware is there, the phone is not unlocked for any carrier to use though.

        • George264

          A lot of ATT and Unlocked phones don’t support AWS. That kills when you have T-Mo.

  • Garrett Sechelski

    Stock (or as close as it gets) Android on many more phones. This is what it sounds like to me. Which would be great. So I’m all for it.

    • WickedToby741

      The program sounds great, but not at the expense of the current Nexus program. It would be a nice compliment to it, but in my opinion there still needs to be the Nexus brand for the hardcore enthusiasts and to provide a reference device for developers.

      • Garrett Sechelski

        Who’s to say the “Silver” line wouldn’t just be an evolution of the Nexus line though? Instead of having 1 OEM each year make a single Nexus device, you have 5 each make their own. Not phones based off their current flagship with stock slapped on (GPE phones) but an actual separate handset that Google works closely to develop with each OEM. Long shot that this is what it actually is, but anything is possible and nothing is confirmed yet.

        • Rod

          Sucks.

          Nexus has to be unique.

          • Garrett Sechelski

            5 unique devices is better than only 1.

  • Tyrone Biggums
  • Zoloft_User

    Somehow, I find carriers creating ways to ruin this…(cough, Verizon)

    This sounds promising, but it needs to be available throughout the support of ALL the carriers along with prices being “reasonable.”

    • rals

      And that’s the Key right. Will this be exclusive to certain carriers or all? Otherwise, this program is a waste of time and energy if it can’t be sold to all carriers.

      • archercc

        Im sure Google wouldnt mind putting it on Verizon. Bitch at Verizon for not wanting to play nice and have a Google phone without tweaked radios or Verizon Apps and delayed updates.

        • rals

          No, I think Google wouldn’t mind, but there is a push to or middle ground that has to be achieved to have the program on the largest carrier in the country, and I don’t if this comes down to cash?

          • archercc

            If its a middle ground then its not a Google phone. The point of the Nexus was Google controlled both the spec of the hardware, the software and the updates. “Middle ground” is at best a GPE device.

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        The source article mentions Sprint & T-Mobile as possible carrier partners in the US, with AT&T and Verizon hanging out with Sony, HTC, and Samsung on the fence.

        Which makes sense. LG, Motorola & T-Mobile are looking to do whatever they can to rapidly grow their market share, and have always been heavy Android supporters. Sprint will do anything with even a hair’s chance that they will at least stop losing customers.

        The rest (barring HTC &, to a lesser extent, Sony) have enough resources to be patient.

      • WickedToby741

        My hunch is that the Moto X is the posterchild for this Silver program. It wasn’t quite stock Android and it had some minimal carrier bloat, but overall it was miles ahead of the competition. I think Google learned from the Moto X and sees a mass appeal from that formula and the Silver program is their plan to execute it.

        • AbbyZFresh

          What mass appeal? The Moto X didn’t even sell very much to begin with.

          People don’t care as much about what UI they use as you think. Just ask Samsung and LG.

          • WickedToby741

            I didn’t say the Moto X realized that appeal, just that Google recognizes it’s there. Nexus’, GPE phones, and the Moto X & G have all been critically acclaimed for their minimal and consistent UI’s and, most importantly, the speed at which they get updated. You can point to a number of reasons as to why these devices haven’t sold like a Galaxy device, but the Silver program is Google’s attempt at finally taking that formula mainstream.

            People may not care about the UI their phone has, but they do care about their phone receiving updates and support over the life of the device and the amount of unremovable bloat that comes on their phones. This program is about more than stock Android. It’s about getting the latest version of Android to more devices quicker and putting the focus back on Google apps instead of carrier or OEM bloat. Stock Android just happens to be the most efficient means of delivering upon this goal (Exhibit A: Moto X).

    • Mordecaidrake

      They will, the Galaxy Nexus still makes me sad.

    • supermotard

      you mention verizon but have you forgotten about the moto x and how it was updated so fast? if motorola can get verizon to update its phone relatively think of what google can do.

      • WickedToby741

        Literally I think this Silver program is what Google learned from Motorola during the time they owned them (they technically still do). Think about the Moto X formula and then think about this rumored Silver program. Near-stock Android with sensible tweaks, GPE-like updates even for carrier variants, an affordable off-contract price, and availability across a range of carriers. It aligns perfectly with what Moto was trying to deliver with the X.

      • Zoloft_User

        You are correct on the Moto X. Every since I bought my Moto X, I have been very satisfied with the updates Verizon has pushed out right away. This was more directed toward their lack of carrying the Nexus line. Google is very good about it, yes, but I feel Verizon would find another way to say no. Look at the Nexus 5; CDMA version created, works on Sprint, but Verizon & Google couldn’t compromise to carry one of the best smart phones on the market.

        • TylerCameron

          The fact that the Nexus 5 didn’t have LTE band 17 has nothing to do with Verizon and everything to do with Google and LG. I think Google and LG were just being immature (more Google though) for how Verizon was with the Galaxy Nexus. All it needed was that one band and all you’d have to do is pop in a SIM and it’d work.

          • Zoloft_User

            True, but if they decided to work together (which they didn’t for reasons most likely due to lack of support toward the Galaxy Nexus and blocking Google Wallet), then the Nexus 5 would be most likely in my pocket instead of my Moto X. Google didn’t screw over Verizon users, Verizon screwed their customers over by not abiding to Google and their requests. But Verizon has no problem bending over for Apple to appease them.

          • Dave12308

            Except it wouldn’t “just work” because the MEID wouldn’t be in Verizon’s “whitelist database”. Unless your phone’s MEID is in Verizon’s system, it is NOT going to connect to their network.

          • TylerCameron

            WRONG. This is how it used to be when they were only CDMA, but now they’re CDMA + LTE. They are not allowed to deny a device activation. Does the LTE Nexus 7 ring a bell? An people have managed to make the Nexus 5 connect to Verizon’s CDMA network.

          • acras

            Do you mean the LTE nexus 7 that Verizon refused to activate for quite some time? You know the one that worked on Verizons network, as long as you put a sim from one of your other devices in it because V blacklisted it for “testing” for several months? Dave is right , Verizon and the FCC have proven that there is no enforcement of regulations .

          • Mike

            Do you remember how much of a pain in the ass it was to get the LTE Nexus 7 to work on Verizon before they started selling it? Having to activate your sim in a display model etc

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      I hope not. This is googles move to complete the ecosystem and be more -for the lack of a better term- apple like to carriers.

    • Adam Truelove

      You will never get a GPE type device on Verizon. They wouldn’t allow the loss of control.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Like the Boston Silver Line? Thanks for the Boston shoutout Google.

    http://www.mbta.com/uploadedimages/Smart_Forms/News,_Events_and_Press_Releases/SilverLine_0174(1).jpg

  • STEV3

    I’m interested in how much their gonna cost, or is the low price being axed along with the Nexus name.

    • sagisarius

      Yeah, I feel like that’s the most interesting question this all raises.

  • Kevin

    Silver is old already, where’s the gold experience?!

    • M3D1T8R

      You have to get an Iphone for that. /apple fanboy troll

      • Kevin

        Exactly my point! I just hope they don’t go the way of Apple with this. But it is curious that they’re “starting” with what society typically sees as a second tier object. I’m definitely all for Android and it’s growth and against the way Apple does its business.

        • BillySuede

          theoretically, the nexus devices are second tier. they are not usually the highest grade from a specs standpoint. the main selling point was always that it was developer friendly and you got the updates straight from google with stock android loaded.

          the real question is with this in mind, are we going to see an exclusive line of phones that are going to be nexus-like mid-range phones or are we talking about elite-level silver-exclusive flagship phones? take it a step further, how does this affect an oem like samsung and a phone like the mythical galaxy prime and the note series?

  • Marikel

    This sounds amazing. Hopefully this comes to Verizon.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Lol there’s always one of these Verizon posts, and I always chuckle.

  • John

    I definitely prefer the Nexus name, but I honestly don’t care as long as they keep making good phone decisions, especially if they have more control over them.

  • Isaiah

    This is either the best decision Google has made or the worst.

    • leffer

      Or somewhere between the 2.
      One of those 3 options, for sure.

  • Maxim∑

    Now people will know the brand even more!

  • Jay Ochs

    sucks. the branding of “Nexus” sounds much better. Sad to see it go.

  • CivilDroid

    if it means the possibility for “nexus-like” silver phones on Verizon….by all means, Google, proceed!

    • Christopher Moore

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Hopefully it’s free on contract or under $350 off contract.

      • nerds

        Good luck with that.

      • cwillen

        I can already sense the inevitable disappointment. Verizon’s ego is too big, and they have too much pull over their users to have to make any sort of concession. If this Silver line comes to fruition and it turns out to be a Nexus-like series of phones, they’re going to have to call the ones on Verizon the “Pewter line,” because there’s no way Verizon is pushing anything onto its network with NFL Mobile, ISIS, VZ Navigator, Verizon Mobile Security… and so on.

        I hate to be a pessimist, but just look at what they did to the Galaxy Nexus! And that was (supposed to be) an OFFICIAL NEXUS PHONE!

        This is just one of the many reasons I left Big Red.

        • calculatorwatch

          I dunno, I think it depends on how successful Google is at launching the “Silver” brand. If they can present it as something new and cool and make people want it, then Verizon will have to carry them even if it means leaving off bloatware just like they do now with the iPhone. But if they walk the same path as the Galaxy Nexus then it’s certainly doomed to failure.

          Ultimately, I hope that Google’s big play with this move is to have a line of phones where they have Apple style control over ensuring a good user experience for their customers (but still don’t try to control how their customers use their phones like Apple does).

          • morteum

            I should have read your comment before posting mine. I completely agree.

        • Stone Cold

          This would be a weird setup for Verizon as they a Motorola partner for I believe the next 5 years with the droid line.

        • morteum

          I don’t think it’s totally unreasonable to suggest that Verizon could comply if there is enough of a demand for the Silver edition phones. The Galaxy Nexus was by no means a desirable phone compared to the iPhone or now the Galaxy S line. If Google markets these phones well (along with Android’s steady rise to popularity) Verizon will happily shove it into everybody’s face that they carry them. Google is already gaining control of Android updates by moving everything to the Play store (and don’t forget about the Verizon Moto X!), and I think people are starting to realize that $600 phones and contracts aren’t nearly as nice as carriers would have you believe. I’m not saying Verizon will drop everything and jump on board, but maybe if things stay headed in the right direction the next couple years it won’t be impossible for a $300-$400 Silver phone to be available on any carrier.

    • d-rock

      You might get this, but at the full retail pricetag still. I think this is goodbye to $300 nexus phones and hello to continued google edition (Silver) phones at $600 a pop.