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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.

  • HI HO SILVER. {{-_-}}

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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. 🙁