Rumours that Google would be retiring its Nexus brand got a boost today thanks to a report by The Information. Google is reportedly looking to re-assert greater control over the Android ecosystem to ensure that the brand does not get overwhelmed by that of device manufacturers. To do so, Google will drop the four-year old Nexus brand in favour of a new program called Silver.
The move appears to be driven in large part by Samsung’s success. Its brand has overshadowed that of Android and rumours persist that Samsung is looking to launch Tizen as an alternative to Android to reduce its dependency on Google and its mobile operating system.
The move may also be driven by the negative connotations associated with the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem. Google Silver devices would need to run the latest version of Android with a stock or near stock user interface. This would presumably make it easier to upgrade them as new versions of Android get released.
The Google Silver program will see Google pay manufacturers to develop and sell-high end devices that meet its specifications. For example, Google will limit the number of non-Google apps that can be installed on the device. Google could also mandate certain hardware requirements such as waterproofing.
The program will also see Google pay wireless carriers to presumably carry these devices but also provide additional marketing and support. As such, this could be a much costlier program to Google than the Nexus program was but will likely have a broader consumer appeal.
The report identifies LG and Motorola as likely early adopters of the program. Their first devices could be out as early as next year. Google has also talked to Samsung, HTC and Sony but they do not appear to be as willing at this point to support the program.
The program sounds a lot like an enhanced Google Play edition program. It remains to be seen if Google would shutter this program as well with Google Silver.
Google Silver may launch first in the U.S., Germany and Japan.
Source : The Information