According to prolific leakster @evleaks’ tweet on May 17, Android Silver will replace Google’s Nexus brand of devices in February 2015, a piece of information that points towards a major shift in Google’s mobile strategy. He revealed that this year there will be no Nexus 6 and that the Nexus brand will be completely replaced with Android Silver. From speaking with a number of sources, we discovered that the rumoured Android Silver is likely to emerge as the classic Nexus on steroids.
@evleaks is usually very accurate with his leaks and so even though there is not enough evidence backing the rumoured Android Silver yet, it is unlikely that his leak will be far from the truth.
Reportedly, Google is seeking to offer its users premium hardware as well as premium support and the Android Silver is believed to be similar to the Google Play Edition devices that are currently available on the Google Play Store, except that the new devices will be a tad bit cheaper. Additional speculations suggest that the devices will offer faster updates, more consistency, fewer bloatware and generally allow Google more control over high-end hardware, which is currently dominated by Samsung, while bringing in a Nexus-like software experience to a larger audience.
The change is not only expansive but also expensive as Google will be shelling out large amounts of money to promote these devices in wireless carrier stores, advertise them and also subsidize the development and marketing costs for its hardware partners. LG and Motorola are believed to be the likeliest candidates to get involved with Google’s first set of phones in the Android Silver spectrum. HTC, Samsung and Sony may need some convincing however, despite them having offered Google Play Editions of their best phones already, which is the closest analog of what the average Android Silver device will look and act like, in all probability.
Despite all the information that is available, there continue to be a number of unanswered questions like how this change will affect tablets, what will replace Nexus as a reference device for developers and how it will influence Google’s OEM partnerships. Also, what we do not know yet is what Google will do with the mid-range market that the Nexus brand is expected to vacate since Android Silver is aiming to cater to the high-end market. Many Android purists are unhappy with the Android Silver program but experts are of the opinion that this move will benefit both Google and Android.
Google’s need to refigure itself among premium smartphones has been more than evident in the first flagship Android phones that were released earlier this year, with both Samsung Galaxy 5 and HTC One crediting Android in their bootup animations.