03
May
nexusae0_androidsilverhero1

A growing number of sources are corroborating our initial report on a project known as Android Silver - a premium retail and branding effort orchestrated by Google to encourage manufacturers and consumers alike to get on board with handsets certified by Google as meeting certain criteria.

We know, for example, that one of the goals of this program is pinning down the Android software experience: Silver devices would be required to run the latest version of Android with little to no modification of the software experience (a la Motorola, for example). Google would hand-pick a number of devices (perhaps as many as 5) to certify as "silver" status, and these phones would be promoted by Google in brick-and-mortar carrier stores and other retailers, saving OEMs and operators marketing dollars.

A new source, according to The Information, is now claiming that the program is designed not to work in tandem with Google's Nexus line of devices, but to replace it altogether. The Information further claims that devices selected for the program will have "premium hardware" and that Silver will launch in the US, Germany, and Japan as soon as next year.

More obvious, perhaps, is that the Silver program would replace the existing Google Play Edition devices sold by Google on the Play Store currently - the need for such handsets would be made largely redundant by the new Silver scheme.

nexusae0_androidsilverhero1

Our own source for Silver suggests the purpose of this program is largely in promoting the Google software experience and the Google Play ecosystem. Carriers and retailers would have to specially certify at least some employees to sell Silver devices, and those employees would assist buyers in transferring their data from an old device to the new phone, as well as setting up a Google account and demonstrating how Google Play purchases work. Google will also allegedly build an enhanced version of its Android Device Manager software called "Never Lost" to help Android Silver customers track and manage their device in the event of loss or theft, even supplying temporary replacement phones. Google would also set up a customer support system through Hangouts, giving Silver owners access to Google specialists to troubleshoot problems or questions about their device.

The problem, though, is that the Nexus program obviously has a substantial fanbase at this point: Nexus has been synonymous with support for the latest Android features, sleek design, and extremely competitive pricing.

The problem for Google, though, is that the Nexus program also competes with OHA members like Samsung, Motorola, LG, Sony, and HTC. This likely fuels the urge of some OEMs to keep Google's ideas about what makes for the "best" Android experience at arm's length. Think about it - if you're shipping basically the same software as Google but charging $200 or $300 more for your phone, what are consumers going to think? Even if Nexus phones do skimp on some things compared to top-of-the-line devices (screen, camera, materials), it's easy to see how OEMs could perceive them as a threat, so differentiation and branding are key to altering consumer perception.

If Google drops the Nexus line, the threat goes away. Granted, then OEMs have one another to worry about - how is a Samsung Silver phone appreciably different from an HTC Silver phone, or a Motorola Silver phone? I'm still not exactly optimistic, myself, that Google will get too many OEMs on-board with this right out of the gate, as most manufacturers have long been resistant to reduce the "skinning" of their devices.

But, anyway, I'm getting a bit long-winded for a poll post, aren't I? So, I'm curious: what do you think? Would Android Silver, based on what we know right now, be a good replacement for the Nexus program? Would it be a mistake? Vote in the poll below.

Would Android Silver be a good replacement for the Nexus program? A bad one?

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David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • remister

    It is not truly a Nexus device if it is more than 400$

    • usamaisawake

      The Nexus One is the original Nexus and it was well north of $400. The cheaper price came later and wasn't a feature of the Nexus program, really.

      • Franco Rossel

        But we came to recognize it as a Nexus feature by now. And a lot of people would be dissapointed if the prices changed.

        • Dakota

          I'd probably finally switch to iPhone... Right now, the price of the device plus prepaid plan is the one thing that's kept me on Android despite numerous ongoing problems

      • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

        The Galaxy Nexus (intl.) before it the play store fetched anywhere in the $600-800 range.

        • Chris P

          Lowly pleb outside of Google Play Devices availability zone here. 😛 The Nexus 5 here released at $700 but is now $600. Still pretty good considering other flagships are released retailing at up to $1100...

    • DirkBelig

      Yeah, but if the OnePlus One delivers the goods, suddenly a $400 32GB phone is going to look bad compared to a $350 64GB phone, especially if the camera and battery life are better.

    • hot_spare

      Really??

    • archercc

      That only came about with the N4. I love that it exists but the idea of the Nexus was to be a completely google, unlocked and unmolested phone so developers would have a baseline and have the newest code to work from.

    • WallBreaker

      Android silver I imagine will be GPE type devices at contract prices as articles have stated google will have their people in store.

  • Justin Foster

    In light of Project ARA, Nexus must die.

    • Jovie Brett Bardoles

      And then the other year Android Silver will be replaced by Project Ara -_- seems legit.

    • Dhruv Aggarwal

      It should be .. In the light of project ara .. 700$ phones should die

      • brkshr

        Just wait till you price all the high end specs out that you want and it comes out to more than $1,000. There is no way that a comparable Ara phone will cost less than a comparable smart phone. That's just the nature of the beast.

        Don't get me wrong. I love what Project Ara is doing and I will most likely have the first one out. But I have no illusions that it will be cheaper than smartphones now.

      • Justin Foster

        ROFL true.

    • Fabian Pineda

      Uh... no... Project Ara is going to be the next cool geek thing. Not the next cool consumer thing.

      • Walkop

        I somehow seriously doubt that.

        Who wouldn't want to be able to replace a shattered screen by sliding in a new part? 😄

        • Fabian Pineda

          The fundamental flaw in your line of thought is that you assume everyone is a tinkerer/DIY kind of person. Don't assume.

          • Barnassey

            The flaw apparent in your thinking is assuming that people wont learn to tinker. Thats like saying 64KB ram is fine for everyone.

          • Fabian Pineda

            Uh... no. Metaphors are allowed, when they're done right, which you didn't. So let's try to use real examples from now on.

            The old feature phones were easily pried open to exchange carcasses. How many people actually did it. How many times have you seen someone struggle with ISPs because their internet is not working because an ethernet cable is broken and they could've just bought one and exchange it.

            Case in point is that the average consumer WILL NOT tinker with anything. I understand there are power users, I understand some people are encouraged to learn such things by friends and family, but it's still a huge minority of individuals.

          • EH101

            Consumers won't have to tinker. They will go to their local mall to some weird phone booth and the geek there will swap out the screen for them right then and there. Longest part of the visit will be running the credit card. Or choosing which color for the screen bezel.

          • Fabian Pineda

            So, it's essentially the same as it is today, except using pretty blocks. And every shop/booth will have spares for a phone no one will buy (by no one I mean to enforce the notion that this won't be a popular consumer phone).

            Cool.

          • EH101

            Not really. It takes quite some time to switch screens today at local booths, up to an hour for some devices.

            For Ara, it should be both cheaper and faster. More OEMs will be making each module instead of having phone parts sourced from one or two places. This is a natural form of competition. Sure, you'll still have to pay a decent price for the nicer name-brand parts, but it will come down over time. For example, it used to be computer monitors were all over 200; a few weeks back I got a 24in 1080p monitor for about 120.

            And then when it comes to ease of switching out parts, well, it can't get much easier than sliding a module out and sliding another one it, can it? Having replaced my fair share of screens for my iDevice wielding friends, I can tell you that while it isn't hard, it is time consuming and cumbersome and I will greatly appreciate being able to just swap out screen modules instead.

            Now I'll just need to convince them to come to the dark side!

          • Fabian Pineda

            You don't have to explain any of this to me. I have one of those geek booths you mention and if my one employee took an hour to replace a screen, he'd find his ass on the street in the blink of an eye.

            Also, you're already putting OEMs all cozy on the same basket like they're all going to jump straight in to a business model thought specifically to benefit customers and cut down sales profits.

            Again, Ara is truly a great project but it's not aimed at everyone and it won't be the next big thing, at least not comercially, and money talks. It's one of those things that sounds amazing for the maybe 100 people who will have them, kinda like SteamOS.

          • EH101

            You seem like you're against the idea just for the sake of being against it.

            And no, not all OEMs will jump on this, but you don't need the big guys to make it work. People like EVGA, Asus, MSI and other relatively small vendors used to providing parts separately from a total product will be more than enough to make the ecosystem worthwhile. Combine that will Google, should they decide to promote the hell out of this, and you might just see consumers considering the idea... at least when it comes to devices that come as a complete assembled package. Then it's up to people like you with the booths to provide good enough service that the idea status afloat.

          • Fabian Pineda

            No. I'm not against the idea. Like I said before, I think it's a great idea that has the potential to make a couple thousands people happy, I'll probably be one of those after the 2nd generation. But we have to be realistic here and acknowledge the human, consumer and economical challenges this project posses.

            Great ideas don't just instantly work. Great ideas work when they have the chance to cash in. This project would completely destroy sales profits, so that's the biggest challenge. It also faces the challenge of changing consumer mentality. Easy or not, there is change and where there is change there is resistance to it.

          • Walkop

            I don't really see what level of DIY skill is required to tap a button, slide off your broken display, and slide in a new one.

            It isn't like building a PC; its super straightforward. There'll probably be pre-built kits for beginners, too.

            The main advantage isn't necessarily configrability, but replaceability and upgradability without any serious tech knowledge.

          • Fabian Pineda

            Again, the Ethernet cable case. I wonder how many times I've gone to a client's residence and exchange and Ethernet cable. Which is super straightforward. Pull down a pin, slide off the damaged cable and slide in a new one.

            People just don't do these things. They just don't. It can be the easiest method possible and people will still not do it themselves.

        • Nightfall

          How many people fix their desktops when parts fail. Most just buy new desktops.

      • Justin Foster

        We'll just see about that =)

    • WORPspeed

      Nexus Parts?

      Google releases the latest parts of the nexus ara phone (somehow I feel like we are forgetting a phone) The new Nexus Ara Screen has a new RGB set-up that allows it to present a factor 4 more colors and that for only 25 dollars!

      Oeeehhh now I remember....I forgot about the Tango.....The Tango will probably become either a part that can be plugged into the ARA or they will remove the phone part of it and make it a separate product.

      *3 years later*

      Welcome to Google I/O 2017!~
      The year we will finally reveal the Motorola Google Nexus Ara Tango X +3!
      :P

  • chris125

    If this helps get on more carriers and faster updates I'm all for it. People are going to be upset because they think there won't be dirt cheap phone, but I think that is where moto is going to come in

    • ThomasMoneyhon

      But it wont. Do we think silver devices sold to work on Verizon will get direct day 1 updates from google? never. They will have to put them through their ridiculous long certification process.
      Also do you want to spend your hard earned money on a phone that wont be bootloader unlockable (need not worry if you are on sprint or T-Mobile).

      • chris125

        I don't root and ROM so unlockable boot loader doesn't bother me. Plus how do you know Google hasn't already discussed this with verizon?

        • grumpyfuzz

          Tons of people who own a nexus root and rom.

          • chris125

            "Tons" as in a tiny amount. The root community is tiny compared to all android devices sold. Same with those who care or even know what a bootloader is

          • grumpyfuzz

            I'm talking about people who own a nexus... Not every device

          • chris125

            Which is an even smaller number. And the nexus on Verizon was easy to unlock the bootloader, so yeah..

          • grumpyfuzz

            Yes it is a smaller number, but in my original post I said "tons of people who own a nexus root." It's a small number but that's beside the point.

          • chris125

            Yes but I still proved your "Verizon wouldn't allow for an unlockable bootloader" since they clearly did with the galaxy nexus, which was easy to root and unlock, just like the other nexus devices on other carriers.

          • grumpyfuzz

            I never said Verizon wouldn't allow it, that was @ThomasMoneyhon:disqus.

  • worldclassflame

    The advantage of
    Silver versus a single Nexus program is that now we have a choice over hardware considering that software will be nexus like, I think it's a good thing, we now get to choose in a way what kind of nexus we want rather than just one option we would get 5 , I like it

    • Franco Rossel

      Yeah, but Nexus 5 is $350. OEMs flagships aren't that wallet friendly, and if they were to replace the Nexus program, believe me, they won't lower their prices.

      • worldclassflame

        True that, maybe Google can have some say in that too ?

        • Franco Rossel

          I hope.

      • John

        What about a mid range Silver device. Not all of them have to be high end. Look at the Moto G Google Play Edition, the GPE devices reflect Silver devices the best.

  • John

    I'm looking forward because the Silver line should include 5 phones, and Google can out a mid range device in there (e.g. Moto X), and it would be running stock just like the N5 w/ awesome hardware, there is a possibility because the Moto G GPE currently exists. If we then want a high end device running stock (which most of us do I guess) then we can just the other silver devices w/ top of the line hardware in all fields (which the Nexus line is lacking) and stock.

  • http://steamcommunity.com/id/metallinatus Metallinatus

    Case closed, Google. We Want Nexus!

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS
  • Alessandro

    No one mentioning source code? Unless android silver means the companies are releasing source too, they will never truly replace the nexus program.

    • ThomasMoneyhon

      Bingo. Google has even had their struggles with chip makers to get the code released for the real nexus devices, but eventually pulls though. This is the spirit.

    • brkshr

      ^This

      This is my biggest gripe with not having a Nexus program.

    • Sean Cummins

      Ooooh. Damn. I want to change my vote.

    • TDN

      Exactly, it has only been recently that OEMs have started releasing their source code, and limited releases at that. Sony and Motorola lead the way with HTC and LG releasing code for a majority of their devices, but that is still nothing compared to the AOSP for a Nexus device.

      • Alessandro Eppacher

        Deleted, responded to wrong thread

    • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

      I can't believe people are so mis-informed. OEMs do release source codes, mainly for the kernels, but they are NOT required to release everything they put on to the phones -- and this is true even to the Nexus devices. Have you seen the Nexus Dialer being open sourced? The Google Experience Launcher? Google Play Services? The Nexus Camera? The fact is, if you replace your Nexus software with just AOSP and nothing else, you probably won't be very happy with your phone. Many stuffs you see in your Nexus now are not open sourced, at all. They are simply not part of AOSP.

      • Fabian Pineda

        Because those are Google Apps that are not open and everyone understands that. The Nexus camera, GEL, GPServices all can be installed through Play Store, hopefully soon the Nexus Dialer will be too.

        But hardware driver sources are very important in the development of future ROMs based on AOSP. Nexus has those, which is why there so many ROMs around. You're mistaking Google Apps, AOSP and source code with actual source code for the actual development of new software elements 100% compatible with the hardware of the phone.

        • grumpyfuzz

          GEL is now GNL :P

      • Alessandro Eppacher

        Actually, the majority of nexus's are open sourced. The Google apps aren't because they are property of Google and not android (not the same thing). The dialer is a Google app which is why it isn't open sourced. Last I checked though the AOSP dialer still exists and still is open source. The point is you can very easily build a ROM from source. See if you can do that with a Verizon note 3. It's been out for months and people can hardly develop for it. This is what I meant by releasing source.

      • Franco Rossel

        But they don't release the single most important thing for easy developement: Binaries. And Nexus does.

    • WallBreaker

      Finally someone gets it.

      All these tech news sites and even google + communities exploding with people worried and sad about the Nexus line ending.

      There was not a single ounce of proof that it was ending people just assumed this Android silver would replace it when in fact its really just an addition to offer premium android devices with stock experience at contract prices.

      If anything it's Google's way of exposing more people to the Stock Android experience, and in a way trying to take android back from samsung who currently makes up 60% of android users.

  • SVem26

    I don't see why people have to be upset about this. I think this is a brilliant plan and a natural progression of the idea that is Nexus..

    1.) Google chooses and scrutinizes each device that comes under the Silver program

    2.) They have direct control over the bloatware or the lack thereof on the silver devices, ensuring instant updates and seamless experience

    3.) Better chance to offer post-sale support since they have limited hardware to keep track of. 24/7 Hangout support is in talks (May rival Apple care someday)

    4.) All major players competing with each other to offer state of art hardware to get into the yearly silver program. ( Since its being said Google will only select 5 devices per year)

    5.) Google is also reportedly going to beef up their advertising strategy with about a $1Bn budget. Dedicated Android silver sales & service division at each major carrier store.

    If and when this becomes a reality this will get the people who are as of now on the fence move to Android.. Most probably Apple users..

    • ThomasMoneyhon

      Nope. Locked bootloaders on att and Verizon and no day 1 updates like on a nexus. Carriers would have to certify updates. that does not make it a nexus replacement. That makes it a GPe with even more BS.

      • SVem26

        More like nexus devices sold by carriers.. that's the point of silver..

        • Ryan Morash

          Actually, every Nexus 5 gets its updates straight from Google. The only carrier intervention I've seen so far was Sprint adding tri-band support, and even that got pushed to non Sprint phones as they all have identical internals.

        • hp420

          All Nexus devices come with unlockable bootloaders and carrier unlocked...even the ones sold at carrier stores (except cdma....obviously), plus all updates are Google direct now, as well

    • Fabian Pineda

      What you just described is called GPE. Sans the Customer service, and the carrier mess.

    • bimsebasse

      A Nexus device is, among other things, a piece of hardware designed to fit stock Android - a "silver" Samsung flagship is stock Android on a device designed to fit Touchwiz, e.g. you get a home button you wouldn't see on a nexus device, you possibly also gimmicky sensors and camera hardware not supported in stock Android etc. "Silver" replaces GPE phones, *not* Nexus phones.

    • Nightfall

      But there would be no Google designed phone. I love the design of the Nexus series. I think Google is much better at design than all the OEMs.

  • Faris Fitri

    Nexus devices have always provided easily unlocked bootloaders, kernel source,documentations,binaries,factory images. Would Silver devices provide the same? That,in my opinion is something very important. I for one would not buy devices that have things like Samsung's eFuse that voids warranties when rooted.

    • ThomasMoneyhon

      DING DING DING. Winner!!!!

  • dhruva

    no nexus will be replaced by ara

  • ThomasMoneyhon

    Carriers would never allow unlocked bootloaders (att and Verizon) Carriers would also NEVER allow direct updates from google (like a nexus, apple) If I cant have those then google needs to keep the nexus program. Simple as that.

    • Josh Phillips

      Carriers allow direct updates from apple though... So it appears they will allow it.

      • A2theC

        They are desperate to keep Apple, and the big A in the room will not put up with their tinkering, which is the only thing I can agree with them.

        • archercc

          The trick is since Apple is their own OEM everything was tested and certified ahead of time. Its not like Apple just springs the update on Verizon the moment they announce it to the world. They have been certifying it behind the scenes.

          Unfortunately Google cant really do that with all OEMs and carriers ahead of time.

          • ThomasMoneyhon

            If you knew anything about the Verizon certification process for phone updates you would know that updates go into a queue and get tested on hardware first come first serve. if they get rejected they go back to the back of the line. That's what screwed over the Verizon nexus and its clear apple doesn't play by those rules. Your information is not correct. Google would never be allowed this leisure because google doesn't have device sales for several years on att to push the point to vzw like apple did. Google has nothing to bring to the table.

          • archercc

            No, my information is coroberatted by past articles explaining why Apple can push out an update so fast. They use a different process to Google. Sure there might be differences in how Verizon does their certification to others and Apple might get a fast track but the crux is the same.

      • Grahaman27

        Nexus updates come direct from Google.

        • ThomasMoneyhon

          but the Verizon galaxy nexus never got them day 1. Google eventually gave up on that phone because of the stupid hoops they had to go through each time.

          • grumpyfuzz

            Google has worked it out with sprint, because the Sprint Nexus 5 (which is the same one from google play) gets updated when google updates it.

          • archercc

            Its because Sprint needs pretty much any phone and subscriber it can get at this point.

          • MJ

            Yes, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus phone was a disappoint which I owned but... That was there models ago and the Nexus 4 and 5 get direct downloads from Google.

      • ThomasMoneyhon

        APPEARS. It appeared when Microsoft started windows phone they would have a better upgrade path. Also don't kid yourself, Verizon will certify all updates. They will NEVER allow day 1 updates like apple.

        • hp420

          They did for most gn updates. after the bullshit they pulled google changed it.

    • hp420

      All 4 major US carriers have allowed nexus devices to be sold at their stores as unlocked devices with unlockable bootloaders. Also, every single Nexus update comes directly from Google now, and has for a few years.

      • MJ

        Ummmm Nexus phones haven't worked on Verizon (personally I don't care) since the Galaxy Nexus which was 3 models ago and it never got direct updates from Google.

      • h4rr4r

        With no or delayed updates you mean.
        VZW Galaxy Nexus was barely a nexus.

  • Captain Spaulding
    • A2theC

      Yes?

  • Nasko Hristov

    I will speak as a Bulgarian (point of mentioning is to give clue), I have owned and I'm currently owning nexus, nexus 5. I really like the price(although is way too high in comparison where Google Play Devices are available). Now the name Silver reminds of expense. I really hope Google doesn't kill the Nexus program, because only developed countries will be affected? Me, I will loose the Googlish phone, so my vote is create what the hell metal or crystal you want, just leave my damn NEXUS PROGRAM ALIVE.

  • Fabian Pineda

    I still think Silver is going to replace GPE, not Nexus. GPE was about showing that OEMs are perfectly capable of delivering timely updates on popular and select premium devices, premium being anything above $500, but some of the functions on GPEs are lost in the vanilla Android, so it would make total sense if Google ditches GPE in favor of a program that favors the GPE-like experience along with features that helps OEMs stand from each other.

    This is also clearly a move specially intended to disrupt the abusive carrier market in the US. So if Google has been clearly expanding the Nexus line in more and more countries, it makes no sense to kill it off and start anew in the US/Japan.

    • http://wave-france.blogspot.com Supercopter

      Couldn't agree more. If Android Silver is like GPE, but still allows a manufacturer like HTC to keep its IR blaster, Beats audio and Duo camera apps alive, then we get the best of both worlds: Android as Google intended it to be + manufacturers innovations.

      • archercc

        Maybe it will help kill off skins too...

      • WallBreaker

        the Google Play Edition M8 retained all its Sense 6 features (except blinkfeed) even the HTC Camera app is on there.

        • Fabian Pineda

          That's true and it is indeed awesome. All the more reason to believe the GPE could morph into Silver.

    • Matthias Genericname

      So like what the Moto X is doing now?

      • Fabian Pineda

        Except the X lacks the whole Customer experience and aftersale and stuff. But yeah, something like that.

        I guess Google could've gotten the idea from Moto or the other way around.

    • WallBreaker

      Too bad all the tech news sites and people in the comment sections don't have the same amount of common sense you do.

      Its kind of scary how easily people take things as facts now days, the Authors of the articles didn't help either acting like the nexus line dying was official.

      Also if I might add, most consumers are use to contract pricing and anything more than $200 - $300 is too much because they don't understand the system. Also most consumers don't have a clue what stock android is, so this could be a way for google to spread awareness as well as take back android from Samsung who currently holds 60% of android users.

  • ITGuy11

    Why not Android gold or platinum? Silver sounds cheap.

    • Android Developer

      But it's metal. It should at least feel premium...
      :)

    • Roy Riddex

      I agree, silver implies 2nd place

  • visceralpsyche

    I'm okay with the idea IF they ship with open bootloaders, to allow for the same customisation as the Nexus line currently.

    • TDN

      I disagree with the open bootloader, the devices should ship with an unlockable bootloader. A normal person would brick their device so quick if given as much power as an open bootloader would give. Believe me, I have seen it.

      • visceralpsyche

        Sorry, my wording wasn't clear. Yes, I mean an unlockable bootloader, the way current Nexus phones are.

        Then again, with the current spying fiascos worldwide, perhaps an open bootloader might have some merit, even if it did increase the risk of bricking.

  • RyanB1

    I think both can exist, Google just needs to keep selling their nexus line through the Play store, and keep Silver in the brick and mortar outlets

  • tay

    "that Google will get too many OEMs on-board with this right out of the gate, as most manufacturers have long been resistant to reduce the "skinning" of their devices."

    Is that necessarily a bad thing..? I would definately not like it if stock android started domimating the market..

    • carthis

      Why?

  • WORPspeed

    Nexus needs to stay for the affordable segment, the developer segment (not sure about this one) and for the fact that Nexus sounds WAAAAAYYYYY more cooler than Silver will ever do!

    Now what happens if the Silver program is just an internal name and for the rest of the world they will just call it Nexus program. Somehow that kinda soothes some of my anxiety of missing out of future nexus phones.... :S weird isn't it?

    Anyone else feel the same?

    • NBM

      If Motorola changed it's pricing to about what it is now (say 350-400), I'd be fine with Silver devices by them. Especially if we were assured the newest Android with it.

      Also, a cheaper polycarbonate unibody M8 (rumored M8 Ace) running Google Now Launcher (GPE) would be pretty killer also. Even though I don't like what they're doing with their rear camera/s.

  • NBM

    I think Silver is a way of introducing the public to the Google Android experience we first saw with the Nexus 5. I could see how some devices could replace the Nexus line, while waiting for the Nexus 5 to be released, I pretty much wanted it to be a Moto X the entire time. Other current GPE devices were clearly designed for functions within a skinned OS though.
    If Google got rid of the Nexus program and started rolling out the newest Android through Silver devices, like some sort of Moto X successor, then I could support that... I just hope that the future Moto devices aren't released at $650.

  • https://abrah.am/ Abraham Williams

    "Polls with less than 3 options make me uncomfortable"

    But the poll has 3 options!

    • Simon Belmont

      Yeah it should say less than or equal to. Haha.

      I noticed that, too. Oh well.

      • Michael

        The phrase is explaining why the option is there; if the last option didn't exist there would only be two, so they had to put the last option in to help with that.

  • http://www.lettersfromdave.com daveloft

    Android silver should replace Google Play Editions not Nexus. A Nexus is a collaboration between Google and the hardware OEM. Google chooses the price, they're involved with the design and hardware selection. They create a phone tailor made for the latest version of Android at an unbelievable price.

    • Tom Harman

      This, anything else is unacceptable, Nexus is based of the latest software at a super affordable price, my concern would be what would happen to pricing should Nexus line go away?

      • blumpkinator

        has the nexus line had any tangible impact on phone pricing?

        Last I checked all oem's sell their flagships for $500-700 USD.

        • Tom Harman

          It has not, and that's my concern, if I can get a Nexus 5 for $349, why would I want a GPE for $500-$700, that's why I say the price concerns me, if the Nexus line goes, does that mean there will be a price increase to something higher, or is it going to remain the same pricing.

          • mcnegr0

            GPE is totally worth it. I've played with a nexus 5 and it's nowhere near as well built as the M8.

          • Nightfall

            That's your opinion. I can't stand the M8.

        • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

          Eventually it did. Look at the Moto G, Moto X (eventually) and the One+1 etc. Very slowly it's made inexpensive smartphones available that aren't completely useless BS from three years ago.

          • hp420

            You forgot blu. They may not have the best devices always, but they are always affordable, and always unlocked.

          • blumpkinator

            I'm glad Blu is finally releasing phones using snapdragons. A bunch of their devices used MediaTek SoC.

            MediaTek can die in a fire. GPL violating fuckers!

  • qpinto

    why would google be charging 300-400 more per phone? most phones are 550-650 a piece these days off contract reguardless. the GPE versions cost the same too.

    • NBM

      he's talking about manufacturers charging quite a bit more for a very similar device (compared to a Nexus)

  • hp420

    There's a gigantic glaring catch-22 looming overhead....OEMs love adding their changes so it sets them apart from the competition. If an OEM manufactures a Silver device and a 'skinned' device, but the silver one costs $300 less while most of the hardware is the same, people will start getting the idea that most of the cost of a new device goes into the skin and that's all the manufacturers are charging the extra for...and at that point, that assertion sort of would be correct!

    • blumpkinator

      why would the silver devices be cheaper? The GPE devices cost exactly the same as their non GPE counterparts.

      • hp420

        It's replacing the Nexus line and its intention is to advertise Android's core features. Google should foot the bill and subsidize like they do Nexus devices since the silver line would exist to accomplish the exact same marketing scheme.

        • NBM

          the Nexus line wasn't necessarily subsidized as consumer hardware though.
          It would be easier to just use the money to instead pay for [Android] ads showing the impressive functionality available on all devices. They probably will whenever the program comes out.

      • NBM

        in theory, the Silver devices should be original devices made with Google's Android in mind. Not retrofitted devices.
        An example of the idea would be like the Moto X. That could be a "silver" device because from the get-go the device was made to emphasize Google's services.
        That's why they said it wouldn't make sense for a GPE version to exist.

  • Ahmed Faiz

    Nexus is the soul of android. i am sure google also knows that well.
    silver needs to yet define!

  • http://ignaciozippy.com/ Ignacio Zippy

    This looks like the complete opposite of the Nexus program. Others have already commented on source availability, locked down phones, and expensive prices of course.

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    I ended up voting for it to replace it, begrudgingly, only because I think it's necessary in order for it to happen at all. And I think Android, as a whole, would benefit dramatically from this Silver program. Getting a variety of top-end hardware with stock Android in the hands of average people, making them carrier-financable, would go a long way toward improving the overall ecosystem and help us all out in the process. And while losing the Nexus pricing would suck, gaining access to T-Mobile's payment plans would at least help soften that blow for me, and I feel like some of the new competition from companies like OnePlus and the Ara initiative may do some damage to the current pricing model anyway.

  • Simon Belmont

    Google needs reference devices to program Android for doesn't it? That's a big part of what the Nexus program started out as.

    It's just in the last couple years it started to become about well spec'd devices at cut rate prices. I'd hate to see the Nexus line go, but if the OEMs on the Silver program can keep the prices down and offer good hardware, I'd probably be okay with it, if NOT, then both Nexus and Silver should coexist.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      A reference device doesn't need to be sold to consumers, though. It doesn't need to be something you can user every day. Qualcomm sells reference phones and tablets that are nowhere near consumer-ready, but they're still built for development.

      I agree that Nexus has been much more consumer-facing of late, but killing the Nexus brand doesn't necessarily mean the death of any and all Android development reference devices.

      • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

        Before Nexus was a thing, Google had 3 carrier reference devices. The G1 (introduced Android) Motorola Droid (Eclair) and the Motorola Xoom (Honeycomb) I guess they can go back to that.

  • Eric Jones

    There's too much unknown to answer this properly. Is it still open source? Is it going to be unlockable? Is the cost as competitive as Nexus has come to be? If not, then it's a not a good replacement for the Nexus program.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      1.) Probably not.
      2.) Probably not.
      3.) Probably not.

      At least, that's my guess.

  • Sam Del Valle

    Google please don't have the Nexus die off.

  • godutch

    I don't think we can answer the question, it all depends on whether Google sells nexus devices at a profit on one hand or, on the other hand, at production cost or even subsidizes them. If the former is the case than Silver could be very beneficial for android users if the latter is the case we would miss out of some google giveaways..

    btw, what about android gold, platinum and diamond?

  • Android Developer

    They can do something in between:
    Pure Android, but let users choose if they wish to install the manufacturer's apps.
    Google might have a compromize of putting a nice ad on the very beginning of running the OS (for the first time), that will show which apps the manufacturer has to offer for the device.

    Also, let the manufacturers apps only be available for their devices, just to be fair, or make it for free for them, and paid for others.

  • taxtropel

    Brushed Metal is SO 1995

    • David Sousa

      20 years is vintage in the tech industry!

  • EH101

    There doesn't need to be a Nexus line or Android Silver. Project Ara all the way!

  • Vijay Yalamanchili

    I would prefer 200$ pure android experience (with carrier contract) with multiple options to a single 400$ nexus device with slightly compromised specs to make it affordable.

  • Michal Fligl

    The problem is.. What should I as resident of country where Google isn't selling GPE devices do? How am I supposed to buy pure android device if I can't ? Nexus devices are being sold at least by other shops...

  • steelew

    I like the idea of the nexus line but the absence of an sd card pushes me away. Even with 64gb of internal storage I would rather have a 32gb internal and 64-128gb sd.

  • DiamondAvatar

    OEMs are already making good looking devices for a higher price. Google should stick to the budget priced Nexus line to make good devices more accessible to developers.

  • Trysta

    I voted "no". I think that the android silver program is a good idea but I don't think it should replace the Nexus program. Here is why:

    1) Having a way to buy devices directly from Google is great and a wonderful example to set for other OEMs. It used to be that you simply could not buy a phone outside of a carrier (at least in the US) and this sucked and put way too much control in the hands of the carriers. Now HTC, Sony, Motorola etc. all have some way for consumers to directly purchase a phone from them. And I think the Google Play Store helped that happen. I don't ever want to have to buy a locked carrier phone again.

    2) Google designs the Nexus hardware. I like their designs. While not always perfect they are sleek and show design restraint when certain OEMs just want to create giant phones with their branding pasted everywhere. With nexus phones I have a consistent experience of a non-phablet phone with on screen buttons, very clean front with NO branding, and an LED notification light always at the bottom. It is nice to have that kind of hardware consistency which will be gone with the silver program.

    3) No offense to Google but they aren't exactly the best at sticking with new ideas. This Android silver program seems like exactly the kind of program that Google might try for a year or so and then if it isn't as successful as expected, or they run into hurdles like the OEMs and/or carriers not playing along (who could ever imagine that happening?!) they will just scrap the program. I give this silver program a 50/50 shot of ever getting off the ground. So it really doesn't make sense to kill off established, working and generally much improved programs like the Nexus program while they experiment with Android silver. IF Android silver proves successful then I could see somewhere down the line Google saying "ok we no longer need Nexus".

    TL;DR - 1) carriers suck, 2) Nexus hardware provides consistency 3) 50% chance at least that Google pulls the plug on android silver in a year.

    • Ron

      THIS!

    • hp420

      Nexus S has no notification led. It took rooting and a kernel tweak to make the capacitive buttons to flash as a notification in its absence.

      • MJ

        Thanks for the ancient history lesson (OMG the Nexus phones have changed over the years?) but this post is obviously referring to the last 2 or 3 Nexus phones. Why do you keep posting irrelevant and wrong info on this thread? Trolling?

  • B

    Welp, if this means that I'll have to start shelling out 600€+ instead of just 300€ in order to get a phone with guarantees of having timely system updates during a reasonable time, good developer support, no-fuss unlockable bootloader and no bloat at all, they'll have to pry my Nexus 4 out of my dead cold hands.

    Yep, I think this is a horrible idea. OEMs are not going to sell "top of the line" devices at Nexus 4/5 price and compromises in the basic pillars of the Nexus program are unavoidable.

  • saltyzip

    We don't know what Android Silver is yet, too early to make an opinion.

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      "I'm not sure / polls with less than 3 options make me uncomfortable." I'm guessing that's where your vote went then?

      • saltyzip

        You are correct

  • jeff

    prices! if silver can have the same bargain prices as the nexus, than it make sense. if not, stick with the nexus.

  • AOSPrevails

    I prefer google keep Nexus going and have Android Silver replace just GPe devices. One of the main appeal of Nexus beside AOSP is its low unlocked price and if we lose that it would be a shame.

  • Egnimatic_Foolishness

    I don't mind the Nexus program going away. It essentially has done it's job at this point. It helped OEM's start making high end devices, and between TouchWiz/Sense toning down the madness and with advent of gpe devices, Nexus program has definitely had an impact.

    I think most people are concerned with not getting cheap phones any longer (while I love my cheap Nexus, I admit it's not a viable business to continually sell products at near cost.)

    Only thing I'm concerned about is rooting and unlocked status for the phones.

  • Stanley Chan

    The Nexus is a nice name and brand. If google kill the Nexus line it will be stupidity.

    No one cares about GPE phones. But Nexus devices have an appeal that google will never acquire again...

  • Andrew

    As a developer I feel the nexus line is necessary. Although they are not perfect and bug free it's they are great devices to write for where you know it's vanilla Android without modification. I'd prefer to have one device at each size to buy and know they are reference devices for confirming things work as opposed to 5 all with different issues as I'm guessing would be the case.

  • Bruno

    HTC in Silver program? is that a joke? They can't even make one good phone. HTC is almost closed...

  • Nick Cannon

    It would be nice if every phone ran the same OS without carrier customizations so when there's an OS update we can all get it

  • ScratchC

    Now that we're getting this android thing right can we get a successor to the G1?...I mean with top of the line specs...A flagship device with all the works and a keyboard.... I miss having a keyboard on my phone

  • A2theC

    This how it should have been to begin with!

  • Spasillium

    **Reads this article while compiling a build of 4.4.2 KVT49L** No. The Nexus program is THE best thing to ever happen with Android. Ever since I got my hands on the N4, it's given me motivation of learning about Android's source code and making personal tweaked builds for it. Please don't let the line die :(

  • Chris P

    As long as Android Silver devices ship outside of the US, and have similar developer support, my vote is yes. Also, if Samsung release a Silver phone with onscreen buttons, or even a back button on the left, I'll eat my hat*

  • Dan, From The Internet

    The Nexus program is also great because they're inexpensive in comparison to other unlocked GSM phones of its pedigree. Android Silver devices would likely cost as much as most other phones. The near 50% markdown to comparable phones made the Nexus 5 attractive to me.

  • ThreeFourSeven

    I still don't think having the nexus program hurt but since this is going through the tradition channels. It won't take long for updates to hit a large number of devices.

  • Davis Hernandez

    well, android silver sounds cool and all but given the fact that project ara is coming, im sure there will be a ton of memory/gpu pieces running a vanilla version of android which will be a "universal version" meaning it will be compatible with all the pieces and not restricted to an especific carrier/brand rom, if so, i cant see me returning to a nexus device

  • Henrique Persechini

    If the Silver program will replace the nexus line is not relevant, what is relevant is if it will offer the features people look for in nexus devices, including, but not limited to:

    - great bang for the buck, a nice set of specs for the equivalent price of an on contract device
    - "pure" (for the lack of a better word) android experience
    - as others mentioned, standardized experience at a software and hardware standpoints. And a guaranteed good experience; touchwiz sucks and while moto x and g are great, lets not forget motoblur
    - developers, developers, developers i.e. unlockable bootloader, available binaries and aosp. While I am no developer, I've followed the life cycle of cm ports for my old moto defy with locked bootloader, and it sucked to see the developers potential (and along with it my user experience) hindered

    - let's not forget tablets! the android tablet market is a great big mess (not that the phone's isn't), I wouldn't know what to buy if there wasn't a nexus 7 available, probably would never have chosen one.

    While I recognize most of these are not relevant for most consumers, they are for us, and we should voice our concerns

  • Henrique Persechini

    "even supplying temporary replacement phones"

    Not Google's fault, but this will make it never reach our carriers and retailers for sure here in Brasil

    • http://twitter.com/qngml KONG!

      THIS! 😂

  • JT3

    While Google may stop calling their reference device "Nexus," there's no reason they can't put a similar device into the Silver line. The whole point of the Nexus line is so that Developers can have a known, single set of hardware and software to develop with. It's much easier to get your app working on the reference device, and figure out the differences other devices need. That won't change, and surely Google understands that. I have a feeling that "Silver" will simply be a rebranding that will encompass both the current Nexus and GPE lines, not eliminate one. Besides, I have a feeling that the 2015 "Nexus" devices would have been Ara devices anyway.

  • Nicolas Johnson

    A big part of the allure for me in the nexus line is the fact the device is so inexpensive off-contract, while also being of such high quality; not to mention the glorious dev community surrounding it. Are these devices going to come with unlocked bootloaders? Will they also be so reasonably priced? I suppose i realize google doesn't have a much to gain from being in the hardware manufacturing business, but it saddens me to see them leave, as I felt they were the only ones not incentivized to stick it to their customers.

  • http://google.com/+JoeCole_social Joey Graziano

    I adore my nexus devices. However, the Silver program would give me access to 5 different types of Nexus phones. Although the name is different, any vanilla android phone is just a Nexus device in the soul. I think the Silver program would give us more top tear, mid tear, and entry level nexus phones. That is a good thing.

  • Atique Ahmed

    It's too early to tell.

  • TDN

    If Google is shuttering the Nexus program, then the Nexus 6, or what ever it ends up being called, will be my last device. As soon as I got my Nexus 4 I knew I would never get a locked device again, and it inspired me to become a developer. Not excited for Silver program currently.

  • Martin Nilsson

    I have felt, since before the Play Edition phones, that Google kind of needs to play to both crowds. Those crowds being, people and devs/nerds. The Nexus-line could be taken to the next step, with beta-access to Android-versions. Phones could be made less attractive looking in order to lower costs. These phones would pretty much run "vanilla" Android (haven't heard that in a while now) with perhaps a little Google magic on top.

    For the general public we then get the Play Edition versions, or a version of it. These are phones running Googles software. So heavy on the Play ecosystem and with modifications to further Googles services like Google Now. Could still be just as open as the Nexus are now and ensure timely upgrades to new versions of Android.

    • hp420

      So devs and nerds aren't people?

      • Martin Nilsson

        I probably should have written "people in general". Point being that I think Nexus should be directed more towards app/hardware development and Silver/Play Edition to consumers.

  • Yuval Rozin

    You should add a "Depends on the price tag" option.

  • Artyte

    IT'S ALL ABOUT THE AVERAGE CONSUMERS. Seriously, if this program is to ever succeed, it would never be for the technicals. We rooters and modders just want something that the general public could care less for, like unlockable bootloaders and no knox.

  • TonGi018

    I think a silver lineup is a step in the right direction, but since Google play editions are not available outside the US, I would not be able to get one here in Europe (it's already tricky to get a Nexus device here if google play doesn't sell them in your country eventhough europe has open borders to facilitate trade between neighbouring countries).

  • Marcell Lévai

    IF they provided the same resources for developers, I'd love to see this happen. Broader availability, and stuff.

  • Ken Hoban

    I like this idea but getting OEMS on the bandwagon could prove difficult and even customer service isn't always googles strong suit...

  • Merags

    Only if Android silver devices are as widely available as Nexus. Meaning I can get one from Canada, unlike the GPE devices...

  • Justin

    Who cares if the OEMs are offended that the Nexus line is affordable? It isn't the consumer's fault all other devices are overpriced.

  • androidlover

    I was just going to buy the nexus 5 until I saw this:( Should I still buy it?

    • AfrodanJ

      You could buy a Nexus 5 AND 6 for the price of most of the alternatives so why not. N5 is a great phone

  • Fellwalker

    Not if they refuse to allow SD card storage for things like music and files. We don't all live in connected Google heaven.

  • GraveUypo

    i don't care about the nexus program for a couple of reasons.
    one being that it doesn't get subsidized where i live, so it's just as expensive as the rest.
    second is i don't like nexus devices. i don't like how they don't have removable batteries or sd cards and still don't offer decent internal storage, i don't like their cameras, i don't like being a beta tester for buggy cutting-edge software (remember the nexus 7 trim problem? yep, that kinda thing).

  • hp420

    Did anyone stop to think maybe it's called Silver for a reason? Gold is more valuable, and we give a medal made from it for first place. Silver is similar, but second place. Google's flagship device has always been in the Nexus family....it's their #1 device....gold. These devices intended for the silver line aren't a Google flagship, but Google feels they deserve 'special mention'....the second place, in Google's eyes....silver.

    • MelchiahX

      Let's hope you're right.

      I really love Google's Nexus brand and it would be a damn shame to get rid of it now that it's finally gathering public awareness (Nexus 5 and 7 are doing very well in terms of sales... Not Galaxy S series good but really good nonetheless) and the tech junkies alike. A lot of talk has been focused on Android Silver's software (stock or near stock) but what I love most about the Nexus line is it's aesthetics. I really love the minimal look of Nexus devices. Not to mention the name NEXUS. It oozes awesomeness lol (yes I'm a nerd 😁).

  • deltatux

    The main reasons why the Nexus program is successful because of the AOSP build of Android, unlockable bootloader, sold unlocked and most importantly, it's priced at affordable levels.

  • Dakota

    Don't care what it's called as long as price remains under 400. But Silver makes it sound like it's second place, a runner up

  • jer85008

    If they drop the Nexus program the N5 may be the last Android phone I purchase. I'm not interested in a Silver edition Galaxy S5 for $600.

  • Nathan J

    As an American, I don't see the point. Google doesn't like Verizon after the Galaxy Nexus fiasco, and hasn't been interested about getting the Nexus or Google Play Editions on the other national carriers. If you live in a big city and never leave it, you can activate either on T-Mobile, but for the rest of us, who have to get more than a mile from the nearest service station... Well, we're kind of slaves to the carriers, and if the carriers aren't buying Nexus or GPE phones, who's to say they'll buy Silver phones. They have a sweet deal with Apple and Samsung.

    Now, if they could get together and funnel the kind of money Apple is spending on litigating, into changing the carrier system here in America through lobbying or something, or getting GSM towers built a little further from the skyscrapers, maybe they could effect real change here. Until then, all I can think of is, "Yay for everyone else... Business as usual for us."

  • http://notatoad.com notatoad

    I'm assuming that Android Silver and it's supposed tight integration with carriers means it's a US only thing. So for a non-american like me, it's not going to do a very good job of replacing the nexus.

  • http://geeznblogged.wordpress.com sud007

    NOthing is premium in this world!
    NEXUS is better because it gives u naked insight of your OS and ability to access the Raw hardware. Silver is just another money making scheme! Most of the users are NOT POWER users, then why all this skirmish??

    NExus is a simple life, let us live with that! But uh..oh...OHA is just a cover, GOOGLE is the king...!
    and after so many movies on enslaving the world by tech giants, we are still not understanding how a power grabs a world secretly!

  • RSerda

    This is an acceptable concept to standardize the "Google Play Edition" model line.. but the Nexus Program is a WHOLE OTHER BEAST!!! for a WHOLE OTHER PURPOSE!?!?

  • BruinGuy

    Clearly nobody at Google is a sports fan. If they were they'd know that Silver represents second place. It's the first thing I thought of and, I'm sure, the first thing many people will think of when they hear Google Silver.

  • KevinMCo

    I would support Android silver if and only if we got phones with the same or better functionality/price ratios. Having a "line" of devices could open up the door for higher and lower end devices too, but if the ability to get a decent phone for under $400 goes away, I will be very sad.

  • guidomus_maximus

    I see the days of buying a $600 phone for $400 (nexus) being replaced with paying $650 for a special 'silver' version of a $600 phone. It was too good to last!

  • Pea

    Well so what do I do with my Nexus 5 now........... Reason why I chose the Nexus 5 was because it is half the price of the other phones out there and you get pure google for around $440 AUD. Such as touchwiz and Sense which I have used before are like marketing features for selling point. I do not need to be a fitness freak to own a Samsung Galaxy S5 which cost up to $800 AUD. Maybe it is because not much Telcos would opt for the Nexus 5 as contract here because they dont make money to offer the Nexus 5 on contract here in Aus apart form Telso only.

  • mostlydigital

    In the short term the features seem to make the Silver program more of an iPhone competitor. The data transfer, phone location, hand holding, etc. are going to be more attractive to first-time buyers than those who would be looking at a Nexus phone. The vanilla Android will make updates more predictable - also an iPhone feature. Long-term I suspect that ROMs will become less rootable and this will be the route taken by open Android fans. Reinforcing my feelings is CM's move to alternate channels with OnePlus, etc.

  • Keg Man

    not enough information to make a decision yet