We've been hearing about Android Silver, a leaked program between Google and manufacturers to promote quality, standardized Android hardware, for about six weeks now. Today Evleaks, whose consistent pre-release info is almost always spot-on, weighed in on the subject. According to Evan 'Evleaks' Blass, the Silver program is currently scheduled to go into effect in February of next year. Oh, and there won't be a Nexus 6.
There is no Nexus 6. Farewell, Nexus. Don't worry, there's a silver lining to this cloud... Android Silver, circa February 2015.
Previous rumors surrounding Android Silver said that it would completely replace the Nexus phone and tablet program, so the idea of no new Nexus phones is not all that surprising. Android Silver would incorporate several ideal devices from different manufacturers under one marketing push (not unlike Verizon's DROID line, which has included Motorola, Samsung, and HTC phones). These phones, probably high-end devices, would either be selected by Google or made especially for Android Silver. They would run stock or nearly stock Android with minimal software additions and get prompt Android updates, and Google would promote the Silver phones at carrier stores and retailers with its own marketing money.
It is a bit surprising that the Silver program would supersede a new Nexus phone; they've come in roughly yearly intervals all the way back to the Nexus One in January of 2010. A sixth Nexus phone was expected in the late fall or early winter of this year. Pushing the release of a new standardized Android phone, Nexus, Google Play Edition, or Silver as it may be, would leave an almost 1.5-year gap between the Nexus 5 and whatever's next in line.
The amount of leaks seen so far indicate that the Android Silver program is very real, and that it's in the intermediate stages of development. Fans of Nexus devices would surely be disheartened to see the multi-manufacturer series go, but making devices with guaranteed retailer promotional support from Google would be a big boon to manufacturers. It's important to note that while Nexus phones and tablets get a lot of ink in the technology press, they represent a very small portion of Android devices sold, even in the United States.
It's still a long time until February, so even if Evleaks' information is correct as of now (and it usually is), there's a lot that could change in the interim.
Update: Since we published the original story, Evleaks has posted a follow-up tweet, explaining that an LG device packing a Qualcomm MSM8994 chip will be "among the first Silver devices." The handset, according to the tweet, will replace the Nexus 6 and is "expected on Sprint in the US."
LG handset, running a Qualcomm MSM8994, to be among first Silver devices. Successor to the Nexus 6 initiative, expected on Sprint in the US.
— @evleaks (@evleaks) May 17, 2014