60

Goodbye Nexus: Android Silver tipped to replace Google’s inexpensive smartphone initiative

rednexus5handson-10

Android is going premium, and Google, the company that unleashed the open-source software onto the world, is behind it.

Android Silver is both a new software standard and certification process that will reportedly replace the Nexus program, according to The Information. Google is set to partner with several OEMs, including Motorola and LG, on devices that would present a more unified idea of Android hardware and software, similar to the way Apple and BlackBerry design both sides of the experience.

While the program will resemble Nexus in that it will offer speedy updates and direct support, it will differ by expanding the idea of “stock” Android. Google has been experimenting with adding unique features to its Nexus devices, such as Photo Sphere and, most recently, the Google Now launcher, that are unavailable even to those running AOSP-based ROMs, and Android Silver will heavily expand upon those principles.

Like devices from Samsung, HTC, Sony and others, handsets adhering to Android Silver certification will have unique features and capabilities that Google will keep closed off to other OEMs and custom ROM creators. The Android Open Source Project will still exist, and will still be the basis for all OEM software, but Silver will essentially create a new version of Android that will appeal to enthusiasts willing to pay more for a premium experience. Devices released under the Silver designation will have limits to how much OEM and carrier bloatware can be pre-installed, and will provide “extras,” similar to what Samsung offers on its high-end Galaxy devices.

The Nexus program may not disappear completely, but it appears likely that Google’s days of offering high-end hardware at mid-range prices may be numbered. Google will reportedly work with OEMs and carriers to promote these Android Silver devices, eating many of the associated marketing and advertising costs on their behalf.

The most impressive aspect of Android Silver is that Google finally appears to understand that users want consistent experiences across devices, and that in order to attract high-profile app and game developers it needs to ensure that hardware and software work well together.

  • Collin dubya

    as long as they keep the sub 400 dollar price point

    • Israel Lai

      “it appears likely that Google’s days of offering high-end hardware at mid-range prices may be numbered.”

    • jamaal rashid

      I doubt u read the article at all

    • It’s Me

      I’d be more concerned about this new curated approach to Android than the price point.

    • jamaal rashid

      Well to be honest looking at googles success in the mobile world I doubt they will fail. They obviously will go to great lengths to keep their os going.

    • It’s Me

      Sure they’ll succeed. But if that means closing more of the OS, is that a good thing?

    • FlamesFan89

      “The Android Open Source Project will still exist, and will still be the basis for all OEM software”

      My take is that this is more of a rebranding, and allowance for price increases, than an overarching curated approach to Android. As it is, any OEM can put out a device with stock Android. Nothing stops them from doing that now, and nothing will stop them from doing that in the future. Google is just going to have the Silver certification, which will have some more bells and whistles, which are only available to Silver certified phones. The reality is that the developer world will get their hands on these features, and make them available for side-loading.

      People get too caught up in version numbers and what phones are running what. So much of the “fragmentation” issue ended long ago with the introduction of Google Play Services, and the downloading of most of the core Google apps to the Play Store, instead of relying on OS upgrades to push out new features. As the number of pre-Ice Cream Sandwich devices continues to dwindle, so does any sort of compatibility issues for apps and features. Sure, there are some new features added with each new version, but OS upgrades are becoming increasingly boring, which is on purpose, and a good thing.

      The point of all this rambling is that yes, Google would like some more control, and would like to have it so that OEMs push out OS upgrades quicker, with less bloat added on top, and they have taken more and more steps to make that a reality, and this is another one in that direction, but it is not nearly the issue that people are making it out to be. I use my phone in the exact same manner now with 4.4.2 as I did when it had 4.2.

      You call it curated, I call it more efficient.

      wow, that post was super rambley. I’m not sure if it makes any sense at all, but I typed it all out, and don’t want to delete it. Oh well. whatever.

    • It’s Me

      That all makes sense. I simply see it as curation for the sake of efficiency and consistency. That is to say, yes OEMs will still have access to stock android, but silver will be a google released version to which they do not have access to. Little cuts to the OSS philosophy.

    • gommer strike

      I highly doubt it. There was a breakdown of price done for the Samsung S5, and out of that $700 price tag, ~$100 – 120 went to sales and marketing.

      So when Google eats the marketing costs…that’s still $500+ outright…

    • It’s Me

      I’d love to see that breakdown. I cannot imagine that Samsung spends north of $100 on sales/marketing costs for each and every S5 they sell…They out spend everyone on marketing, but that seems way beyond reason.

    • thepeddle

      That must be new math in the break down…40 million S4′s x 100$..that’s 4 Billion in advertising…….NOPE

    • It’s Me

      Their total advertising and marketing spend for 2013 was around $14 billion, so they do indeed spend obscene amounts on this, more than any other competitor and more than many/most of them combined. But I cannot imagine anywhere close to $100/phone. That $14 billion is across all of their electronics lines, so TVs, monitors, feature phones/lowend smart phones (which are their biggest volume sellers by far), flag ship smartphones, etc, etc, etc.

      There’s just no way I can see them spending so much to flog just the S5. No way.

  • Sukdis Knaatz

    “Google’s days of offering high-end hardware at mid-range prices may be numbered”

    There were rumors floating around for a while, so this comes as no surprise. As a Nexus owner, I am obviously saddened. However, more and more affordable devices are appearing on the market, with OnePlus being the latest, so even if Nexus does disappear, or becomes much more expensive, there will still be options in the future for those who stay off contract and do not want to waste $700+ on a phone.

    • Harold Mitchell

      You should be concerned with the level of hardware support that a new OEM such as OnePlus will offer. Will OnePlus even be around in 8 months? They have contracted out the manufacturing to Oppo and I’m sure Oppo won’t honour any OnePlus warranty. They will also offload any software support to Cyanogen.
      I’m all for affordable devices but am also very wary of relying for same on basically a startup.

    • gommer strike

      weeeeeell I’m sure OnePlus will have some warranty…they don’t cheat consumers like that…

      but you will need to send the phone to China to fix it…that’s the only thing :/

    • TP

      How do you know they don’t cheat?

    • gommer strike

      Let’s just get this out of the way.

      There’s the “don’t trust anyone or anything, unless proven”, and then there’s the “Have faith, unless proven otherwise”.

      Having said that – if you were OPPO – why would you, a relatively new brand, who’s trying to make inroads into international markets(plus a brand that really no one’s heard of) – intentionally cheat your users?

      Trusted known brands vs new kid on the block. There is absolutely no doubt that if you encounter an issue with your iPhone, that you can go straight to the Apple store. OK fine you got me there. As for OPPO, untried, untested, and therefore possibly untrue – my attitude is…let’s give them a chance.

    • TP

      Well it is one of the key factors in my decision to spend my money on something. That’s why I asked.

    • Bri Bru

      I’m sure they’re not some ebay seller from china

    • TP

      Well I am sure about that too, was just wondering as gommer strike sounded like he was 100% sure about that and I wanted to be shared any detail.

    • cartfan88

      Saw a lot of “Oneplus?… Looks ok but will wait until the N6″ comments… perhaps this will cause many to rethink that hesitation.

    • ITCanWork

      How are the components on One Plus One.. Did they skimp on them? Can we expect memory and flash errors because of cheap components? People are buying into the hype, if u can afford 300$ to test it out, but we’ve been down this path before.. Just be a little sceptical, that’s all. It sounds way too good to be true. Can’t wait to see what one plus one problems will pop up in support forums

    • Anaron

      FYI, OnePlus is the company. The device is called “One”.

  • alphs22

    Hopefully the good thing that comes out of this is that updates will reach end users faster in the future. However it’s very disappointing if the Nexus line is being discontinued.

  • Aaron

    Have been holding out for a N4 style firesale on the N5. Might not happen if its end of the Nexus line collectors item lol

    • Anaron

      Even if that were to happen, it’d be towards the end of the summer. There’s still plenty of time to enjoy using a Nexus 5. By the time you get it, it’ll be outdated. Why not get it now for $349/$399? I’ve had mine since December and I’ve been very happy with it.

    • Aaron

      It may be outdated by then to some, but I’m using my old Gnex still now thats outdated lol even tweaked custom rom and xposed stuff Its torture but priorities lol :/

      Waiting a few weeks for OPO to show availability cards before I pull the trigger on anything. I agree the N5 is worth it but same price as 8 months ago…. Knowing my luck week after I start using it price drop will hit lol

    • Anaron

      Whenever I use the word “outdated”, I mean it in a non-negative way. I’d happily buy something that’s outdated if the price is right. Sometimes, you don’t need the latest device to be happy with your purchase. The Nexus 5 is a great device and if it goes on sale, then I hope many people buy it.

      If it’s anything like the Nexus 4, then price drops will happen in the months leading up to September-November. It’ll be a huge upgrade for the Galaxy Nexus, especially in terms of battery life.

    • Aaron

      Normally I would just buy the N5, I own 4 Nexus devices lol keep collecting. The main reason I was on the fence last fall was camera (and saving money) on the last 2 Nexus phones camera was the compromise over competing options. I always figure waiting will get me better or cheaper, if I grab a N5 now I get neither just lost 6 – 8 months use, so try to hold out a bit more :D

      Was tempted buy an unlocked Z1 mini on sale the other day for the camera but 16GB and even if mild, OEM skin and bloat soured the deal. Nice phone though, was marked down enough and with free shipping it was only $50 – $60 more than a 32GB N5 after taxes and shipping. Looking at pictures people are taking with OnePlusOne look promising. Lens itself trumps N5 just comes down to Optical Image Stabilisation vs Software Image Stabilisation. Damn big phone though but for 64GB and cost to performance I’d live with it lol Thats if OP can even execute the launch and have supply not to mention how the silly invite system works. Like Gmail rollout with hardware :P

      Been trying to read up on N5 camera after new google camera app software update but its like a needle in a haystack among all the complaining about its camera from last fall lol

      Have you noticed a step in the right direction for N5 camera performance since the update. I have always hoped they could software fix it cause its decent camera hardware for smartphone and the OIS is nice.

    • Anaron

      As someone who has owned Nexus devices in the past, you’ve been spoiled by vanilla Android. I like the HTC One M8 but I’m not a fan of Sense. It takes HTC awhile to release an update and I prefer the look of Android without any manufacturer customization.

      I’m happy with the performance of the Nexus 5′s camera. I haven’t had any issues with it so far. The latest update seems to have improved the automatic white balance. It did, however, remove manual white balance settings. That bothered me a little bit because I prefer to change that setting myself but it works fine the way it is now. Hardware-based OIS is nice but it only benefits low light shots. And I rarely take low light shots. That’s why I’m not too bothered by the lack of that feature in the OnePlus One.

    • Aaron

      I hope this Silver program can make more people feel “spoiled” with cleaner less bloated devices (or a Nexus like experience on more hardware) across the board :)

      Thank-You for the camera feedback, sounds hopeful. I would be very happy with an N5 :) Its just personal regret gut feeling of if I was to pay full pop I should have done it at launch :D

    • Anaron

      No problem. I hope so too.

  • milagroful

    Without a Nexus the Oneplus One is gonna dominate

    • Lazardus

      It’s gotta be more widely available if that’s going to happen..

    • TP

      I doubt it.

    • Zee

      Seriously doubt that especially if Motorola is one of the partners. LG has made the last two Nexus phones so they’ve gained traction with Android enthusiasts, if Motorola comes out with a Google-experience like phone i’m sure that would do well also.

    • Bri Bru

      And likely they won’t release their next devices at such price range because there is no competition

    • southerndinner

      lol no it isn’t. It’ll still be a niche phone for the nerdiest of nerds in their parents’ basements.

  • TP

    According to Android Police, this program is set to launch ‘as soon as next year’, so we may still see the next Nexus phone in 2014.

    • Bri Bru

      Hopefully they’ll release the 8 inch tablet with a nexus logo

  • Bri Bru

    One of the saddest news in mobile industry. I’m sorry if I took you for granted Nexus.. please come back?

  • JN

    Depressing! The Nexus line helps me afford a nice phone off-contract. My Nexus 4 is still speedy to this day. RIP Nexus line.

    • ChrisPollard77

      I haven’t even put a Nexus 5 in the cart and thought about hitting the checkout button because my N4 is still as awesome as it was over a year ago. But there will surely come a day when it won’t be well supported by the ROM community … when the latest version of Android won’t be compatible. That will be a sad day.

  • Guest

    They’re trying to unify and create a more consistent future for Android. I hope the prices stay the same as the Nexus line, but I for one am glad that Google is attempting this. These devices will still have the latest version of Android, ahead of everything else, and still get first priority for those updates. Plus, I highly doubt that whatever Google’s “extras” are they won’t be as gimmicky, half-broken, or unnecessary as those found in other OEM versions. I don’t see what the big deal is, as change is imminent in any industry, especially one as dynamic as wireless and mobile. If you’re unhappy with this then don’t buy it, be grateful for what you have and enjoy it. Remember, it’s still just a phone. /rant.

    • grafikaI

      Think more along the lines of last years Google Edition… $699USD. Truly sad news.

  • HeyYoWL

    Well I guess this answers the question of “I wonder what they’ll name the newer Nexus phones after 6?”.

    • MR

      Why would the number increase at all? Recent Nexus devices are numbered after their screen size. The name only went from 4 to 5 last year because it was a bigger phone. Last year’s Nexus 7 stayed the same size and kept the same name. Unless Google is going to make the Nexus phone 6″, their naming convention would suggest that it’ll still be called the Nexus 5.

  • Ken K.

    I am all in.

  • Neil Friesen

    Maybe this means Google wants to shift their focus more on making project Ara happen on the hardware end.

  • kirilmatt

    This is awful. I was going to buy a nexus 6 for my next phone, as I am unwilling to pay $600+ for a phone. I hope they only kill it after their next phone. I love my nexus 4, even though I’ve partially retired it for an HTC 8X. I guess we will see, but this is bad news for everyone.

    • clockwork

      I have a nexus 4, but I’m going one plus for my next phone.

    • kirilmatt

      I might, if I get an invite. Theres still reason to be concerned about brand name/ support for the phone and that’s certainly something to consider.

  • BeforeOld

    Ahahaha they’re trying to be more like Apple. Face it, Android users. Apple is doing everything right and Android as a whole, OEMs included, are doing everything they can to make a knock off service and device.

    • Al Chui

      Yeah Apple’s doing everything right. If by “right” you mean wait until Android brings out a feature and then take a couple of years to come up with a half baked imitation. Apple’s been copying features off of Android for years now and doing them completely wrong.

      This is just the evolution of Google removing the responsibility for updating the OS from the manufacturers and carriers that began with Play Services.

  • Kaero

    “Google will keep closed off to other OEMs and custom ROM creators”

    Good luck with that. custom ROM creators will have whatever features come out ported within days.

  • Alex Marz

    April fools was some time ago.

  • John David Douglas Marshall

    Google: “Well, now that we’ve risen to the higher echelons of technological superiority by offering widespread, capable and inexpensive technology that is accessible to the masses, I think the best thing to do now is screw those masses by becoming even more iPhone-like.”

  • Thomas C. Riddell

    Hate this idea The nexus line must Continue

  • calysto

    How convenient for their naming conventions then that the Nexus 6 will be the last Nexus (given 7 has been taken by the tablet)

  • Chris

    Everyone keeps mentioning the price, which I do agree with, but also don’t… I am willing to pay more for better. But regardless of price, the Nexus phones are the best! At least since LG started making them.

    I don’t want phones with large bezels, front buttons or some fancy design. I want something simple in design and amazing, like the Nexus 5. And I’m willing to pay more for that, but thinner, longer battery life, a better camera and speakers. Waterproof would be awesome too.

Trending News

Other Articles