For the past few months, rumours have suggested that Google will roll out a new program for Android devices known as Android Silver.
Based on what we’ve read, it seems as if the project will entail a new strategy in selling Android devices.
Although we know little about Silver, a recent interview with a Google executive provides convincing evidence that the effort is, in fact, real.
Dave Burke, Google’s head of engineering for Android and the Nexus program, acknowledged Android Silver to ReadWrite’s Dan Rowinski in a recent interview. He also discredited a popular rumour regarding Android Silver, which is that it would replace Google’s Nexus handsets.
Here’s what Burke had to say:
People just get excited by concepts and forget why we do things. Android Silver is not something that we are commenting on right now. People have been commenting about Nexus because there is something else and they think that means the end of Nexus. That is the totally wrong conclusion to make.
Burke didn’t reveal much about Android Silver in his interview with ReadWrite. Even so, the fact that he acknowledged it on the record and said that “there is something else” besides Nexus strongly suggests that it is in fact a real project Google is working on.
With Android Silver, Google would presumably pay some of its most popular partners such as Samsung and HTC to build high-end Android phones with particular specifications. These phones would be sold at a special kiosks in carrier stores too, giving Google its own retail presence, outlets such as The Information and Android Police have previously reported.
If the other rumours turn out to be true, Silver could help Google further compete with Apple in more than a few ways. More importantly, it could also help Google regain control of the Android phone market from one of its biggest partners and competitors, Samsung.
Another theory, and one that seems more plausible than Silver replacing Nexus, is that Silver will be Google’s attempt at giving the Android brand a premium appeal.
Android Silver phones will likely be built to meet certain requirements when it comes to specifications. Since they will likely run a stock version of Android, Silver phones could provide a new option for those looking to buy a high-end Android phone without the skinned versions of Android you’ll find on HTC and Samsung devices.
Google will also reportedly bolster its customer support efforts with Silver. Those in the Silver program will supposedly get access to certain perks such as 24/7 support via Google Hangouts. Some rumours even suggest Google will provide loaner devices for Silver members who have misplaced or damaged their phones.
So what does this mean for Android fans? It means that with the Silver program, we’ll probably see high-end premium phones loaded with clean Android software and better customer support service.
We’ll have to wait until Google officially reveals Android Silver to learn more. Some rumours have suggested that it won’t arrive until 2015.