For the past few months, Google has been rumoured to be working on a new initiative known as Android Silver. The program would aim to make Android software seem more consistent across smartphones from different manufacturers.
This would mean Android phone makers wouldn’t be able to customise the software on their phones as much as they do today, and Google’s Android partners don’t seem to be on board with that idea.
Android Silver has reportedly been “shelved,” Re/code’s Ina Fried reports, mainly because device makers didn’t want to use such a restricted version of Android on their new phones. They also didn’t want to scale back their own branding and share it with another company, according to Fried.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Google was having a hard time getting its Android Silver program up and running. Last month, The Information’s Amir Efrati reported that Google may be delaying the initiative for a few reasons — to focus on Android One, and because the reactions from Google’s Android partners had been “mixed.”
Initial reports about Android Silver, which were largely reported by The Information and blog Android Police, depicted the program as a new way of selling Android phones that would emphasise Google’s brand rather than Samsung’s or HTC’s, for instance. Google would pay its partners to build high-end phones that would run a stock version of Android, sort of like a Google Play edition phone. Google would even install kiosks in carrier stores to establish a retail presence, according to Android Police.
Several of Google’s partners, especially Samsung, heavily customise Android to focus on their own apps and services. Pick up a Galaxy Note 3, and you’ll notice that Samsung’s own apps pop up when you use the S Pen stylus. Take a look at HTC’s One M8, and you’ll see the company’s Blink Feed Flipboard-style interface on one of the home screens.
It doesn’t sound like smartphone makers plan to tone this down any time soon, if Re/code and The Information prove to be correct.