Google is considering a radical new customer service plan for certain Android phones, according to leaked documents picked up by David Ruddock at Android Police.
Google is discussing a program called “Android Silver,” which would bring Google kiosks to carrier brick-and-mortar shops. It would also offer special support benefits for those who enroll in the program. For example, Android Silver members would be able to access Google support 24/7 through Hangouts, just like Amazon offers the “Mayday” button with its Fire tablets.
Those working at the kiosks would be specially trained on the program and Google’s devices. They would help new users set up their phone and migrate all of their contacts, photos and data, guaranteeing that the process would only take “5 minutes or less.”
This would help fix one of the biggest gaps between Apple’s iPhones and iPads and Google’s Android devices. Apple retail, especially with the Genius Bar, is a killer advantage for Apple. Anyone that has a problem with one of their Apple gadgets has a place they can go to get their problems solved.
Android Silver would also help Google protect Android, which is getting taken over by Samsung. If the Android Silver program turns out to be legitimate, Google would likely use it to sell their Play edition devices. Google Play edition smartphones come with the stock version of Android rather than the skins that vendors like Samsung, HTC and LG overlay on their handsets.
The documents say that it would choose the “best Android devices from the top 5 OEMs” to sell at these kiosks. There’s no specific mention of Google Play edition smartphones, but the leaked memos say these phones would come with “the latest version of Android with no or very limited customisations.”
Ruddock cautioned that the odds of the Android Silver program happening are pretty low — he rates it 6/10 on his rumour scale. If it is going to happen, we’d expect to hear Google talking about it at I/O its big developer conference in June.
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