Google’s Nexus phones will reportedly be replaced by premium Android Silver handsets

The Android Silver project, which was rumored earlier this month, has today been corroborated by four fresh sources, all of whom point to a major shift in Google’s mobile strategy. The Information reports that the current scheme of offering Nexus-branded handsets with Google’s unadulterated vision of the best Android user experience will be scrapped, to be replaced by a set of high-end Silver phones that will closely adhere to it. The change is both expansive and expensive, as Google is said to be planning to spend heavily on promoting these devices in wireless carriers’ stores and through advertising, essentially subsidizing the development and marketing costs for its hardware partners.

In exchange for this new contribution, Google will gain tighter control over the software shipping on the selected phones. The promise is that the company will clean up third-party bloatware, ensure prompt and reliable software updates, and introduce a real standard and consistency to the user experience across Android Silver devices. LG and Motorola are identified as the likeliest candidates for taking part, with the first phones anticipated as soon as next year, while Samsung, HTC, and Sony might need a bit more convincing. Then again, all three of the latter companies have already offered Google Play Editions of their leading phones, which might be the closest analog we have at the moment for what an Android Silver device will look and act like.

Google’s appetite to reassert itself among premium smartphones has been evident in the first flagship Android phones released this year. Both the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S5 feature the words “Powered by Android” in their bootup animations, while in January Google was reported to have held talks with Samsung about reining in the Korean company’s customizations.

Now the Mountain View company is rumored to be spending as much as $1 billion to get phone makers to jump aboard its new initiative. Android Silver will reportedly target the United States and other developed markets first, with in-store Android kiosks designed by Google showcasing its software. The one missing piece from this puzzle is what Google will do with the mid-range market that the Nexus program is expected to vacate. Android Silver is gunning for the high end, so who will step up to fill the void left in the middle?



Google sells Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91bn

Google has sold Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91bn. The sale comes just a few years after having bought the company which makes the Moto X for $12.5bn back in 2011.

For those wondering why the difference in values is so significant Google has confirmed that whilst it is selling Motorola it will be retaining the majority of the company’s vast portfolio of patents.

Motorola Moto X review

Writing on Google’s official blog, CEO Larry Page outlined the reasons why Google was selling Motorola so soon after having bought it:

“The smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices.

“It’s why we believe that Motorola will be better served by Lenovo—which has a rapidly growing smartphone business and is the largest (and fastest-growing) PC manufacturer in the world.”

Despite reportedly investing $500 million in the marketing campaign for the launch of the Moto X Google has been operating Motorola at a loss with the company posting third quarter losses of $248 million in 2013.

Google already has hardware under the guise of the Nexus brand with the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 so it makes sense to lose what was essentially a non-profitable branch of their business.

Is Google poised to dump its Nexus brand?

Google is poised to dump its Nexus brand and replace it with more Google Play Edition devices.

At least that is what the search engine giant is planning to do, according to Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin. Murtazin is known for having close connections to the Russian mobile industry.

According to Murtazin’s sources, Google will launch two more Nexus branded smartphones this year. However, the company will retire the brand by 2015.

In its place will elevate the Play Edition brand to replace it, according to Murtazin.

Murtazin doesn’t expand on the claim, but it does make some sense.

Google Nexus 5

No longer needed?

The Nexus brand was launched by Google to ensure that there were handsets on the market that would receive the latest version of Android almost as soon as it was released.

One of Android’s major flaws is that it has to go through several approval processes before it hits smartphones. First Google needs to approve the latest update, then the handset maker and occasionally the phone network.

This means it can be months and sometimes even a year before smartphones receive the latest update, such as Android KitKat.

An example is that it took nearly 60 days for Android KitKat to be released onHTC’s smartphones. SonySamsung and LG have also taken a similar amount of time to ready the operating system for their own flagship smartphones.

However, recent years has seen an increase in the number of Play Edition handsets being launched by phone makers. Phone makers can quickly push out the updates to these vanilla Android smartphones, essentially making the Nexus line redundant.

All for nought

Despite it making sense for Google to move towards encouraging phone makers to produce more Play Edition phones, it does seem strange it would dump a brand it has built up over the last five years.

What’s more, Nexus editions have also been cheaper than Play Editions. Whether this will change is unclear.


Google ‘working on videogame console’

The new hardware would allow Google to compete with rumoured products from its rival, Apple, including a next generation TV that will include a videogame console and an Apple smartwatch.

The internet search giant is planning to design and market the two devices and then release at least one of them this autumn, according to reports.

Google’s smartwatch is expected to connect to smartphones using Bluetooth technology, much like its Google Glass product. Wearable computing is a key focus for major technology companies and Samsung has also said it has plans for an Android-based smartwatch.

Google also has some experience in the videogames market, as games that run on Adroid software are growing more quickly than those made for Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo consoles.

The Wall Street Journal reported the developments based on unnamed sources “familiar with the matter” and also claimed Google is planning to release a second version of its media-streaming device Nexus Q.

The first version of Google’s home entertainment device was revealed last year but was criticised for costing $299 (£195) and never went on sale to the public.

Google’s next attempt at the Android-based device is expected to be much less expensive, according to Wall Street Journal sources. The product should help Google sell more music through its streaming service, Google Play.

The technology company is also reportedly working on low cost Adroid smartphones that would be released in developing markets, including places where Google plans to help create wireless networks.