According to a report by The Information, Google has hit the pause button on its Android Silver program. Citing “people familiar with its status,” it claims that Google was having a hard time getting enough buy-in from phone makers and carriers, along with internal doubts about whether the program would work.
The Android Silver concept was a little confusing, to say the least. The plan was for Google to work with manufacturers like LG, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung to build premium Android phones that it would then market under the Android Silver brand in carrier and big-box retail stores.
Depending on who you ask, the phones would run stock Android (or something close to it), and be updated directly by Google. The whole point was to create a premium high-end brand and buying experience around the best Android phones that would help the company compete against Apple in the high-price, high-margin premium retail smartphone space.
It was even rumored to be an eventual replacement for Google-designed Nexus phones, though that idea was quickly refuted.
According to The Information’s sources, Google has decided to put more effort behind itsAndroid One program; the yin to Android Silver’s yang. Android One is meant to produce very inexpensive (about $100) phones that run the latest version of Android and are updated directly by Google. The program just rolled out in India; it’s a ploy to get the next billion non-smartphone users in emerging markets to jump on with Android.
The loss or delay of the Android Silver program may not be a big deal. While Apple is expected to be very successful with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the overall market share of Android devices continues to grow year by year. In well-established markets, high-end Android phones are still doing quite well.