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 already offer 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.
Music to my ears. This is exactly what Google needs to do in order to clean up the Android ecosystem and make a clear distinction between crap (TouchWiz, Sense, and so forth) and Android-proper. Hopefully, with Google pushing these devices in traditional venues (carriers), they’ll see more widespread success than the Nexus program.
And please sell them worldwide. Please.