The online Android community is abuzz about the tweets by serial leaker Evleaks yesterday regarding the Android Silver program. We have seen this reported before but the details were few and far between. At this stage all we have are rumours although Evleaks has had success with his predictions in the past.
The Nexus program is very popular amongst not only Android enthusiasts but people in general. The enthusiasts are attracted by the promise of a pure Google Android device and its openness for hacking and developing. On the other hand Joe (and Jill) Public are attracted to it for its attractive specs and phone at an equally attractive price. It is for this reason that it seems inconceivable that Google would cease the Nexus program. The tweets from Evleaks suggest otherwise.
The first tweet not only said there wouldn’t be a Nexus 6 but suggests the Nexus program would be no more.
He followed that up nine minutes later with a not so cryptic hint at Android Silver.
Nine hours later there was the tweet that Android Silver would be beginning in February 2015.
Finally this morning, 12 hours after the last tweet he mentions that one of the first devices in the Android Silver program will be an LG device housing an eight core, 64bit Qualcomm 810, the MSM8994.
None of this is confirmed yet. Very little is ever confirmed by Google but considering that the next possible nexus devices have been seen in Chromium bug trackers I find this confusing. There is so much chatter regarding the Android Silver program that I have very little doubt that it is a real thing but as to whether it will replace the Nexus program just yet is something I highly doubt.
Firstly, I believe there will not be a Nexus 6 due to copyright from Philip K. Dick. Remember him? He wrote a book called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” in which there were androids known as Nexus-6 models. Google like to keep the price of Nexus devices to a minimum and having to pay a licence on all Nexus 6 devices (assuming they are even allowed to use the name) would increase the cost of Google’s very affordable devices. Price is one of the main attractions to the Nexus devices, especially to Joe and Jill Public.
Google value their developer relationships highly and realise that they need to keep producing developer devices such as the Nexus until they can convince manufacturers to toe the Google Android UI line. They use the Nexus to steer the Android platform forward the way they think it should be and to demonstrate to OEMs how to follow the Android guidelines. How well the OEMs stick to this is debatable and differs from one OEM to another but it shows the Nexus device is there for a reason. Not only that, the Google engineers need a base platform for Android development and GPE devices wouldn’t do the job required as they rarely are built the way Google Stock Android want them to be.
It seems I am not alone in thinking the sounding of the death-knell of the Nexus program is a tad premature. Entropy512 (aka Andrew Dodd), former CyanogenMod developer and one of the founding members of Omni rom, believes that the Android Silver program does not spell the end of the Nexus. He suggests in a Google+ post that the tweets do not contain any negative information regarding the Nexus program and reminds us that the GPE and Nexus program have “lived in parallel” for some time now. He makes a point that if one of the programs has to go why wouldn’t it be the GPE program which is extremely similar to what we believe the Android Silver program will be. I have to agree with him and it makes sense. Why would Google have both the GPE program and the Android Silver program when they are basically the same thing? Android Silver seems to be basically the GPE program (standard manufacturer devices running Google Stock Android) dressed up for the public to be positioned for the consumer in bricks and mortar stores.
All that aside I cannot wait for the Snapdragon 810-toting LG device to arrive. LG are promising an extremely attractive device with the G3 and if they follow this evolution from their not-so-enticing LG Optimus 3D then the Android Silver LG device should be mind blowing. My concern regarding this new LG device is that Evleaks states it will be on Sprint in the USA. Hopefully that doesn’t mean Sprint only. A version to run on our networks would be nice and I suspect there will be. There is a big world of phone users outside of Sprint and we know that Sprint devices are compatible with Sprint only.
What is your take on all this? Do you agree with my analysis? How about the new LG device? Interested?