During the Google I/O 2014, Burke stated "People just get excited by concepts and forget why we do things. We are still invested in Nexus. People have been commenting about Nexus because there is something else and they think that means the end of Nexus. That is the totally wrong conclusion to make,". Although Google did not announce Android Silver smartphones officially, Burke's statement hints towards their existence. As per the reports, Android Silver devices would be high end smartphones. Just like Android One devices, it is being rumoured that Google will allow little to moderate customisation options to OEMs in Android Silver devices.
Nexus devices will always have a special place in my heart. I've owned a lot of Nexus devices including Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4. Nexus devices would continue to showcase the power of unadulterated Android experience and the way forward for OEMs. Google might announce a new Nexus smartphone with the public launch of Android 5.0 L this fall (late September).
This also raises questions about the future of Google Play Edition devices. Would they be replaced with Android Silver? I am not sure. They aren't even available in India. But it looks like the situation is getting out of hand due to multiple initiatives; Android One, Nexus, Android Silver and Google Play Edition. In my view, Google should replace the Google Play Edition devices with Android Silver devices wherein, OEMs should be able to install custom launchers and other apps via Google Play Store (a lot of OEMs including HTC and Motorola are already doing it). This will make sure that users can opt in or out of OEM customisations as per their choice.
All of this boils down to one important question, can Nexus devices co-exist with Android One and Android Silver? The answer is yes, they can. The perfect situation should be;
- Android One - Low cost Android smartphones with guaranteed updates and acceptable performance and quality as mentioned by Apurva in her analysis of Android One program.
- Nexus - Unadulterated Android experience with value for money factor. These will be the devices which would continue to get the first taste of new versions of Android.
- Android Silver (replacing Google Play Edition devices)- High end smartphones and tablets with moderate OEM customisations which would give them a chance to show their technological prowess and a way to differentiate from others without being too distant from Android user experience and basics.
Do you agree with me? If no, what do you think about the future of Nexus and Android Silver devices?