Google is rumored to be working on replacing their venerable Nexus phone line with Android "Silver", a new range of premium phones they hope will better compete with Apple and the iPhone. But isn't Android winning, you might ask? Don't let the horribly segmented raw market numbers fool you, Apple still owns and makes most of the money in the premium phone space, and Google surely wants a bigger piece of that pie for Android and themselves. The information:
The expensive effort involves dumping the four-year-old Google Nexus phone brand in favor of a new program called Silver, under which manufacturers and wireless carriers will effectively be paid to produce and sell high-end devices that closely adhere to Google specifications, according to four people briefed on the project. The requirements sharply limit the number of non-Google apps that can be pre-installed on devices, or mandate that phone owners be able to uninstall them.
It's a bit odd that Google will be paying manufacturers and carriers what Apple gets paid to do, and that they'll only be "limiting" the crapware instead of forbidding it entirely (if you're going to go big, go BIG.) They will, however, be promoting technologies like water proofing, and pushing the Google suite of apps as the one true suite of apps.
Here's what Alex Dobie had to say on Android Central:
A transition towards multiple "Silver" devices raises questions over what might replace Nexus as the go-to Android developer phone. It's also unclear how tablets might figure into a post-Nexus world — Google and ASUS have had success with the affordable Nexus 7 series in recent years. And it makes the relationship between Google and Samsung, the world's biggest handset maker, all the more intriguing. Earlier this year reports from re/code suggested Samsung had agreed to pare back some of its Android customizations, and give prominence to Google's Play Store at the expense of its own content ecosystem.
I realize I'm naive, and Google and Android manufacturers still need carriers to push their products, but Apple has shown that when you make a superior product you can also offer a superior experience. Google is one of the few other companies that could, conceivably, force carriers to likewise behave themselves. Not because they're paid to — that keeps the carriers in the dominant position, "limiting" rather than "excluding" — but because they're forced to.
Part of the reason Android has been so successful is because carriers can do what they want with it. Apple sacrificed a lot of carrier good will by keeping control of their platform. I think Android is mature and solid enough to compete on the same grounds now. Instead of money, I'd like to see Google sacrifice the same carrier good will to make a better Android phone. Because that's what makes for a truly premium experience to go along with the products.
How about you?
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