Recent rumors relayed by The Information suggest that Google will be replacing its incredibly popular Nexus line with a new “Silver” brand of high-end, pure Android phones. In addition to focusing on nicer hardware, the Silver phones will come with premium customer service support options.
The Nexus line
The Nexus line was originally offered as a way to make ”pure” Android phones that wouldn’t involve the customizations that most manufacturers put on their phone. While Android is a great operating system, in its early days it lacked a lot of vital features, so manufacturers would customize the version of Android they placed on their phones.
Now the most-desired features have been incorporated into the base Android software, and manufacturer-customized versions of Android are often full of bloatware. Hardware manufacturers have kept their individual versions of Android going as a way to distinguish their phones from the competition, but many tech enthusiasts view the add-ons as simply getting in the way.
Additionally, Nexus devices are always released with the latest version of Android. Phone manufacturers spend huge amounts of money on their customized versions of Android, and having to upgrade their software to work with newer versions of the Android operating system is cost prohibitive.
Upgrades for these devices take a long time, if they come at all. On the other hand, Nexus devices are the first to receive updates to the Android operating system. This is a huge selling point for tech enthusiasts and Google fans.
New Silver phones
Like the Nexus devices, Silver phones will be released and updated with the latest version of Android, but they won’t be burdened with superfluous software.
The big difference between the two lines is in the hardware. Nexus devices tend to be built with middle- to lower-end hardware. The phone parts were specifically picked to work well with Android, and reviews of the Nexus phones have all been generally positive.
However, the Nexus phones don’t look that good when you compare their specs with the flagship devices from the top Android manufacturers. The Silver line of phones will seek to change that.
There are no definitive specifications for a Silver phone, but rumors have it that they’ll be high-end parts. This could have a negative impact on sales, because the more affordable Nexus phones have been particularly popular in areas where cell carriers don’t subsidize phones.
High-end, unsubsidized phones costs hundreds of dollars, and sell much better when carriers subsidize the phone with money they make back over the course of a two-year contract. Additionally, Google is rumored to be offering a data migration service to help customers transition to their new phone, as well as tech support similar to Amazon’s Mayday service for Kindle devices.
This would allow users to “hang out” with customer support representatives using Google’s hangouts video chat. These customer support options would only be available with the new Silver phones, which would require a subscription for these and other premium services.