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Google aims for purity with Android Silver

Matt Hamblen | May 5, 2014
Is the Android Silver initiative mostly a rebranding effort for existing Nexus smartphones, or is it something much more?

Narcotta noted that Google's use of the name "Nexus" doesn't indicate the device is "Android" which Android Silver could help improve on — assuming that's the final name. The way products from Nexus are branded is with the name "Google" on the device's startup screen or the name of the manufacturer such as Asus, in the example of the Nexus 7 tablet.

"Android is too much in the background today and for Google, that's a problem, especially when it's clearly trying to establish Android as its own brand," Narcotta added.

For customers going into a store, a special "Android Silver" booth might be just the branding Google has in mind.

Narcotta expressed some concern about the Android "Silver" moniker instead of another premium name, such as "Platinum" or "Titanium"? "The name 'Silver' immediately makes me think Android lost a race and got awarded second place," Narcotta said.

2. Android Silver might indeed be about rebranding Nexus, but isn't it really more than that?

Yes, several analysts think Google is going to the next level with Android Silver by offering more services to customers than carriers now provide for most Android phones, and even more than what Google provides for Nexus devices.

Google hangouts that offer customer assistance, another possibility, is similar to something Amazon is doing with its new tablets. This customer service idea gets Google out in front of any carrier's customer support.

3. Isn't this about Google trying again to take on Samsung and other Android device makers, and even carriers, who add so many apps and features to phones and without rolling out the latest version of Android on time?

Most analysts think so, although Google has been trying to protect pure Android for years by goading carriers and manufacturers to make upgrades to the latest versions of Android in a timely fashion.

More recently, Google has tried to upgrade its many services instead of its operating system in hopes that a delay in a new OS won't matter as much to end users. That approach still hasn't been totally successful, many analysts believe.

"With many different versions of Android out there, there is no consistency," said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates. "Users can now go into a store and buy new phones with three or four different versions of Android. And how do you keep a market full of diverse Android OS phones up to date?

The single biggest reason enterprises resist going to Android is due to so many different versions of the OS on BYOD devices. Unified Android would definitely help in enterprise adoption."

4. Wait a minute. Is Android Silver really about unified Android?

 

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