The winds of change are heading into Google it seems like with the recent ramp-up in rumors regarding the introduction of Android Silver, and perhaps the extinction of the Nexus program. Although not much has been said about Android Silver, rumor has it that this program will be similar to the Nexus program in that Android Silver will, like the Nexus phones, feature vanilla Android; however, instead of just one being released every year, it seems that there may be several, and they are supposedly going to be “higher end”.
That right there is what kind of worries me about the rumor that Google is doing away with the Nexus program.
If you’re involved in the industry enough, you probably think that the Nexus is hot stuff - and it is. Here. We have all there is to know about why the Nexus is such a great product. It’s a phone that isn’t cluttered with a bunch of bloatware fluff, it’s relatively cheap even at full-price, and you’re among the first to get the latest Android updates. But despite the phone being a hot topic within the industry, when you step out of our rather concentrated circle of media, most people won’t have a clue what you’re talking about. The Nexus line is not exactly widely advertised, which can cause problems when it comes to generating sales.
Companies like Samsung, Apple, HTC, Microsoft, and LG can call make good phones, but another big reason that these manufacturers are so powerful and popular is because they take advantage of marketing to draw people in. Have you ever seen a commercial for the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 4, or the Nexus 5? Or if you have, have you seen them at the frequency that any of the previously mentioned manufacturers produce commercials? Probably not. The Nexus thus far has mostly been a cheap (but powerful) tool for developers, and occasionally the average user who just wants a cheaper full-price phone.
It would seem like Google is giving up on the Nexus brand in order to, first and foremost, rebrand, and secondly to fix what the Nexus was missing.
The rebranding is important, in my opinion. Nexus isn’t exactly a term that I would immediately associate with Google’s Android if I hadn’t known any the wiser. Android Silver, however, is easy to figure out. The term Android is in the name, and the “silver” bit lets us know that the program or devices are important, since silver is a precious metal and all. Either way, I can see how Android Silver would be easier to associate with Android.
The second thing that the Nexus program was missing was, of course, advertising. Google could start advertising Nexus now, but there’s still the issue that people might not really “get” what the program is for. That’s why it’s necessary to do both a rebranding and a ramp-up in marketing in order to achieve the desired results, which is popularity growth.
I’m still not entirely sure what to think about Android Silver given that we have such few official details, but I do think that for the most part it is necessary to at least change the program’s name. As for the actual purpose of the Nexus program, I do hope that Google manages to keep some of the devices low-cost and bloatware free, because I did think that was pretty cool. It would be a shame to see the program go away completely after seeing how far it has come.
One thing I do know is that I will miss the familiarity I have of the Nexus program, but hopefully the program stays around in spirit at least.