Google/Android Silver Program

ComputerBox34

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 12, 2003
Messages
12,472
http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/0...lver-premium-phone-hardware-plan-is-underway/

Lots of info leaking out about this today.

Cliffs:

  • Replacing the Nexus program (most likely)
  • OEM partnership between Google to essentially produce GPE devices
  • Google will shoulder SW development costs and marketing costs depending on how big OEM is
  • Google will allow a very limited amount of "custom" OEM apps (bloat) but they must be easily removeable
  • Google plans to launch individual sections in carrier stores/big box stores that will have specially trained people trying to sell a variety of "silver" phones
  • Android update schedule will be streamlined allowing for much faster updates
  • "Silver" phones will be flagship phones
  • No word on pricing

Don't know how I feel about this. On one hand, people finally get easy access to bloat free phones. On the other hand, I don't know if this will mean cheaper phones for all. It also means that all of these devices will have locked down bootloaders which are not unlockable if they plan on selling these in carrier stores.
 

T4rd

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 8, 2009
Messages
18,554
I saw this too and my main concern is pricing, which is probably the #1 thing that the Nexus phones have going for them. I just can't see carriers like Verizon and AT&T allowing a phone to be sold in their stores for $350 off contract. Contracts are their bread and butter, so anything to dissuade people from signing a contract wouldn't go over too well for them, I don't think.

And then there's the issue of locked bootloaders too, as you mentioned. But I think it's still possible these same carriers would allow Nexus-like phones on their network, given that Verizon allowed the Gnex on their network at a time when every other phone was locked down too. So it seems to me that they wouldn't like it, but it wouldn't be a deal breaker for them.
 

Skripka

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
10,792
Show me a Nexus like phablet with a stockish Android,and I will be all over it.
 

ComputerBox34

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 12, 2003
Messages
12,472
I saw this too and my main concern is pricing, which is probably the #1 thing that the Nexus phones have going for them. I just can't see carriers like Verizon and AT&T allowing a phone to be sold in their stores for $350 off contract. Contracts are their bread and butter, so anything to dissuade people from signing a contract wouldn't go over too well for them, I don't think.

And then there's the issue of locked bootloaders too, as you mentioned. But I think it's still possible these same carriers would allow Nexus-like phones on their network, given that Verizon allowed the Gnex on their network at a time when every other phone was locked down too. So it seems to me that they wouldn't like it, but it wouldn't be a deal breaker for them.
With voice over LTE coming within the next few years, the carriers know that the game of locking people into contracts is over. Soon you will have phones that can easily migrate between the "big 4" networks with a simple swap of the SIM.

I think the carrier's launch of "Edge" or "NEXT" programs where you can finance your phone is the first steps attempted in trying to change the contract model. The only thing that's still allowing Verizon to lock people into contracts and very high prices right now is their network, with ATT heavily paying the price of the T-Mobile resurgence. For the first time in over a decade, the carriers are going to actually have to start competing to keep customers long term.
 

MrCrispy

2[H]4U
Joined
May 14, 2007
Messages
3,949
This is exactly rebranded GPE phones with some marketing. No pricing advantage which removes the big reason to buy a Nexus.

Can you imagine walking into a Verizon/ATT store and having these 2 choices -

1. regular flagship with oem skin, tons of bloat on a 2 year contract for $200
2. Silver version with no bloat, pure Google, no contract for $350-400.

No way in hell. No one would ever choose #1
 

jyi786

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 13, 2002
Messages
5,571
My major concern is locked bootloaders.

Even though the Nexus phones were always known for their low prices, their hallmark has been the openness of the platform. Granted, they are developer phones, but the Nexus line gave regular users a chance to be able to "do what they wanted" with their device. Don't like stock Android? Unlock, root, throw on a ROM of your choice. Done deal.

As long as this new Silver program ensures that at least one of their flagship devices has an unlocked bootloader, I'll be fine with it. If not, I might have to switch over to Windows Phone.
 

mclld

Weaksauce
Joined
Apr 15, 2014
Messages
80
Lame, I would bet anything we will not see any $300/$349 phones.
 

CHANG3D

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
4,925
These aren't the droids you're looking for.

OnePlus (and other Chinese/Indian companies), you're our only hope!
 

munkle

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
11,801
This is exactly rebranded GPE phones with some marketing. No pricing advantage which removes the big reason to buy a Nexus.

Can you imagine walking into a Verizon/ATT store and having these 2 choices -

1. regular flagship with oem skin, tons of bloat on a 2 year contract for $200
2. Silver version with no bloat, pure Google, no contract for $350-400.

No way in hell. No one would ever choose #1

I'd take #1, bloat can be removed, with my current plan its cheaper to take a 2 year contract then actually switch to a newer plan that doesn't have device subsidies on any of the carriers which is more expensive with out including the device, and even more expensive still adding the device cost on top.
 

T4rd

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 8, 2009
Messages
18,554
So you and the other 2% of the world's population need to look elsewhere then. The rest of us are just fine and dandy with GSM phones! :D

I'd say at least 50% of the US phone users (on Verizon and Sprint) are on CDMA. ;)

It will slowly and eventually be phased out by LTE though, which is a GSM technology. It's still several years away though.
 

QwertyJuan

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Aug 17, 2000
Messages
11,286
Try about 10 times that amount, and you'd be closer.

Only because of China... but then again their CDMA isn't the same as the CDMA that the person I quoted was talking about. So the CDMA found in the USA is probably only used by a VERY small portion of the world's population.
 

Trombe

Gawd
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Messages
891
No word on pricing? I would assume these are going to be available on contract in the carrier/big box stores too then to be honest. It's just the same phones on different software.
 

Trimlock

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 23, 2005
Messages
15,228
No word on pricing? I would assume these are going to be available on contract in the carrier/big box stores too then to be honest. It's just the same phones on different software.

I think this is partly due to the end of subsidized contracting. Google saw this as a perfect chance to keep the program alive without making their own device.
 

xhalex

n00b
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
30
So, does this mean I'd better pick up a Nexus 5 while I still can? Been waiting to get this, never got around to actually buy it lol.
 

MrCrispy

2[H]4U
Joined
May 14, 2007
Messages
3,949
From Google's point of view, this can only be good. Nexus is extremely popular in online forums, but outside in real world no one has heard of it and no one cares. Google also loses (or doesn't make much) money on each phone.

So having Silver will make the phones much more visible, increase Google's branding, and get them more money/phone, which will allow them to spend more on marketing costs.

People who want a $400 phone will end up being the losers, but I'm hoping the Chinese oem's pick up that market segment.
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
1,815
My major concern is locked bootloaders.

Even though the Nexus phones were always known for their low prices, their hallmark has been the openness of the platform. Granted, they are developer phones, but the Nexus line gave regular users a chance to be able to "do what they wanted" with their device. Don't like stock Android? Unlock, root, throw on a ROM of your choice. Done deal.

As long as this new Silver program ensures that at least one of their flagship devices has an unlocked bootloader, I'll be fine with it. If not, I might have to switch over to Windows Phone.

I don't know exactly how to word this but I would think if Google can keep OEMs from adding a ton of stuff to a phone that can't be removed and poor UI changes that most people would simply not worry about bootloaders. Sure if you want to develop then you might need an option, but generally speaking it seems that most people who want access to that usually have one of the following conditions:

Phone is no longer supported and can't get updates
Lots of bloatware or customizations that can't be removed / detract from user experience
Want internet tethering that carrier doesn't provide

If these phones address the first two problems and more wireless carriers allow tethering, it would really limit the need of most people to load a ROM on their phone. For the majority of consumers it would probably be better for them to have the Silver program if it means usable/reliable devices.
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
3,197
From Google's point of view, this can only be good. Nexus is extremely popular in online forums, but outside in real world no one has heard of it and no one cares. Google also loses (or doesn't make much) money on each phone.

So having Silver will make the phones much more visible, increase Google's branding, and get them more money/phone, which will allow them to spend more on marketing costs.

People who want a $400 phone will end up being the losers, but I'm hoping the Chinese oem's pick up that market segment.

Think you're overstating the lack of publicity. In the US it's harder to be aware of the Nexus line since it's only really big at T-Mobile, but it's easier to find elsewhere. Here in Canada, you can find the Nexus 5 on practically every carrier.

With that said, Silver (if real) will be fine if Google can provide a meaningful difference. And I'd still be sad that I couldn't pick up a high-end phone for $350, but I suspect Nexus partners aren't fans of having to sell practically at-cost just to make Google happy.
 

Trimlock

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 23, 2005
Messages
15,228
Well the nexus program started to help developers get easy to program for phones without having to deal with carrier specific hardware. But that line diminished when they opened the GPE program. They don't have a need for it anymore, at least them strictly doing it.
 

collegeboy69us

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 27, 2003
Messages
5,256
after buying my Nexus 5 for $350 off contract then getting service through straight talk...

I can't see why ANYONE would ever sign up for a 2 year contract, finance a phone, or go with a big box retailer ever again. My bill is quite literally 1/2 of what is used to be and I have the same service.

Whatever silver program churns out is going to have to offer something around the same price if they really want to get my attention.
 

Rylan

Gawd
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
937
after buying my Nexus 5 for $350 off contract then getting service through straight talk...

I can't see why ANYONE would ever sign up for a 2 year contract, finance a phone, or go with a big box retailer ever again. My bill is quite literally 1/2 of what is used to be and I have the same service.

Whatever silver program churns out is going to have to offer something around the same price if they really want to get my attention.

I still have unlimited data with Verizon and keep finding ways to renew my 2-year contract while still keeping that unlimited data. I've done it twice now in the past 3 years since they quit offering new, unlmited data plans. Also, Verizon gives me a large discount because of my employer. So, it's only $10 more per month for 2 lines to continue with unlimited data as opposed to switching to a budget carrier's plan that only has 3GBs of data (or whatever it is before you get throttled).

Is that enough reason for you to see why ANYONE would continue a 2 year contract? ;)
 
Top