Google’s Android Silver program was first rumored by Android Police back in April as a “premium sale and support” experience for users. In human speak, this means Google wanted to make Nexus-like devices with more manufacturers rather than just its one yearly release. Now that plan may be on hold. The Information’s Amir Efrati says that internal changes within the company, specifically the departure of one of its chief architects Nikesh Arora who oversaw partnerships among carriers and manufacturers for Google, caused delays. However, Google’s newly launched Android One program, which looks to create a baseline standard for global low-end smartphones, could also be more important to the company at the moment.
The oft-rumored Android Silver program was supposed to showcase the best smartphones running Android as Google intended it. It was to be backed with a major presence in carrier retail stores and publicized with big, expensive ad campaigns. That’s all hearsay, of course; Google has never confirmed anything regarding Android Silver. But now, it sounds like the company may be having doubts about such a plan. The Information claims that Android Silver is currently “on hold,” with some employees expressing “serious doubts” that — if Google were to move forward — it would ever be a success. The departure of one key executive, Nikesh Arora, seemingly threw a huge wrench into the whole thing. Arora served as Google’s longtime sales boss before his sudden exit in July, when he left for SoftBank. Crucially, he was also in charge of Google’s business relationships in the mobile industry, both with wireless carriers and phone makers, according to The Information’s report. His leaving probably didn’t do Android Silver any favors, but partners including carriers, manufacturers, and retailers also offered up a “mixed reaction” to Google’s idea. So it sounds like you won’t be seeing an Android Silver display — with high-end phones powered by near-stock Android and free of most carrier bloat — at Verizon or AT&T stores anytime soon. Maybe the whole concept was too good to be true. For now, Google’s clearly got other priorities.