Whenever iOS and Android are compared, there’s one major point that goes against Google’s mobile platform, that’s fragmentation. On iOS, Apple controls when updates are rolled out. Since its the only company making iOS devices, it doesn’t have to deal with various OEMs and keep an eye on their customizations. Its a totally different story on Android, where OEMs and often carriers are responsible for delaying updates. Take Android 4.4 KitKat for example, it was released last year, but only powers north of 5 percent of all Android devices. “Android Silver” could be Google’s answer to fragmentation.
The rumor comes from folks at AndroidPolice, they say its based on information received late last year. Since the source itself isn’t entirely sure about the accuracy or reliability of this information, its best to take this with a grain of salt.
Android Silver might be an attempt to unify sale and support experience of select Android devices. Apparently it would be up to Google to pick devices for the program. For a device to be considered, it must “run the latest version of Android with no or very limited customizations.” Google may only select five devices for Silver status at any given time, and even though it won’t sell them directly, it will have considerable sway over carriers’ entire sales experience.
According to the report, carrier stores will be required to have a separate Android Silver display, not only will they be required to have a certain number of Silver devices and accessories in stock, they will also need certified staff capable of selling the devices. Certain services may also be exclusively designed for Android Silver. Users may get access to a “hangout assistant,” similar to Amazon’s Mayday button on the new Kindle Fire tablet. The assistant would be available 24/7 and will have the ability to take over the device to solve problems.
Its possible that Google might have been considering this program last year, but so far it hasn’t dropped any hints about the existence of Android Silver. It won’t be shocking if the company changes its plans, it has been known to do that from time to time.