Google may be plotting a new "Android Silver" program to vastly increase its line of devices beyond a few Nexus smartphones and tablets.
We originally heard rumors that Google was planning to launch its Silver program as a support service for select smartphones. Now, a new report from the The Information (pay wall) suggests the program may spur a whole new series of high-end Silver phones from multiple manufacturers.
Allegedly, Google is looking to invest $1 billion (about £59m, AU$1.07b) to get phone makers to jump aboard its new initiative. This money will supposedly go to subsidize the development and marketing costs for the hardware partners that sign on with Google's program.
The Silver age
In exchange for the incentives, Google will gain more control over Android Silver devices by limiting the amount of manufacturer bloatware that comes pre-installed. At the very least, end users would be able to remove these non-standard Android apps.
With these software changes it's likely Silver devices will also get Android updates sooner, similar to existing Nexus and Google Play Edition devices.
Beyond Google putting the kibosh on extra software packages, it will reportedly support the development of advanced hardware features. The Information claims these could include waterproofing and improved voice recognition as seen with the Moto X.
The report doesn't mention any hardware manufacturers that have already signed on with Google's new initiative.
Beyond the Nexus
If the Silver program comes to pass, Google would put a lot more backing into developing its own line of devices. Rather than partnering with a single manufacturer to develop one smartphone and tablet a year, the Silver program would allow Google to produce a wider array of gadgets.
Whether this yet-to-be-announced smartphone is Google's last Nexus device remains to be seen, but as of late Google has reasserted itself as the top dog when it comes to Android phones. For this year's crop of flagship phones Google has required both the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5's bootup screens to feature the words "Powered by Android."
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Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.