Android Silver ahead of its time
There was a rumor years ago that Google would launch a silver program. At the time this would transcend the Nexus program. At a time when Google had considered dropping the Nexus line and opening it up to manufacturers we saw this in the Google Play Edition phones. Unfortunately the GPE phones were just way ahead of its time. Verizon only allowed Verizon phones on their network. And the rest of the US was still use to buying phones on contract.
Years later we are now ready for it. Every carrier now allow people to bring their own device, including Verizon (as long as the phone will work on their network). More people are buying their phones off contract and unlocked phones are steady rising in popularity. Add to that there are several companies that are lined up and can fulfill that role (the role for Android Silver). We are beyond just the big three of Samsung, HTC, and Motorola. In fact the only company still recognizable now is Samsung.
Could P bring it back
This past week Google opened up their P developer preview to more phones outside of the Pixel line. Companies like OnePlus and Essential have more to gain and are likely to get on board versus HTC and Samsung back in the day. Now it feels like a win/win for both parties versus charity on behalf of the phone manufacturers helping out Google. This means more effort to keep the phones updated and up to speed for customers. Plus OnePlus and Essential already open up their phones to developers as it is.
More phone manufacturers adopting Silver and offering a pure Nexus/Pixel like software experience give customers more options. This will push Google to continue to step up in the hardware department. But this will also give customers who buy a phone like the OnePlus or Essential a phone that will get software support for at least 2 years. The problem is that there may not be enough customers to create that demand. With Samsung continuing to be the number one manufacturer of android phones in the US, America already voted with their wallets the amount of concern they have for updates and pure Google software. This was the case back when we had the GPE phones. People voted with their wallets that they were not interested and that killed the program right there on the spot.
Would you be interested if Google brought back Android Silver?