Android Silver Program Aims to Give Google More Control Over its Mobile Operating System’s Future

by Istvan Fekete on May 1, 2014

The rumours are true: Google does have a program in the works dubbed “Silver”, as originally posted in early April by Android Police reports The Information. But the catch is that “Silver” isn’t just to improve customer support around Android devices, as first reported.

As Android Police originally reported, Google’s Android Silver appears to be an attempt to unify the sale and support experience of specially selected Android devices, handsets Google will pick at its sole discretion, and to qualify for that program devices must be running the latest version of Android with no or very limited customizations.

But this is just one part of the story. According to sources speaking with The Information, the Android Silver program is Google’s attempt to gain more control over the Android ecosystem by building a program with more potential to reach a wider array of buyers, peppered with incentive-driven partnerships with both smartphone manufacturers and carriers.

Incentives include indirect payments, with perhaps up to $1 billion in spending on promoting Silver devices through ads. In exchange, Google would require that handsets participating in the program have a very limited number of non-Google apps pre-installed, or at least that these apps be removable after purchase.

You may recall that although Android is indeed the world’s most popular mobile OS, each smartphone manufacturer puts its branding on the operating system. And currently, the biggest Android smartphone vendor is Samsung: in the past quarter alone the South Korean manufacturer shipped almost a third of all smartphones shipped worldwide.
This also means Samsung controls a third of all Android smartphones.

Google’s Silver is about regaining control over Android, and this targets Samsung in particular. From what we understand, this is a program that finally has potential, real teeth, and a strong focus on customers. The program is rumoured to be launching sometime next year.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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