It seems as though Android’s bid to add more consistency to their mobile strategy could already be dead. Android Silver was a program initially announced as a way to bring the stock Android experience to more users through the actual wireless carriers. The OS would have been completely managed by Google, including updates, while the rest of the industry would be responsible for providing premium hardware. A specific set of guidelines would be set in place to be followed in order to qualify for the program, while companies would be provided with R&D support and monetary compensation. Sounds like a Googlefan’s wet dream doesn’t it?
But according to the site, The Information, the program stalled due to the July departure of Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora. Arora oversaw the company’s partnerships with handset makers and wireless carriers, and was one of the chief architects of the Android Silver program– so it’s obvious that he’s an instrumental figure in all this. But it’s disappointing that his absence has reportedly tossed the baby out with the bathwater.
Considering the fact that fragmentation has been among the chief complaints about the Android OS, and this was the first serious try by the company to bring the entirety of its ecosystem under a nice, compact umbrella of consistency– this feels like a pretty deep setback. But others have pointed out that Google has always had more than just Android Silver in its back pocket. There’s the Nexus program, Google Play Edition devices, and Android One— an effort to get high-quality, cheap smartphones into the hands of people in developing countries. But I don’t think any of these options have the same potential to get stock Android into the mainstream like Android Silver would have done.
Android Silver also represented a chance for Google to have some kind of control over its own product. If Silver goes under, that just means that things will continue to go on as they always have, and if Android is going to seriously compete and reach its fullest potential, they’ve got to avoid that situation altogether.
So is Android Silver really dead? If Google is smart, this is only just a short hiatus. They can very easily bring the program back under different management, regardless of how important Arora was to the cause. And this cause is just and pure.
This is an intervention, Google. Stop letting carriers and manufacturers like Samsung push you around. You’re better than that. Because if you don’t get out, you’re going to be sitting on the back of an ambulance with a blanket wrapped around you, wondering where the assault came from. It didn’t come out of the blue, Google. Abusive relationships just end up that way.