When rumors began to swirl around Google's Android Silver program back in April, Nexus fans worried that it spelled the end of their favorite direct-from-Google Android devices. Not so.
In an interview with ReadWrite, Dave Burke, head of Android engineering and Nexus devices, addressed these worries. "People have been commenting about Nexus because there is something else and they think that means the end of Nexus. That is the totally wrong conclusion to make," Burke said. He added:
You can't build a platform in the abstract, you have to build a device (or devices). So, I don't think can can [sic] or will ever go away. And then, I think Nexus is also interesting in that it is a way of us explaining how we think Android should run. It is a statement, almost a statement of purity in some respects. I don't see why we would ever turn away from that, it wouldn't make sense.
I think Android Silver probably spells the end of Google Play Edition devices, instead. Initiatives like Material Design and Google Play Services indicate to me that the company wants a more consistent Android user experience, and Silver is another pillar of that strategy. Google Play Edition devices may have come with stock Android, but they were only available from Google's online Play store.
If Android Silver works the way The Verge thinks it will, Google will promote Silver devices in carrier stores, which could show the benefits of stock Android to a wider audience. The company would also have more control over the software that ships on these devices and would control the rollout of software updates, much like it does for Nexus products. Nexus devices would continue to be available for developers and the Android cognoscenti, but the program's benefits wouldn't be limited to those products—a win for the Android community.