Google may be axing its Nexus line of devices in favor of a new program to spur development of premium Android smartphones to compete with the Apple iPhones and wrestle control from Samsung.
According to a report by The Information, Google is considering "Silver", a program where manufacturers and carriers are paid to produce and sell premium devices that follow strictly to Google's specifications.
One of the requirements include limiting the number of pre-installed apps, which consumers consider as bloatware that take up unnecessary storage space on their devices. An option to uninstall these apps is reportedly in the pipeline too.
Google is also said to be contributing up to US$1 billion to cover the costs of ad campaigns and special in-store kiosks that are manned by Google-trained staff. These Silver phones would be available for purchase in stores, unlike the Nexus and Google Play Edition devices which are mainly sold through the Google Play Store.
The program is alleged to include partners such as LG, Motorola and newer Chinese companies that are looking to break into the premium market segment. It is unlikely for HTC, Samsung and Sony to participate as they have spent considerable efforts developing their customized interfaces.
It seems that it will take another year or two for Google to push out the new program; a US$100 Nexus phone with a MediaTek processor is rumored to be released later this year.