If you're an Android user, then you had much to be happy about this week.
Just a few weeks after Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) gave the world a glimpse
of where iOS and Mac OS X were headed this year, Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) fired back with an in-depth sneak peek at the upcoming version of Android, as well as an eyeful of new wearables and its follow-up to Chromecast, Android TV. While the tweaks and feature updates are already winning praise from users who installed the developer preview of Android L -- and both Android TV and the Moto 360 smartwatch look very promising -- there was a bit of unspoken sadness that hung in the air at this year's Google I/O event.
For hardcore Android fans who want nothing but the purest Google experience, recent word that the Nexus line of phones and tablets would be discontinued hung heavy in the hearts of attendees.
Two months ago, The Information reported
that Google would soon cease production of Nexus devices, a product line which promises to run the latest version of Android unsullied by manufacturer skins and a glut of bloatware. And without the lengthy delays those wholly unwanted additions produce, Nexus devices are usually the ones to receive the OS updates first -- though Verizon
(NASDAQ:VZ) managed to botch that assurance, saddling the Samsung
(OTCMKTS:SSNLF) Galaxy Nexus with flagrant delays to OTA updates.
In the absence of Nexus devices, Google is said to introduce a program dubbed Android Silver, which purportedly aims to launch Nexus-like versions of the latest flagship devices (i.e. a Samsung Galaxy S5 without any manufacturer skin and little to no alterations to the OS) and would promote these devices to carriers and other retailers. As a bonus: Android Silver wouldn't be limited to just one manufacturer like the annual Nexus releases.
Although Android Silver looked to be an adequate replacement, there was just something about knowing that a new Nexus phone and tablet would always see an annual release that comforted users. Well, it now appears that the Nexus line isn't going anywhere for the time being.
In an interview with ReadWrite this week
, Dave Burke, Google's Head of Android Engineering and the Nexus program, flat-out denied that the company has any plans to discontinue the fan-favorite line.
"We are still invested in Nexus," Burke said. Referencing the Android Silver program, he added, "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 explained the inherent "statement of purity" the Nexus line exemplifies is essential to the development of Android at the coding level. "There is no way you can build the open source code without the phone or tablet or whatever you are building. You have to live and breathe the code you are developing."
He concluded, "I don't see why we would ever turn away from that, it wouldn't make sense."
Although Burke didn't go into detail about the Silver program, Michael Crider at Android Police confirmed
that "Silver is definitely real, and definitely exists at Google in some form." Adding, "Exactly what it will be when, and if, it debuts at retailers is still up in the air."
This news certainly comes to a relief to the most dedicated Android fans and hopefully signals to manufacturers and carriers that there is still a very strong demand for devices that are not only updated promptly but also run the software exactly as Google intended.
No positions in stocks mentioned.