As Google reportedly shelves Android Silver and moves ahead with Android-Chrome OS merger

According to a handful of new reports, it appears that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is discontinuing a plan dubbed Android Silver that would have created a line of devices that featured a pure and unaltered version of Android, with the Android brand--and not the brand of the phone's manufacturer--front and center. Instead, now it appears Google is moving forward with efforts to combine its Android operating system for smartphones with its Chrome operating system for laptops.

First, according to a Re/code article citing unnamed sources, Google has shuttered its Android Silver program due to lack of interest from handset makers. First rumored earlier this year, Android Silver was reportedly set to launch sometime next year with high-end devices from top handset makers that featured an unaltered version of Google's Android operating system. The goal, according to the reports, was to create one version of the Anrdoid operating system that developers could build applications for, instead of multiple variations from different handset makers. Android Silver was also rumored to include a marketing component from Google that would have placed Android Silver devices in special sales kiosks in retail stores.

However, handset makers reportedly balked at Android Silver over worries that their own brands would have taken a second seat to Google's brand. Such a position is not surprising given the efforts from vendors like Samsung and HTC toward creating specialized Android experiences--like HTC's Sense user interface, for example.

Google executives have repeatedly said that the company's Nexus program will continue into the future--the Nexus program is intended to highlight a "pure" Android experience that is unencumbered by tweaks from handset makers.

But that doesn't mean Google's work on Android has stalled. According to a separate report from the Wall Street Journal, Google's Hiroshi Lockheimer is now overseeing the engineering teams behind both Android and Chrome, Google's OS for laptops. Previously, Lockheimer was VP of engineering for Android. According to the WSJ, the previous head of Chrome, Linus Upson, has left Google.

Google has hinted that it may eventually merge Android and Chrome. Indeed, at the company's developer conference this summer, it introduced tools to allow developers to more easily create applications for both Android and Chrome.

Of course, Google isn't the only company attempting to unify the desktop and mobile experience. Apple has introduced a number of functions and services that work across its iOS-powered mobile devices and its Mac-branded desktop and laptop products. And Microsoft is reportedly planning to create a relatively seamless experience across desktops, tablets and mobile phones in its forthcoming Windows 10 operating system.

For more:
- see this WSJ article
- see this Re/code article
- see this Business Insider article

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