The head of Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Nexus device program said that the company is not discontinuing its Nexus program, and said instead the company is planning to release a new Nexus device when it releases its new Android L operating system this fall.
The comments are notable in light of rumors that Google would discontinue its long-running Nexus program and replace it with a new initiative called Android Silver. In detailed comments to ReadWrite, Google's Dave Burke declined to comment on Android Silver but made it clear that "We are still invested in Nexus."
Burke, the head of Android engineering and the Nexus program at Google, explained that Google can't develop a new version of Android without also developing a device to go with it. "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 told ReadWrite. "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."
Burke said that the Nexus program remains the way Google can show off exactly how it believes Android should work. "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," he said.
According to an April report in The Information, Google planned to scrap its four-year-old Nexus Android device program in favor of a program called "Android Silver" aimed at delivering high-end smartphones attuned to Google's specifications to better compete with Apple's iPhones in the premium smartphone segment. The program is scheduled to debut next year.
"Android Silver is not something that we are commenting on right now," Burke told ReadWrite. But the publication reported that Silver would involve Google paying top Android smartphone makers like Samsung and LG to build Android smartphones to its particular specifications, and that Tier 1 wireless carriers like AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) would sell them through their retail channels. It would apparently run alongside Google's Nexus program.
With an apparent confirmation of a new Nexus in the works, speculation now turns to which manufacturer would build the device. LG has built several previous Nexus phones, but the company has recently distanced itself from the program. Recently, HTC has been rumored to be building a Nexus 9 tablet with LTE for a fourth-quarter release.
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