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Nexus line will continue, confirms Google

It's become an accepted piece of wisdom that the Nexus 5 was to be the last Nexus phone and the Nexus 8 the last tablet. In light of Google's sale of Motorola to Lenovo and the impending Android Silver program everyone had accepted that Google was bowing out of the hardware business. But the Head of Android engineering, David Burke, has unequivocally told readwrite that Google is still invested in Nexus and will continue to produce the line alongside new Android versions.

AndroidPIT Nexus Family
It looks like the Nexus family will continue to grow, after all. / © AndroidPIT

While Burke didn't mention any devices specifically, and we all noticed the complete absence of Nexus talk at Google I/O, he did emphasize just how integral to the software design process the Nexus hardware project truly is.

When we are working, there are sort of two outputs. We’re building a Nexus device and we’re building the open source code. 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.

You can’t build a platform in the abstract, you have to build a device (or devices). So, I don’t think Nexus can 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.

-David Burke, Engineering Director, Google (Android) 

logo nexus
 © Google

Of course, Burke isn't necessarily saying that there will be Nexus phones being made, and the sole leak of a new Nexus this year has been the HTC-built ''Volantis'' tablet. Still, we know that there has been Nexus 6 (or Nexus 5 2014) talks with major manufacturers, we just don't know if they went anywhere yet. As Burke continued, ''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.''

htc volantis nexus teaser
We've seen evidence of a Nexus 8 so far, but not much about a Nexus 6. / © Android Police

Either way, even if Nexus will continue only as a tablet line it's a nice silver lining to the original story, which was looking more like dark clouds on the horizon heralding dark times ahead. Considering the immense popularity of the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 it would be a huge shame to specs nerds to lose them from the annual offerings, but we can understand how that very same popularity might have got the major OEMs a little hot and bothered. This is where Android Silver supposedly came in.

nexus5 silver
So, Android Silver is NOT a Terminator sent back in time to kill the Nexus line. / © Google, AndroidPIT

The Android Silver program will see Google dictating terms to each manufacturer to build Google-approved devices in much the same way as Nexus devices are now. The original idea had it that the Android Silver program would replace the Google Play edition devices and perhaps also the Nexus line as well, but that now seems not to be the case. Just how Google plans to manage an even greater investment in hardware production when all signs pointed to a gradual withdrawal we'll just have to wait and see.

What are your thoughts about this interview? Share your views on Google's hardware efforts below.

Source: readwrite


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  • Caspar Jul 10, 2014 Link to comment


  • Jay Chew Jun 27, 2014 Link to comment

    Low tier - Android One
    Mid tier - Nexus
    High tier - Android Silver

  • But will android L arrive to nexus 4?

    • Very good question. Google encourages 18 months of firmware support. The Nexus 4 lies a little outside that time frame. But the Nexus 4 is one of Google's most popular devices. I would certainly hope it will be on the update roster (and if not a ROM will definitely be done for it)

  • mangesh Jun 27, 2014 Link to comment

    its Google at its best....thank you from the bottom of my heart

  • Agreed. While I'm still a little skeptical this is extremely good news. Even with great low-cost offerings from Moto, OnePlus etc the Nexus line is a very clear frontrunner for me.

  • Nexus is too good to kill off. Consumers have begun to recognise the name as a "Google" product.

  • "The Android Silver program will see Google dictating terms to each manufacturer to build Google-approved devices in much the same way as Nexus devices are now" What does this mean? For example if google says no to micro sd, even OEM's can't do anything?

    • That's exactly right. Because Android Silver devices will be kind of like Nexus devices now Google will control everything, including the presence of SD cards. Silver is more like Nexus than GPe, so it's not like Google putting stock Android on an existing device but rather Google telling the OEMs how to make a Silver device.

      • Understood. Thanx. Lets see if it turns out to be good or bad.

      • Bojan M. Jun 27, 2014 Link to comment

        Those kinds of things are never good.

      • no sd card is bad for countries with bad data plans like mexico, cloud based storage is not good for the rest of the world because data plans are not accesible in other parts of the world. sd is neccesary for some markets

      • You're absolutely right @Jorge. It's all fine and good to go on about the expansion of LTE-A etc but really, South Korea is the only place where it's widespread. 3G is still not even everywhere and there's plenty of places with no coverage at all so the cloud argument is moot. Project Loon may change this in years to come but all that is a long way off yet.

  • As a Nexus phone user, so glad to hear this news!

  • Thank goodness!

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