Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) cancelation of the Nexus smartphone line means that it will shelve plans for a Nexus 6 from LG Electronics (066570.KS), at least until February of 2015, instead releasing the device under its new premium handset program called Android Silver.
According to Evan Blass, or @evleaks, an industry expert who often breaks news about upcoming handsets on Twitter, the device meant to be the Nexus 6 will be released as an Android Silver device on Sprint in the U.S. LG’s Nexus 5 successor will run on a Qualcomm MSM8994 processor, @evleaks said. He did not offer details about other hardware specifications for the handset previously known as the Nexus 6.
LG handset, running a Qualcomm MSM8994, to be among first Silver devices. Successor to the Nexus 6 initiative, expected on Sprint in the US.
â€” @evleaks (@evleaks) May 17, 2014
The MS8994 is rumored to be either the Snapdragon 808 or 810, a pair of 64-bit processors the company is releasing in 2015 to compete with Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) A7 chip. Apple first released the 64-bit A7 in 2013 with the iPhone 5S.
Android Silver is an unannounced program that Google reportedly is preparing to rival Apple’s retail stores. According to The Information, which broke the news about Android Silver late in April, the program involves the sale of premium handsets running Google’s mobile operating system, sold at wireless carrier’s retail locations in branded booths, similarly to the Samsung Experience that the Korean manufacturer currently offers in Best Buy stores.
Manufacturers often modify Android for their handsets to differentiate from competitors, but Android Silver devices will reportedly run close to “stock,” or an unmodified version of Google’s OS. Employees at carrier retail locations taking part in the program will need to be trained specifically by Google, the report said.
As Google shifts away from its strategy of selling low-cost devices with hardware that rivals more expensive models, other manufacturers are eyeing the space. Oneplus, a new phone company made of former employees from the popular Chinese manufacturer Oppo, will release the One smartphone at Nexus price levels ($299 16GB, $349 64GB) later this year.
Oneplus, which reportedly has deeper ties to Oppo than it has revealed, is attempting to build publicity around its debut handset by giving the One away to consumers willing to smash their existing handsets on video.