Ahead of Google's annual developers conference on Wednesday, the biggest question seems to be whether the company will abandon a Nexus 6 release in favor of the Android Silver program to be announced at a later date amid conflicting reports.
Most recently, LG communications director Ken Hong said that the company was not aware of a Nexus 6 and that the Korean manufacturer was not involved in a follow-up to the popular Nexus 5. Hong joked that if LG were working on a Nexus 6, he had not been told about it.
Hon’s comments appeared to confirm an earlier report from The Information that Google was cancelling the Nexus program in favor of a new program called Android Silver. The search giant is said to be preparing kiosks inside of wireless carriers’ retail locations to compete with the experience offered by Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) stores.
The report confirmed an earlier scoop from Android Police that said Android Silver would involve a retail space similar to the Samsung Experience found in Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY) stores. Employees will reportedly be trained by Google to offer high-end devices under the program’s banner, eschewing the low-cost Nexus program.
Later reports from renowned gadget sleuth @evleaks confirmed the program and said that the phone that would have been released as the Nexus 6 was being reworked as an Android Silver device exclusive to Sprint in the U.S. Therefore, the release of a Nexus 6 – manufactured by LG and modeled on the LG G3 – was cancelled, and the entire program had been scrapped.
Google and LG to release Nexus 6, contrary to earlier reports?
Ausdroid, an Android news site based out of Australia, pointed out that an LG executive once said in 2013 that the company was not working on a Nexus 5. A few months later, the manufacturer partnered with Google to release the follow-up to 2012’s Nexus 4. Could LG’s Ken Hong be attempting a similar smoke screen regarding the release of the Nexus 6?
The earliest rumors about the Nexus 6 claimed the phone would have a 5.5-inch screen, and be based on the LG G3, much like the Nexus 5 had been based on the G2. Ausdroid reported Saturday that the Nexus 6 was still being developed, for a release date in late September or early October.
The site reported that a “source within Google who is close to the project” says it is still moving forward on the Nexus 6. Ausdroid’s source, which the site does not name, refutes earlier reports from The Information, made up of a team of former Wall Street Journal reporters who have a reputation for breaking big news about tech giants like Google, and Android Police, a site that has demonstrated a knack for getting exclusive information from inside the search giant thanks to well-placed anonymous sources. Most directly, Ausdroid's report is contrary to @evleaks' claim that the Nexus phone program was cancelled.
There is no Nexus 6. Farewell, Nexus. [discussion: http://t.co/dMTT3g393q]
— @evleaks (@evleaks) May 16, 2014
So what does this mean for fans of Android and the Nexus program?
When Google was preparing for I/O 2013, there were a number of leaks surrounding the Nexus 5, the most famous being a shot of a company employee holding the device in a promotional video. As the company prepares for I/O 2014, there have been no leaks regarding hardware, other than the occasional glimpse of the upcoming LG G Watch or Moto 360.
Based on the information currently out there, and despite LG’s habit of lying to conceal secret projects in the pipeline, a Nexus 6 release is possible (but unlikely) from the Korean manufacturer. HTC appears to be developing the Nexus 9 (codenamed Volantis), so reports about the program’s death may be greatly exaggerated, but only time will tell.
Are you looking forward to hearing more about Android Silver? Still hopeful about a Nexus 6 release? Let us know in the comments below.