Google often receives criticism over the level of fragmentation with regard to mobile operating system Android. It’s not really their fault, however, as handset makers are the ones ultimately responsible for pushing post-purchase support and software updates. Perhaps then, they just need a little extra motivation.
To that end, Google is said to be working on an attempt to unify the sale and support experience via something called Android Silver. It’s basically a premium support initiative that would include setup assistance and help with transferring data to a new phone from trained staff at wireless carrier stores. The employers would also be tasked with helping new phone owners make their first purchase on the Play Store.
After the sale, customers would have access to a Hangout Assistant (think Amazon’s Mayday service). Furthermore, Silver would feature a service called Never Lost that would allow users to remotely track and wipe the device if necessary.
Qualifying devices must run the latest version of Android with little or no customization. Only five handsets can be labeled as part of the program at any time.
The rumor is based on documents allegedly shown to Google employees back in December. As such, plans could have easily changed and it’s possible that Silver was either scrapped altogether or perhaps postponed as Google tweaks the offering.
It doesn’t sound like a bad idea on paper although limiting the service to just five phones at any given time could likely cause some riffs among OEMs vying for such coveted branding.