Google could have big plans in store for the way that it and other smartphone makers sell and advertise their best Android phones. According to a series of slides allegedly shown inside of Google and leaked to Android Police, Google is developing a program called Android Silver, which would find carriers dedicating a section of their store to some of the top Android phones, each of which would come with some significant advantages over phones that weren't offered as part of the Silver program.
Quick OS updates and 24/7 video chat support
Phones in the alleged Silver program would run the latest version of Android and feature limited software customization, if any. They would also include a support program similar to Amazon's Mayday service, allowing people to begin a video chat with a support representative who could help them solve problems and learn about their phone or tablet at any time of the day. Staff at carrier stores would also help customers set up their new devices and transfer data over from their old ones, much like Apple Stores current do.
Google would largely have control over the purported in-store Android Silver kiosks. They would allegedly be designed and produced by Google, and the kiosks' staff would even have to be specially certified to work at them. Google would also promote the Android Silver brand to help drive demand for the selection of devices it offered. The slides also allege that anyone who bought and lost an Android Silver device would be able to receive a temporary phone on loan.
Google declined to comment on Android Silver. Android Police reports that the slides were made at the end of last year and hedges that it does not know the current status of the program, such as whether or not it is still in development.
The program certainly sounds ambitious — perhaps more so than Google can put together with the support of many major carriers and device manufacturers — but it would be a marked and major change in the way that Android phones are sold if it can pull it off. This would give a robust support network to major Android phones that can't be afforded by individual manufacturers without working together. And perhaps most importantly for Google, it would also begin to put Android front-and-center, as it's started to do a bit more of recently, making Android itself more into a product that customers would specifically be interested in.