The Verge has reported via the Wall Street Journal (paywalled, natch) that Google has decided to ditch its “most favored OEM” policy and will release its next flagship Nexus device through multiple OEMs in the U.S. and abroad. The logic is explained thusly:
…it seems that Google’s trying to get hardware OEMs to differentiate from each other based purely on the hardware and not on the various custom Android skins that cause major delays in updating the OS (and reduce functionality, in many cases).
And OEMs would do this…why? Do you really think Samsung and HTC are going undercut phones featuring their own OS grafts and compete with each other on hardware? The whole point of TouchWiz and Sense was for these OEMs to be able to differentiate their phones from the rest of the 1,000 other Android shartphones. If Google thinks it has any leverage in this relationship, they’re deluded. That train’s left the station. Sorry, Andy.
I’ll tell you exactly what will happen, if this rumor actually pans out: the manufacturers that take the bait from Google will do so because their access to 5.0 will be somehow tied to it. These devices will be released quietly with barely any marketing flourish – no killer robots, no barista-bashing – and they’ll end up selling as well as every other Nexus device has – or hasn’t. If Google gets too pushy, don’t be surprised if one of the major players pulls an Amazon and forks Android themselves. It’s an extension of the same logic they’re using now to justify the crapification of stock Android with their bloat. They honestly believe they’re adding value, so what’s to stop them from cutting the cord altogether and just rolling their own?