Google’s Android Silver Program on Ice

Google’s expensive plan to turn its Android mobile software into a high end consumer brand on par with Apple’s iPhone is on hold.

The program, which is called Android Silver and was reported on in detail by The Information in April, stalled amid the July departure of Nikesh Arora, one its chief architects, according to people familiar with its status. Mr. Arora was Google’s sales chief and also oversaw the company’s partnerships with handset makers and wireless carriers. Google has since been redoubling its efforts to boost a different Android program.

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Android One, which The Information wrote about here, officially debuted in India yesterday. That program, part of Google’s “complicated” love affair with hardware, also requires significant concessions from the handset manufacturers, which risk eroding their individual brands in exchange for a short-term lift in market share. After India, Google will help bring additional Android One devices to Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and other countries by the end of this year.

A Google spokesman had no comment.

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