With the removal of the Samsung Galaxy S4 from the roster, Google's selection of Google Play Edition devices has slimmed down to only two handsets -- only the Moto G and HTC One (M8) remain after the removal of the HTC One (M7), Sony Z Ultra and the LG G Pad 8.3-inch tablet.
Google Play Edition (GPE) mobile devices come equipped with unadulterated versions of the Android operating system. GPE devices receive direct support from Google and retail versions have only been available on Google's Play Store.
Before the Galaxy S4 GPE was officially removed from the Play Store, Google listed the handset as being out of stock. With no announced plans for a GPE version of the Galaxy S5 and the stock Android program's selection dwindling, it's unclear how much longer the GPE program will last.
While it may appear the GPE program is fading into a fond memory, Google hasn't made any announcements to support or disprove the notion. Just as quickly as GPE phones were removed from the program, new handsets and tablets could arrive to reinvigorate the program.
There was speculation GPE would be replaced by Android Silver, a program that would allow cell service providers to offer post-paid handsets with stock versions of the Android OS. However, Nikesh Arora, Google's previous chief business officer, was said to have been heading up the Android Silver plan before he left to work for SoftBank, Sprint's parent company.
There were also rumors at the beginning of 2014 that suggested Google was preparing to discard its Nexus program in favor of launching Android Silver. Dave Burke, head of Android engineering and Google's Nexus program, assured consumers that the Nexus program would remain intact indefinitely.
"Android Silver is not something that we are commenting on right now," Burke said. "But the prospect of Silver doesn't mean that Nexus is going away."
While Google hasn't been ready to talk about Android Sliver, and may never discuss it, the search engine company has made moves that could help to usher in the program.
Back in late July, Google purchased drawElements and acquired the Finnish startup's family of 3D benchmarking tools. The use of drawElements' drawElements Quality Program could help Google offer more detailed system requirements to hardware manufacturers and enable the standardization Android Silver would potentially seek to deliver.
"By providing high-quality API implementations, hardware vendors can ensure a stronger and less-fragmented market for application developers and consumers," stated drawElements.