Google ditching Play editions in lead up to Android Silver launch?

It looks like Google may be removing the Play edition of some of its products in the lead up to the launch of Android Silver.

The Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z Ultra, HTC One M7 and the LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play editions were all out of stock for an extended period of time, and now the search engine giant has removed three of them from its Play Store altogether.

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It is thought that Google is planning to work more closely with top manufacturers in order to develop handsets with premium specifications that will then be sold under its new Android Silver brand.

Silver is not predicted to replace existing hardware ranges, but will rather be a set of standards that Google will outline for new devices. It is expected to launch in 2015, but with a new Nexus on the way this year, the company could be ditching its Google Play range a little earlier than expected.

Google Play versions of hardware ship with the stock version of the Android OS but do not carry the Nexus branding. Updates for these devices are delivered by Google (bypassing carriers), but are supplied by the original device manufacturer.

Read more: Google has no plans to abandon Nexus smartphones and tablets

UK users have not been given the option of experiencing Google Play editions, as the firm has not extended them to British shores yet. It is thought that Android Silver is likely to be more of a global proposition.