Google is reportedly getting ready to ditch its Nexus branding in favour of a new stringent "Silver"certification program, which would encourage hardware partners to make sick flagships with limited bloatware.
The Information has a (paywalled) report with a lot of details about Google's supposed plans. In short, it sounds a bit like Google wants to set the rules for flagship hardware without having to be so hands-on with its actual development. In fact, from the outside, the plan might not look too different from the arrangements that already exist, with the exception of the new naming scheme. According to the report, the prime partners would be Motorola and LG, whereas Samsung and HTC would probably not play along. That mimics the arrangement that exists right now. LG has manufactured that last few Nexus smartphones, and Motorola's Moto X was designed under Google's tutelage. HTC and Samsung meanwhile, continue to insist on loading their phones with horrid skins that are inferior to stock Android.