Changes in the Android Landscape

I have been watching the Google Android landscape change for some time now. It is no secret that the movement in technology is being driven more by mobile technology now than by the desktop/laptop/tablet components. Google knows this and intends to be a major player.

Being connected to the Internet at home and away is becoming the norm. Lilliam and I were at Terraza’s Cafe & Deli yesterday evening, having a cappuccino, and there was a group of about 8 young people celebrating their last days of vacation.

As I scanned the group, everyone had a cell in their hand and were communicating in chat with others that were not there.

We are at the time of the year when the major releases hit the stores for the Christmas season.

Apple has just revealed its new Apple 7 and it is a high quality device. Not much question that it is the device that will be the benchmark to measure against.

Samsung also “exploded” on the scene with its flagship, the Note 7. It literally exploded by distributing with a manufacturing problem causing its battery to explode and catch fire.

What may not as evident to some is the movement of Samsung away from Android. Samsung has already moved its smart watch away from Android in favor of its own Tizen system. Samsung, like many other Android based cell phone manufacturers puts a heavy skin on top of Android to distinguish itself from the other manufacturers.

This uniqueness, added by all the various manufactures, causes one of the greatest weaknesses of the Android landscape when compared with Apple IOS. When Apple needs to update, for feature or security fix, it goes out to all eligible devices immediately.

When Google puts out a change, it has to wait for the manufacturers to integrate the changes into their version for distribution. This can take months to years to possibly never.

This problem is known to Google and when it purchased Motorola, it was assumed that it was to capture its manufacturing capability. With Google’s sale of Motorola, it was obvious that it didn’t think Motorola was a good choice.

Still, Google has sponsored its own brand, which was Nexus. It came out with vanilla Android and immediately (by Google’s standards) came out with fixes and new releases for the Nexus brand. In October, it will change its sponsored brand’s name to Pixel. A name it used on its last tablet.

It is rumored it will come out with two models. the Pixel and Pixel XL. XL will be the larger version. Google has used many different manufacturers for its devices. Last year’s versions were manufactured by LG and Huawei. This year’s Pixel will be manufactured by HTC.

Another rumor is that HTC is struggling for cash and is ripe to be bought by Google. HTC is capable of building good devices, so a good release might push that acquisition.

However, it is rumored that Huawei is building a new Pixel tablet. Huawei has also proven it can build solid devices.

The Google branded devices usually bring a premium price, but still normally a couple hundred dollars less than the closest comparable Apple models.

The good thing I am hoping to see, out of the continued pressure by Google, is for all manufacturers to start updating their operating systems more rapidly. If they do that, then everyone will have more secure systems. Until then, the Google supported brand will have an advantage and justify more money.

Another change this year is in the Android wear watch area. The Moto watch is stopping production as well as LG and Huawei. ASUS has come out with their ASUS Zen3.

I am looking forward to the October Google announcement to see what Google will unveil. My plan is to buy one and uses it a while before I upgrade Lilliam’s phone.

Google struggles to set a clear direction and stick to it, but it continues to have a lot of advantage economically and I like the Android system as well as I did my Apple 6+ IOS. I never say never, but at the present, I can’t imagine going back to an Apple phone.

3 thoughts on “Changes in the Android Landscape

  1. I have own two HTC phones since 2011 and they’ve been great. I still have and love my HTC One I have had since 2013.

  2. I too have an HTC and have owned them ever since I dropped Apple back in 2012. For me the decision to switch from an Iphone to an Android was pretty simple. Apple changed their Iphone from the 30 pin dock connector to the lightening connector at the end of 2012. This meant that I would have to buy all new charging units and other devices that connected to my Iphone. That would be a large additional cash outlay on top of an over-priced phone. Apple was also behind the curve on phone size. Many different Android models offered much bigger screen sizes than that of the Iphone 5. For me the time had come to switch from Apple to Android.

    Competition is a wonderful thing. With the many different manufacturers using Android the consumer has many choices. Strictly proprietary systems, like Apple, offer more control but limit choice. The customer can then be held hostage and must accept an unwanted change or switch to something different.

    This is happening again to Iphone users as Apple has removed the headphone jack in the new Iphone 7. In addition to the price of a new Iphone, customers will need to purchase a special dongle if they wish to connect their Iphone to headphones or any other audio device. In addition the user will not be able to charge the Iphone while using this dongle.

    Some studies show that on average a cell phone last between 18 months and 2 years. Realizing that the phone you buy today will likely be replaced in a couple of years, a smart consumer should consider that buying an overly high priced phone gains you little. In addition, Android releases a new version of its operating system once a year – similar to Apple. If done correctly, your phone should not have a version of Android that is more than a year old. When it becomes 2 years old you are likely to be buying a new phone.

    I have been very happy with HTC and will continue to keep an eye on them as well as Google and all the different products that are Android driven.

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