Boy was it a rough year for the Android platform. To quote the headline from a recent Android Police article, when is the last time you purchased a Android tablet? I think that market has pretty much dried up, with the exception of Amazon’s fire tablets. A brief glance at Best Buy’s site shows that they are still selling Android tablets with software that is 3 years old. Honestly, if I could only spend $200 on a highly portable device I would choose a Chromebook over a 3 year old tablet any day.
The first half of the year opened with promise in the Android world. Samsung lit up Spring 2016 with their Galaxy S7 phone. It was widely praised for its camera which many said was as good as or better than the iPhone. When Motorola introduced the Moto G4 and G4 Plus in July, cell phone buyers found a “clubhouse leader” in value. These phones cost $200 to $250.
However, the around the time that fall hit the positive buzz was crushed with a mallet. Who could forget the Samsung Galaxy Note 7? They rushed it to market and even produced many of the batteries in house. This phone was was the iPhone 7 killer. Apple’s 7/ 7 Plus was supposed to be a big disappointment. In a twist of fate, Samsung got the gong here, to the tune of billions of dollars. Samsung cut corners with battery development on this phone and even fooled the UL into allowing them to conduct safety tests at an internal lab. Multiple Note 7’s caught on fire. All Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s were recalled and to date over 90% of customers have turned theirs in.
Google also disappointed us. For years, they released a Nexus phone once a year. These phones had a premium feel to them and cost in the $300 range. Out with the Nexus and bring on the Pixel. If you really want to get an top of the line Android phone, get a Pixel. You’ll need to pay iPhone money for it as it starts around $650. There have been a lot of Verizon commercials for the Pixel, but you can use it on any carrier if you buy directly from Google. (Technically, you could buy one from Verizon and use it with ATT or T-Mobile, buy its a pointless hassle). It’s a shame that the Nexus phones are gone.
I don’t think Android phones are going anywhere. I think they are a viable option for people who can appreciate the functionality that these phones offer or for buyers who need a phone that is in the $200’s or less. Sadly, these year could have been so much better for Google / Android / their partners. For all other smartphone users, iPhone is the slam dunk easy choice. It’s less confusing and hard to mess up.