I was a big fan of the affordable, feature-rich Nexus lineup, so when Google scrapped it and launched their own Pixel brand of phones I wasn’t particularly happy, but with Pixel 2 on the horizon, I think I’m ready to embrace it.
When Google partnered with LG for the Nexus 5, they made the best phone I’ve ever had. I saved up for weeks in my £5-per-hour part-time job especially to get one at launch. It was fantastic. The body, yeah it was plastic, but it fit my hand perfectly and it had more to offer than the iPhone for a much lower price. Being first to receive Android updates is something I’ve always enjoyed and wireless charging was a big plus for me.
After 2 years, once I’d broken the damn thing, I was so sad to say goodbye that I wrote a whole blog post about it. Choosing a new phone was pretty tough, but I held out and got the Nexus 5X. Originally, I was delighted that Google had teamed up with LG again to launch another affordable phone, this time with a better camera, faster charging via USB-C and a fingerprint sensor – which is something my iPhone friends had had for a while. However, like many, I soon became dissatisfied with the sluggish performance and I still am. My Nexus 5X freezes and reboots almost every day, which is ridiculous.
With the Pixel, and it’s big brother the Pixel XL, Google decided to launch their own brand of smartphone rather than partner up with a hardware manufacturer and they targeted a completely different end of the market by making it a premium device.
For a long time, I stayed quietly unimpressed with Google’s efforts to compete with the iPhone and other high-end models, which is strange as this is something that the big G had always been working towards. I may have been slightly bitter that the Pixel didn’t suit my student budget, but I also thought it was crazy that Google is launching a premium phone because their whole effort with Android is to give everyone access to a smartphone so that more people are using Google apps, thus making data for targeted advertising and profit for Google.
Beyond that, I was just unimpressed with the fact that Google wasn’t launching anything particularly exciting. I was slightly annoyed that the Google Assistant was Pixel only, but that’s changed in recent weeks and is now launching on other Android handsets across the world.
Google did a clever
I’m ready to accept that I was slightly wrong though, and here’s why.
As the Nexus line up was targeted at the lower end of the market, other manufacturers who were producing fantastic budget phones (Motorola, OnePlus etc) found it hard to compete. With Google out of that space, it’s now driving competition meaning that there will be more choice, better phones and lower prices – all of which bring Google dominance and capital by working with Google’s ecosystem of apps. Not only that, with the premium Pixel devices costing more Google has more of a chance to compete directly with the likes of Apple and Samsung and set an example of what Android can do. That’s damn clever.
So, with talk of there being a second iteration of Pixel devices later this year (which I might be able to afford as I’ll be working), I’m ready to embrace it. I’m particularly hoping that Google brings back wireless charging, especially as many suspect that it will feature in the next iPhone. With the iPhone potentially onboard we could start to see wireless charging become available in public spaces, as we have with WiFi. I’m also hoping that Google proves the rumours true and brings us water and dust proofing.
I, like many others, am not ready to move away from Google’s own devices because they are first to get Android updates. So, if Google is able to pair these features with Pixel’s strong camera game and perhaps a battery and performance boost, then we could be on to a winner!
What do you guys want to see on the next premium smartphone? Let me know!
Image Credit: By WClarke – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 (Modified)