I got a new phone this weekend, the LG/Google Nexus 4, and I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for a few weeks now, so I thought a good topic would be to talk about my thoughts on Android.
My first android phone was the HTC Hero (alternatively known as the G2, pictures on the right), I got this phone back in 2009 not long after it had come out and android was just starting to become a little more widespread. I had this phone for about 2 years before I bought a second hand HTC Desire (second in from the right) from a friend. In the last few years there’s been a lot of demand and hype given to tablets, starting off with the Apple iPad. I never really had a desire for an iPad as I just found that the ~10 inch size of one of these tablets is just too large to be comfortably portable/useful for holding (this and probably my dislike of iOS), and the fact that I have a £100 12″ thinkpad X60, I just don’t think I could justify spending £400 or so on one! Anyway, so the last year has brought about the newest craze.. 7″ tablets. The market has been flooded with Android based 7″ tablets, and Apple even felt left out enough to release their own. For quite a while I refused to get one as I just didn’t feel like I had a use for one, but eventually I gave in after hearing such raving reviews about the Nexus 7 (pictured 3rd from the right). I managed to get the 16GB version for £180 (it’s since gone down to £159!), and I really do think it’s a great device, although I still think I don’t use it enough (especially now I’ve got my new phone). So, now onto my latest device, the Nexus 4; this really is an amazing piece of kit. The quality of this phone is just amazing for it’s price tag! The phone retails at £279 unlocked direct from google, however I was already paying £12/month for giffgaff (unlimited data, 250mins, unlimited texts) and decided to try and cut down on my data usage and go for a 24 month T-Mobile deal at £15.50 a month (1GB data, 50mins, 250 texts – luckily I don’t really call or text thanks to whatsApp/Gmail/Google Chat) as it works out at £337 (after £35 topcashback) total which is a great deal for such a good phone.
Back to the reason I started writing this blog – Android! I really wanted to talk about how much I love the OS and why I really do think it’s the future of mobile devices (possibly not just touchscreen). Due to the open source nature of Android, there is a huge development crowd behind almost all android devices. I’ve just had a look on the XDA forums for HTC Hero development and was surprised to see that there’s still ongoing development for this phone (ICS), and I’ve been running the current latest version of Android on my HTC Desire (JB 4.2.2). What does this mean then? It means your android device has its life expectancy extended greatly due to the fact that developers still hack the Android code to make it work on old devices and rejuvenate them to have the feel of a new device. Obviously hardware will eventually become outdated, but for myself at least it’s meant that rather than getting sick of my “old” phone after a year, they’ve both lasted me two years. Back when android was in it’s early days it was fairly easy to understand why iPhones were more popular, but the Android OS has come a long long way in a short time (about 5/6 years since it was first released on the G1), and I can honestly say that I would rather have an Android device over iPhone, which was probably not true a year ago. I feel one of the main improvements of Android phones is their design/build quality, which had quite a lot of catching up to do, but a lot of the Android phones coming to the market today rival/supersede the iPhone’s in my opinion. The build quality of my HTC devices has never been an issue, they’ve taken lots of abuse over the years and are still going strong, but I’ve seen a lot of poorly made phones that have been shoved to the market without enough physical testing.
So, what’s next for Android? Android hardware seems to follow Moore’s law, in that every two years the processing power doubles. The hardware specs for current android devices are insanely good; take the new Samsung S4 coming out next week, it has a 1.6GHz octco-core CPU, 1.9GHz snapdragon 600 GPU, 2GB RAM, 441dpi screen. I feel like the hardware has become advanced enough for the next year, and the technology that should be focused on now is the battery (rather than making phones with a bigger battery, put more money into researching newer battery technologies!), although at the same time, with more efficient, powerful hardware comes battery savings. Anyway, that’s enough rambling, hopefully soon I’ll get a chance to write a post on the nexus 4 and what makes it such a great device!