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New Google Pixel 3, Pixel Slate, and Home Hub (blog.google)
322 points by alanfranzoni 8 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 571 comments





I feel like I'm taking crazy pills when I see all these Android phones with notches on the top, but no screen going all the way to the bottom. Apple explained they wanted an edge to edge screen, and that the notch was a compromise to achieve that goal. Now all the android devices are copying the compromise without trying to copy the goal.

For Pixel in particular it really feels like they've started copying the iPhone's hardware choices in some ways, for no real reason that I can discern. The notch, eliminating the headphone jack, etc. Then they even matched it on price (heck, isn't the Pixel actually more expensive than an iPhone if you match them on flash size?). I was a Google phone fan back in the days of the Nexus 4, but these latest attempts feel like Google trying to force their market position up rather than embracing their niche.

I don't have any personal experience with this, but I saw this article about Google killing the headphone jack:

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3284186/mobile/bring-back-th...

Yeah, Apple killed headphone jacks on the iPhone. But they also:

1) Gave you lightning headphones that work on all iPhones

2) Have 3rd party lightning headphones that all work on all iPhones

3) Gave you a lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter that worked on all iPhones with whatever regular 3.5mm headphones you previously used with your phones

4) Made better bluetooth earbuds for moving away from wired headphones entirely

Android manufacturers have not matched that with USB-C audio. They just copied "Step 0) Remove the headphone jack."


Google did all those things.

The Pixel 3 will include USB C headphones and a dongle [1]. They have worked with Bose and other manufacturers on new bluetooth headphones that have additional functionality (switching between apps, talking with the assistant app). [2]

[1] https://www.cnet.com/news/pixel-3-includes-usb-c-headphones-...

[2] https://www.blog.google/products/assistant/headphones-optimi...


Yeah, they'll include a dongle that will break in less than a year with very casual use. Ask me how I know.

And there are _very_ few third-party options that work with the Pixel lineup -- not necessarily Google's fault, but early adopters of the no-3.5mm trend are being punished while the market catches up.

Also, I already have headphones. I don't want Google's USB C headphones. They wouldn't need to include any of this junk with the phone if they didn't remove the jack in the first place.


    Yeah, they'll include a dongle that will break in less than a year with very casual use. Ask me how I know.
FWIW, this isn't true in my experience. I've kept mine in my pocket jangling around with my keys and use it frequently, and never had any issues.

    Also, I already have headphones. I don't want Google's USB C headphones. They wouldn't need to include any of this junk with the phone if they didn't remove the jack in the first place.
If you already have headphones you like, it seems like this is no different between Pixel/iPhones.

I'm not a fan by any means of axing the 9mm jack, but to get around jackless electronics, I've been using a tiny (and cheap) bluetooth receiver so I can keep using my old headphones... it's been great, and no more annoying that charging wireless headphones.

This is not the model I have, but I've something very similar by Anker https://www.amazon.com/Roav-Bluetooth-Noise-Cancellation-Int...

EDIT: Sidenote, I don't know how much I'd trust cheap bluetooth adapters re: security... there is a non-zero chance it's spewing my conversations out, ripe for anyone w/ the proper equipment to listen in. <Tin Hat />


Funny - at least that one doesn't lie about apt-x support. Bluetooth audio sounds like crap to me, I'll be using wired headphones until the patents on non-crap Bluetooth audio expire, I guess.

Supply chain issues notwithstanding, I think you're pretty safe with a CSR bluetooth chip - they're in everything. Whether it's a clone or an original though, no idea.


What confuses me about Bluetooth audio is that I did the math a while ago and unless I got it wrong, reasonably modern Bluetooth should have the bandwidth to stream uncompressed digital audio... So why are we still stuck with this awful lossy compression?

I feel you haven't read the comment I responded to.

I don't think you read the comment you responded to. Wlesieutre correctly points out that the Android marketplace has multiple incompatible standards of USB-C headphone dongle and USB-C earbuds, so they won't necessarily work with another USB-C Android device in your household.

You can say that's not Google's fault, and that it doesn't apply to Pixel devices specifically. But like it or not, Google chose to vomit their platform across dozens of manufacturers and thousands of devices. If they didn't want the kind of chaotic inconsistency exampled above, they should have gone with the iPhone/Pixel approach from the beginning.


I’m not just talking about one manufacturer on the Android side though, I’m talking about compatibility in the whole ecosystem. Google is including headphones that work with their phone, great, it would be embarrassing it they didn’t.

If the headphone cable breaks and you buy replacement USB-C earbuds from another manufacturer, will it work with Google’s phones? Or will Google’s earbuds work with your partner’s non-Pixel phone?

The point I want to make is that’s not a question you need to ask with Lightning or 3.5mm headphones. With USB-C you do.


Since the Pixel Phones implement an open standard for USB-C audio actually yes it should just work cross device. Interesting this isn't something that's actually true of lighting headphones. There's no way to use those on any other brand of phone.

I think what you're really saying here is that you like the fact that the IPhone has huge market share. That's a fair position to hold, but I personally vastly prefer open standards that can be implemented by anyone to closed ones.


In cases like this "should" often translates to 'no' then 'sometimes' then 'mostly' but rarely a simple 'yes'.

EX: "Why USB-C audio still doesn't work" https://www.pcworld.com/article/3284186/mobile/bring-back-th...


Though reading the specifics there, it looks like Google's adapters in particular should work with any other phone because they can handle analog or digital signals. So they're doing well.

Other manufacturers are doing... less well.


Google's adapters can work on most phones, but Google's phones can't work with most adapters :-(

It's unfortunate because it's the "USB-C standard" not to do analog through the pins, but I think this a case where it's ok to break the standards. I'm not sure if there are any IEEE fines for that though.

> I’m talking about compatibility in the whole ecosystem

Uh... Apple's solution is Lightning-only, Google's is a standard USB thing. Surely the argument goes exactly the other way.

> If the headphone cable breaks and you buy replacement USB-C earbuds from another manufacturer, will it work with Google’s phones?

Yes, it does, because this is a standard USB-C signal. You're asserting stuff that simply isn't true.


As described in the above PCWorld link, the problem is that the standard is open ended and the ecosystem didn't all agree on how to deal with analog vs digital audio signals and devices. Some USB-C headphones or adapters will be happy with whatever. Others will not.

Since some phones can output an analog audio signal over the USB-C connector (and ship dongles without a DAC), while others output digital only and rely on the dongle including its own DAC, the argument absolutely does not go the other way. Any lightning headphones or lighting to 3.5mm dongle will work on any phone with a lightning port.

EDIT: Here's a separate complaint - if you want to charge an iPhone while you have headphones plugged in, there are at least splitter/dongle accessories for that. USB-C Android phone? Good luck.

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/5/18/17369236/a...

>Android Police reported that Google quietly pulled the listing for the one adapter it had in its online store without ever selling it. The product is also unavailable on the manufacturer’s website. According to Android Police, a few units did ship from Amazon, but the reviews were so bad that the product was quickly pulled.


See today's Android Police artice on the Moshi adapter that just got re-released today.

https://www.androidpolice.com/2018/10/09/moshi-type-c-audio-...

Comments on that page point to this one on Amazon, looking very similar but a lot cheaper, with positive reviews: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FCZY1ZB/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_T2qV....


> Here's a separate complaint - if you want to charge an iPhone while you have headphones plugged in, there are at least splitter/dongle accessories for that. USB-C Android phone? Good luck.

I've got a USB-C Note 8 (and the same would be true of the newer S9/Note 9 generation) and it's got no problem charging while using headphones, since Samsung—the leading Android handset maker—hasn’t dropped the 3.5mm jack and, indeed, doubled down on it by including premium AKG wired earbuds after other smartphone manufacturers started axing the jack.


The more I hear about issues with USB-C the sadder I get. It feels like we had an opportunity for 'one connector to rule them all' but the standards are so loose that what we got was something that looks like one connector but could be one of many, and it may or may not work for a particular use.

the standard is pretty clear and give options to make a cheap or expensive product.

the shock is that apple and samsung both decide to make very expensive products, that implements the "cheap" options as a way to lock consumers. ...and there is a fool born every second, as the saying goes.

did samsung had to omit the ADC in their dongle? no. did apple had to omit the other bus protocols in theirs? no. their price and volume could have literally made the dongles cheaper with all the features. but doing so lock all the fools in for upgrades and prevent brand move.


What are you even talking about? Samsung has no dongle and continues to put headphone jacks in all of their devices.

All true. I would like to tack on, that Apple recently stopped providing the included 3.5mm headphone adapter with newly purchased iPhones (include iPhone 7 and 8 purchases)[0].

[0] https://9to5mac.com/2018/09/12/iphone-xs-tidbits-airpower/


Sure, but they gave it a few years until they did so. Nowadays, I don't even use the adapters. I've bought wireless headphones or lightning-earphones.

A big gap for some people is that the wireless headphones can't be used on airplanes.

That is not true. You can enable Bluetooth whilst in flight safe mode. KLM even an ounce this on their flights. I own airpods and Bose QC35s and use both wirelessly on flights all the time.

Yup, also heard this on my flight some days ago: "Feel free to enable Bluetooth after selecting flight mode."

Did you dictate this via speech recognition?

"an ounce"


Typing without autocorrect, one of the more common mistakes I make is clipping the spacebar instead of c/v/b/n.

Come to think of it, I don't think autocorrect would catch this anyway.


Nope iPhone keyboard plus not proof reading...

As of 2013, this is incorrect in the US. Here's a FAA press release:

https://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsI...

> You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

I use my BT headphones when traveling all the time.


Interesting, thanks for the info on that. I was on an international Air Canada flight last week and they specifically announced that nothing wireless at all was to be used during the flight, including all headphones.

EDIT to add the official policy: "Air Canada is happy to announce that, beginning on April 1, 2018, passengers on our flights will be able to use their personal headphones (of any kind) on our in-flight entertainment system or their personal mobile devices. This service is available from gate to gate at any time, except, of course, while the safety video is being played. Please note that wireless or Bluetooth headphones may be used only on flights with WiFi, because of their technology."

https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/book/travel-news-an...

My flight was definitely a non-wifi flight, so I guess that was the issue?


Confusingly I think this means that you can only use wireless headphones with the 'provided entertainment' when the flight has Wifi because that's how they get their entertainment to your device. If the flight doesn't have wifi you have to use the in seat entertainment system and therefore can't use wireless headphones (because the entertainment system doesn't support them) not because you're not allowed to have them enabled.

Maybe the poster meant that you cannot plug in your wireless headset to the aircraft's entertainment system, as you can with a 3.5mm jack.

Uhh this depends on what kind of headset.

My Bose AE2 wireless headphones are wireless, but also come with an audio jack for wired connectivity.


I can't say, but IME all major American airlines hand out free wired headphones on flights.

Only on international flights.

> Only on international flights.

It's not only on international flights. They'll do it on reasonably long domestic flights as well (e.g. JFK→DEN).


The only real reason to put your phone in airplane mode is to stop it from draining its battery looking for mobile networks.

And, apparently, to stop your phone from rapidly pinging multiple towers at lower altitudes.

Wait. Really?

Well airplane mode shuts bluetooth and other radios off, so yeah, if you respect airplane mode you cannot use wireless peripherals.

Just not true. I fly all the time for work (4 flights a week), KLM eve announce that you can enable Bluetooth once flight safe mode is enabled and use Bluetooth headphones.

2013 FAA allowed Bluetooth and wifi on flights[0]. Here's a recent article on the subject of what the major airlines will allow [1]. And a screenshot for doubters of me activating Bluetooth while in airplane-safe mode, which has been a feature of every modern phone me and my friends have [2].

[0] https://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsI...

[1] https://traveltips.usatoday.com/rules-using-bluetooth-airpla...

[2] https://photos.app.goo.gl/riJejAkyxp9MRpsi7


That's KLM-specific. There are no messages like that on many other airlines and the whole idea of airplane mode is RF protection. I'm happy that they basically say: it's bullshit, just ignore it, but officially most airlines still request no Bluetooth.

I have not been asked to switch Bluetooth off specifically on any flight. They ask that you enter flight safe mode. After that provided flight safe mode is on they don’t give any further instruction. On an iPhone at least you can enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and remain in flight safe mode. Many flight have Wi-Fi now, considerably more powerful than Bluetooth....how do they work safely?

My cynical answer would be: it never really mattered, so this is a way to allow new tech without scraping the whole idea. Especially given the number of possible radio bands and nobody publishing what the protested ranges were supposed to be.

Regardless of it mattering or not it is simply not true that that you cannot use them on flights, airlines actually announce that you can use them during safety announcements.

Again: some airlines do.

Some airlines make announcements, they are allowed on all airlines I have travelled on in the last 2yrs (when I started travelling a lot..)

I mean I don’t think I can prove that literally every airline does allow Bluetooth headphones, but see previous comments where the FAA approved Bluetooth headphones for use in 2013, maybe you could provide a specific airline which does not allow Bluetooth headphones?


"that work on all iPhones", "that work on all iPhones", "that work on all iPhones".

Versus "uses a standard that more than one vendor will license".

Yet you seem to think the first is better.

I have a iPhone XS. I had really nice headphones. I despise the headphone adapter, it's horrible in my pockets and I am waiting for the cord to fray just like my Macbook power cables do.

"Go all in on Apple" or "sucks to be you" are very polarizing options.


The operative difference that the person (and your quotes) highlight is they shipped a solution “that works” on all the devices you care about. Using a standard technology is a good idea on paper, but I’d rather get something that “just works”.

Explain to me how an analog 1/8th inch jack doesn't "just work."

Explain to me how an analog 1/4 inch jack doesn't "just work." After all, that's what's on the end of my good headphones. I never heard anyone complaining about dongles when it was 1/4 inch to 1/8th inch.

"that works" for varying degrees of "works". I happen to think that the lightning-to-3.5 adapter doesn't "just work" in the Apple sense, but is rather "minimally functional", not aesthetic, not graceful.

It's a difference between "I know it works on my device" and "I don't know if it will play sound, answer calls, not work at all, or only work if I turn on usb storage every time"

Given that my discussion was between Lightning and 3.5", I think none of those "comparisons" were particularly apt.

I might have agreed with you... except the adapter is very cheap and can be easily replaced if it fails.

(And complaining that it's horrible in your pocket is just stupid. If you hate wires in your pocket, you should be first in line to get wireless headphones. I bought QC35s and they've been the best, most used headphones I've ever owned—and I've got some very fancy "high end" cans.)


The Samsung flagship phones retained the jack and has USB C. And no silly notch, just a clean design around the smallest their sensors could be.

LG flagships have a notch, but are great otherwise. I'd argue their notch came first with the LG V10 and V20, but they were bigger and allowed you to use the rest of the screen as a 'second screen' which is what it is marketed as.

The V20 second screen seemed a much better idea though. No need for the main screen to be on, but have a tiny second screen that can remain on for notifications, music player and such.

Even placing it at top right seemed more sensible than splitting in 2. Can't comment on the reality or in day to day use as I never encountered a v20. They were never released here.


Not to mention they're much easier to get than USB-C ones. Google's official dongle is rarely in stock while Apple's is available in stores all over. I went in for one this week to see if I could live with no headphone jack and the guy just gave me one and told me I didn't have to pay. Yeah you could go to Best Buy if you need a dongle ASAP, but then you get to play the "is this analog or digital" game.

> Android manufacturers have not matched that with USB-C audio. They just copied "Step 0) Remove the headphone jack."

Well, except Samsung. Who, IIRC, is has by far the highest flagship sales of any Android handset vendor; they not only kept the headset jack but for the last couple generations have started tearing the premium wired earbuds they are not including as a selling feature.


There is a reports already that currently flagships are the last ones: https://www.google.lt/amp/s/amp.tomsguide.com/us/samsung-dro...

My pixel 2 also came with an adapter for the 3.5mm, and my bluetooth headphones worked fine as always. And I think google also has the pixel earbuds?

See linked article above, you have an adapter that works with your phone, but it might not work with your friend’s phone, or your friends’ adapter/headphones may not work with your phone, and if your adapter breaks and you replace it you’ll need to be careful with finding a compatible replacement. With lightning headphones and adapters they’re all just compatible.

I don’t know anyone with Pixel earbuds, but their reviews online aren’t stellar.


> "With lightning headphones and adapters they’re all just compatible."

Except with, you know, the large majority of the phones in the market today.


Ok, they're compatible with phones that have a lightning port. Unlike the USB-C "one port shape, a million devices and cables implementing various optional subsets of the specification" compatibility mess.

As long as you use the cables that came with each device, you're great. If you're buying aftermarket accessories, research carefully, and best-case find a review from someone with the exact same set of devices and cables.

I say this as a USB-C laptop owner. The either-orientation plugs are great, the charging from whichever side of the computer is more convenient is great. But just because a cable says it supports DisplayPort alternate mode with multi-stream transport at 4K/60Hz doesn't mean it's going to work.

EDIT - actually more to the point, just because it has USB-C at one end and DisplayPort at the other, doesn't mean it supports multi-stream transport at 4K/60Hz. Right port shapes? Check. Does what you expect it to when you plug it into your gadgets? Flip a coin. And then put your screen into DisplayPort 1.2 30Hz compatibility mode and pretend the low refresh rate doesn't bother you. It's a standards compliant cable, just not the right part of the standard.


Heh. Your comment made me just realize that my Pixel 2 doesn't have a headphone jack. I've had this phone for months (a year?) And never noticed.

The bluetooth earbuds are starting to get better. The Bragi Pro is much better than the Dash. I don't have experience with Apple's earbuds but I'm going to guess users are facing similar issues with bluetooth connectivity and interference issues.

I think of bluetooth earbuds as this generations skipping CD's. It's totally unnecessary though. They could have waited.


Airpods are fantastic, haven't had any of these issues.

Bluetooth has been great for the past few years (maybe since BT4?) My airpods and qc35 and car integration work FLAWLESSLY. The same can certainly not be said of older generation devices. I returned some Outdoor Tech Chips 2.0 something something helmet speakers that went static-y every time you turned your head the wrong way.

The new stuff can work 50+ feet away, through walls, etc.


I've had no issues with my AirPods. I believe the W1 chip provides a stronger connection than vanilla BT.

Airpods are insanely good. Virtually no issues with quality or interference and I got them the day they were released. Bose QC35s are also great, just not as reliable as airpods... one thing with airpods is that I think all headphones know when I take them off and to pause music...

The only complaint I've heard about AirPods is the audio quality, in that that they're typical of Apple's earbuds. Better than the $10 generic ones on Amazon, worse than $150 wired earbuds from Sennheiser etc.

Bluetooth reliability is better than any other headphones, battery life is impressive for how tiny they are, pairing (with iOS/macOS) works better than other bluetooth devices, the charging case is better thought out than other "true wireless" earbuds. Customer satisfaction surveys are ridiculously positive (IIRC 98% or 99%).

I haven't bought them yet myself (just because they cost money), but maybe when the 2nd gen comes out I'll take another look.


I can list quite a few improvements to AirPods:

* Wireless charging case

* More controls (perhaps touch sensitive long-press for Siri)

* Better switching between iOS/macOS (or generally - better support in macOS)

* Stereo mic support

* Native lavalier mic support in iOS camera

* Waterproofing

* One-device-multiple-airpods support

* Much much much lower price

* Thinner case

* Hearing aid feature (iOS 12 sort of does it via iPhone mic)

All that said, it's my favourite Apple product in past decade.


I love the fact that the AirPods don't have touch controls. I live in a place where some kind of headwear is required for over 6 months of the year.

I can just tap the side of my wool cap with thick-ass winter gloves and it works. If it was touch sensitive, I'd need to take off my gloves, pull the cap over my ear and fiddle with the earpiece. No thanks.


Not saying that should be taken away. If anything, it needs more gestures, perhaps triple tap for playing previous track?

I think these are fairly minor improvements, most of what makes the airpods great is already there. I’d rule out anything that makes them more complicated (that is their best feature imo) just putting in them and work is amazing, and it’s even better that they pause whatever’s playing when you take them out.

AirPod battery life isn't great when you're using the mic too (think a Skype call) but the fact that you can use one at a time while other charges makes it pretty manageable.

Good to know. My first thought for using a mic with a phone was for a "phone call" but I guess "skype call" works too ;)

I tend to make quick phone calls, but Skype/Zoom/etc on my computer calls tend to be of the 30 min - 2 hour variety, so that's where I see the most battery use :-)

Try not to spread FUD unless you've tried them. Airpods are excellent, and Apple was entirely justified in removing the headphone jack.

Yeah because Apple removing the headphone jack took lots of Courage didn't it?

From the HackerNews guidelines [1]:

> Be civil. Don't say things you wouldn't say face-to-face. Don't be snarky. Comments should get more civil and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive.

> Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents.

> Please don't post shallow dismissals, especially of other people's work. A good critical comment teaches us something.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


It's pretty pathetic too after they release a whole slew of ads making fun of Apple's design choices... Only to unashamedly copy them in the next iteration.

It's like Google looked at the iPhone X and said "yep, people really seem to dig those notches - we'll make our's EVEN BIGGER!"

The Pixel 3 XL leaks looked so bad, I really thought it would end up being a troll. Nope.

Nothing compelling or exciting, yet so many questions...

o Do people really need a tablet that you can't take with you?

o Why the notch and that huge chin?

o Can't phone speakers be thinner?

o So, you're just going to keep those underwhelming ear-buds from last year?

Google, stick to Software.


> a tablet that you can't take with you

What do you mean?


Google specifically? Or are you thinking Samsung? (they of course have no notch and still have a headphone jack)

Google’s Pixel adverts mocked Apple’s lack of 3.5mm jack.

https://youtu.be/Rykmwn0SMWU?t=42


Yeah, I honestly appreciate Samsung for not jumping on those trends just for the trends sake. Samsung really lead on the thin bezels, and hasn't adopted another of the more ridiculous fads.

If they at least were more serious about keeping their devices up to date. Not everyone has budgets for buying S models all the time.

As it is, I will probably go with Nokia, even though they are now on USB-C as well.


I'm looking forward to Samsung's NotchPhone coming out some day. I have an iPhone X and think the notch is a non-issue, but I didn't realize Android phone makers had started coping it until the past few weeks when I noticed lots of billboards for Android phones while traveling, all of which had the notch.


A slew of ads or just a small part of that one ad?

Only the didn’t copy the edge to edge screen or m the faceid system. The Pixel 3 XL looks awful. The regular pixel 3 looks balenced at least.

Well Android does have a "face-id" kind of system built in that works with the camera alone. It's not as advanced, but Google's thing is using software to really make it a nice product, and the face unlock works really well for me on my pixel 1 XL.

Isn't the point of the infrared mapping that Apple does on the iPhone that it is significantly more difficult to fool than camera-based solutions? Android has had face unlock for years but you can fool it pretty easily. Anything Apple introduces to replace Touch ID must be more secure than that.

Yes, but it's not as bad as you think (i can't fool my pixel with a picture for instance), and it's never unlocked for anyone else. It also disables it if there are any failed login attempts, and requires a "something you know" method every so often anyway.

>Anything Apple introduces to replace Touch ID must be more secure than that.

And that's the key, on android face-unlock doesn't replace fingerprint, it adds and additional option if you want it.


It only doesn’t replace a finger print sensor because it is not as secure as faceid. Fairly sure if you could remove the finger print sensor entirely you would. I don’t buy the convienience arguement at all, look at Picard on the enterprise, he doesn’t use a finger print sensor, the computer just knows it is him, faceid is much closer to this future than touchid..

>Fairly sure if you could remove the fingerprint sensor entirely you would.

I personally would absolutely not unless face-id style things became MUCH more powerful.

The only reason I have face-unlock enabled on my android device is for the occasions where the phone is face-up on the table, in it's dock on my desk, or when I lived in a colder climate and I would sometimes be wearing gloves.

I don't want to have to look directly at my screen in most cases, I don't want to have to wait any time at all while I bring the phone toward my eyes to have it unlock, I don't want to have to "focus" on it before it lets me in.

When I use a fingerprint scanner on a mobile device, it is normally unlocked a fraction of a second after it's out of my pocket, and I'm probably not going to buy a phone if it removes a fingerprint scanner as it's just so perfect for me right now.

Now on a PC or tablet, face-id is the way to go! Microsoft's "Hello" system works amazingly well on my surface book, and that is a device where I don't want a fingerprint scanner, because there isn't a single spot on the device that I normally "touch" to wake it. I LOVE how if I wake the device by any means, it unlocks pretty much instantly if I'm looking at the screen, and in the vast majority of cases the screen is pointed right at me. It also works in the dark because it uses similar IR tech as face-id does (I believe).

If you ask me, Apple needs to get face-id on the macbooks and get rid of the horrible fingerprint scanner on there which is never convenient to me.

Don't confuse "security" with "convenience". If I were going for most secure, I wouldn't be using a fingerprint scanner OR face-id, i'd stick solely with "something I know" to get into the device. But I'm personally willing to trade some of that security for convenience, and for me at least, it doesn't get any more convenient than a fingerprint scanner on the back of the device (as far as I know! If someone designs something better, i'd love to see it! But the current iterations of face-id are far from it for me).


Picard uses voice print identification and very bad passwords. And a lot of magic, like the plot sensitive doors that open just as you’re done talking.

It’s a tv show.


Off topic : the launch webpage [1] is hell annoying. Image loops, scroll-jacking, poorly thought out.

By the time I scrolled to the bottom, Chrome made 470 requests and downloaded 42.8 Megabytes (10 additional requests blocked by AdBlock plus extension) and thats just the 'Overview' tab.

W.T.F!

[1]: https://store.google.com/product/pixel_3


I think the idea for the pricing is giving the consumer that it is not a cheap knockoff alternative to Samsung or Huawei. And Google allows heavy discount to Carriers, so consumers "saves" a few hundred dollars when they sign it with a mobile contracts. Compared to Apple you get less than 10% discount from Wholesale.

I'd pay nearly any amount for a Nexus 5 SE. Perfect form factor/size and a beautiful design, just needs a better battery and camera.

The Pixels are cheaper for a flagship phone. But I was surprised they were in striking distance of iPhone pricing. Wow.

Pixel 3 128 $899 XR 128 $799 XS 256 $1149


I was a proud Android user since the g1 days but now will be switching to iPhone due to Google's terrible privacy practices.

> For Pixel in particular it really feels like they've started copying the iPhone's hardware choices in some ways, for no real reason that I can discern.

The iPhone is cool. That’s why it’s being copied.


Completely a conspiracy theory, but what if Google & others theorize that actively making devices worse causes an unexpected psychological response? Apple customers are devoted and willing to spend large amounts of money to upgrade flashy looking devices regularly, that's why Apple is so profitable. Making a sacrifice (the notch, high cost, lack of a headphone jack) to own an "elite" device effectively commits one to continue defending that decision, both to others (potential customers!) and through additional buying decisions later. A kind of self-induced Stockholm syndrome.

I think Apple's pricing only works because the resale is so strong. I've never lost as much money on phones as when I was buying Android flagships. When I can go sell my two year old iPhone 7 Plus for $400, it's a lot easier to stomach the purchase price of an iPhone XS. Not that I'm going to do that this year, mind you, but still.

Apple has really curated their position as the premium choice, and I commend them for that. They learned relatively quickly (though not without missteps) that people would rather buy last year's (or the year before!) flagship at a discount than a brand new budget model. Saves R&D by milking the older model for another couple years, makes a bunch more customers happy, it's really a brilliant strategy.


> people would rather buy last year's (or the year before!) flagship at a discount than a brand new budget model.

Hmmm... then why the iPhoneXR?


Here's an article from a few weeks ago on HN that explains exactly that: https://stratechery.com/2018/the-iphone-franchise/

I think the issue here is that flagship != top of the line anymore. For the iPhone pre-2017, the device targeted at their average customer was also always the latest and greatest. But with the release of the X, Apple introduced a new high-end line meant for enthusiasts, while most people would still be pushed towards the 8 (and now the XR). So the XR isn't really a budget model in the sense that the 5c and SE were, but rather the next entry in the mainstream iPhone continuity, while the XS is the second addition to the "pro" line.

Hedging their bets? Since iPhone XS devices are are a rather large risk and they need something to fall back on in case they don’t do well. If they do, we may not see a successor.

iPhone SE was probably a similar bet since a lot of people were complaining about the large iPhone 6/6S — not to mention the Plus variants.


Or, without making ridiculous unsupported pop-psych claims, people buy iPhones because they like them better. But I think Apple managing to induce Stockholm syndrome to millions of people worldwide is much more plausible.

Or faceid, and true edge to edge screen (no chin) combined with a processor 2-3x as quick as the next best thing and an operating system designed from the ground up for speed and privacy are actually worth paying for. So tired of this Apple are scamming us story. Google are charging more for less...

It's actually an interesting idea. Of course the negative points should be at least debatable, so that you can say you actually chose to spend more, or to have a notch. Every time someone makes fun of you because you spent a thousand bucks on a phone, you're forced to go into self-defense mode, and that reinforces your identification with the object. Pure speculation, of course :)

the CEO one of the chinese phone companies (i can't remember which one) just came straight out and told theverge what we all assumed: the notch isn't necessary, but consumers see a notch as "premium". So they notch the display, because that tests better in their market research.

We are truly living in the age of idiocracy.

I heard Alan Kay sum it up well in a podcast this morning where he was talking about how evolution doesn't have to evolve to be the best anything. Paraphrasing- "If you live in a stupid environment, stupid is the most fit."


It's not like at any time in the past this was any different.

Which podcast was it?

It's from the book, Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley

Yep the Leo Laporte podcast Valley of Genius.

A notch is necessary for the faceid sensor array. If you don’t need a foreword facing sensor array you should get rid of the notch.

If you have a finnger print sensor on the rear why not make a no-notch phone with an edge to edge display and no notch?

Do you think Apple came to the same conclusion? That a notch was a necessity to appear premium? No they didn’t because they were not copying anyone else’s phone design, they included a notch so faceid worked.


It appears you've misunderstood the comment you're replying to. The notch is considered premium because Apple did it and imitator are only doing it because Apple did, not because they need to for the same reasons that Apple did.

Yes! It's a mad world where a design compromise suddenly becomes something to be emulated all by itself.

"It's not a bug, it's a feature".

I hate the look of the notch, but at least the rest of the iPhone looks super slick. The Pixel Notch instead just made an unattractive design far far worse. Bravo!


Someone else pointed out the screen doesn't even go all the way to the bottom, making the notch look entirely superfluous. At least the iPhone actually uses all the space on the front, even if the notch looks absurd.

Yep, exactly. It is absurd. Apple has a valid excuse/reason for their notch, even as much as though I personally disagree with their design choice.

Agreed

Isn't a notch necessary for a front-facing camera period, if your screen goes to the edges?

The FaceID sensor array just coincidentally came out at the same time, no?


Yes, but the Pixel screen doesn't go to the edges. There's a sizeable bezel at the bottom. Could have left one at the top as well, and avoided the notch.

Why though? Why get rid of screen space that could be used for something?

If you really hate that space being used, there are several apps out there that "disable" it by pushing the whole screen to treat that space as if it were bezel.

Doesn't that give everyone the best of both worlds? I prefer the notch in that it gives me more space at the top around it for things like notifications or status icons, and if you hate the look you can black it out and have it look like it's just a big bezel.


Apple made it premium, but phones had notches before them. Sharp and Essential phone come to mind.

Sharp in particular has had fully bezel-less phones for years, I honestly though their camera on the bottom design would be copied way before the weird notch.


I fondly remember the "2nd screen" of the LG V10 and V20. When I first saw the notch I figured it would be an awesome implementation of LG's 2nd (and 3rd) screen.

I was wrong thought. It's the full screen and part of it is cut out as you can see when watching videos and playing games.

Sad day that it is being copied.


I'm currently still using the V20 and like it, but do think that as the notch gets smaller, you lose the available space for functionality like the LG's second screen.

Of course ideally, the notch gets smaller, not like the Pixel.


Essential is also rather premium :) but they had a very different notch, very small (just for the camera).

Essential wanted to be seen as premium, but i don't think they're the ones driving any customer perception of notches being premium.

> A notch is necessary for the faceid sensor array. If you don’t need a foreword facing sensor array you should get rid of the notch.

Pretty much every smartphone for years has had a forward facing, top-mounted sensor array (and a similarly positioned output device), either in a bezel or, if avoiding a full-width bezel, a notch.

(The “sensor array” may just be a camera and light-level sensor, but it's there, for sure.)



Well, there are some devices that try to inrease the screensize to the max, for example the Oneplus 6 (which has sadly a very high SAR value) or the newly "leaks" of de Mate 20.

Surely the notch is necessary if you want the screen to cover the rest of the face of the phone, otherwise where does the front facing camera go?

The notch is now a status symbol. Sure, the notch is a clear usability sacrifice, but for 12 months the presence of a notch was synonymous with having [arguably] the best phone. Google's pixel offering captures this perfectly: the pixel 3 is notchless, you need to pay the money for the XL to get your notch.

The notch might be, however Android is clearly not.

I think that's ascribing Apple a little too much. This design trend would have happened with or without Apple, and their design goals aren't everybody's. Phones such as Essential had this notch before Apple was even rumoured to have one.

It's no coincidence that so many phones are adopting the notch right after Apple, like so many other design trends.

One of the factors is that Apple forces shifts before the mainstream is ready. But they can get away with it because they’re Apple. This was the case before the iPhone BTW with floppy drive factors and the like. Once Apple blesses, others feel authorized to tag along.

Not saying the notch is the same thing but 3.5mm jack certainly is.


Floppy Drive

USB Only

No CD/DVD drive

It's almost as if they can spot an emerging trend quite well (the move away from floppy disks, the ubiquity of USB and downloading software, music and video rather than buying physical media)


It’s not so much spotting trends. I’d argue all of those were obvious by the time Apple took definitive action. The difference is that most other vendors tend to leave in legacy connectors and media for the time period when pulling them out will lead to outrage in forums such as this one.

Well Firewire was a fail. It was great in term of tech but it never caught on outside of Sony and Apple products(both contributes to the standard)

WiFi

What would be of the industry if they decided to stick with their plans to go with Copland.

Apple doesn't invent anything. They let someone else invent it, then they just borrow the design and iterate. It's been their MO for more than a decade.

Getting close to two decades, at a minimum. It depends on whether you want to go farther back than the iPod (2001).

Obviously, it works for them. An important, if sometimes overlooked, factor of their strategy is that it's not just borrow and iterate, it's a) identify device that will blow up, b) borrow well before it blows up, c) use that lead time to iterate and leap-frog the competition in polish, and d) release right as the market is poised to accept the new device as mainstream.

They can also misjudge any one of those items a bit and still power their way through, especially now that they have such credibility.


If I go back to the mid-90's, Amiga and Atari were much more relevant to my region than Apple, which was mostly visible on American computer magazines.

Had they not been bought by NeXT (which is what actually happened) and we wouldn't be talking about Apple setting industry designs.


Apple's acquisition of NeXT was probably the most expensive - but definitely the most lucrative - acquihire in history.

Release time from concept is probably ~4 years. Factories might start to be able to build notched screens earlier. There is a chance that other vendors just got an access to early version of notched screens technology.

Comes down to two reasons.. 1. Its costly to manufacture a screen that bends to avoid the bezel. 2. Apple has a patent for bended screen. So, competitors have to come up with a slightly different way to achieve this.

Folded screen of iphone https://i.imgur.com/Vg2n5Ji.jpg


Personally, I'd rather have a bit of bezel... nothing sucks more than using my Pixel 2 XL without a case, invariably the edge of my finger is touching part of the screen, which messes with input more often than not.

Trying to get rid of it, while looking cool actually makes using the thing worse.


Either that or really good palm detection, the iPhone X/Xs have really good detection when I try and reach over to null palm-touches. My Essential PH-1 on the other hand does not, and that makes it really frustrating to use with one hand.

Yeah, that was an issue with my LG V30. Looks great, but they didn't program any way of dealing with those accidental edge touches.

Didn't Samsung's flagships have edge screens before the iPhone X was released?

Edge to edge on sides is easy enough. The reason why all Android phones have a noticeable bottom chin is because you have to house the display driver (essentially, connections to OLED) somewhere. Apple's idea is to sacrifice part of display and bend it, so the display driver could be underneath the display. It's expensive, requires complicated engineering and manufacturing, and is also patented.

It's way cheaper to just house the driver below the display, as all the other phones are doing.


Why can't they put those drivers at the top instead of bottom?

Well they still have to attach to the edge of the display. Probably there is a lot of stuff going on at the top of a phone (cameras etc) already. I expect it would also be harder to attach the display connector along a notch cutout.

Xiaomi got rid of the forehead entirely by moving everything to the (relatively small) chin on Mi Mix 2. While that is not great for the front facing camera usage since many (most?) apps don’t support 180 degree rotation, I don’t see why the design can’t be flipped. Just build a phone with a reasonable sized forehead. Although I don’t particularly mind the design choice for Galaxy Note 9 or Nokia 7 Plus — a narrow forehead and chin.

No, they still have small bezels both at top and bottom

You claimed that nobody else was able to get so close to the edges due to Apple's patents. I was pointing out that Samsung already gets as close or closer to the left/right hand edges before the X was even announced.

While they didn't go fully to the top or bottom, that doesn't alter how the technology itself would work. If they can get close to the horizontal edges, they can get close to the vertical edges.


The issue, specifically, is that the display ribbon to connect it to the board needs to go somewhere [0]. For years, it was the bottom. So when it comes to removing a chin, you need to find a place for that ribbon. Apple achieved this by folding the screen at the bottom, so the screen isn't technically ending at the bottom. This is why it's easier to stretch out screens to the sides and the top.

[0] https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/28/17152840/oneplus-6-notch-...


I know. I read the reply posted two hours after mine above.

You might want to check the reason for the limitation before making such comments. A display can be stretched to the three edges of the phone —- it is the fourth edge that is the problem — as Xiaomi demonstrated with Mi Mix 2. At least some space is needed to house the display driver, camera, sensors etc.

No particular need for the bandwagoning. You're the third person to point this out, one three hours ago, one an hour ago, and now you in the last two minutes. Hard to believe you didn't see the other two comments before replying.

Sorry, reading on a phone. Really didn’t see the responses before responding. It was not my intention to pile on.

The iPhone does not have front facing speakers. Now that was their choice I understand, but to think that Google couldn't do it if they didn't want to is just not true. And there's plenty of Android phones with screen edge-to-edge. Heck, the old Essential Phone has it.

There's about half an inch on the bottom of the Essential. (It's my test phone.)

I agree the notch looks really bad. But if you have the option of not having screen there vs having screen there, I am okay with the notch. You anyway have an option to turn that part of the screen off on Android? I don't know why everyone is up in their arms about this.

I guess Google really wants to stick with two speakers. And not sure about the Apple's patent about folded OLED and/or others having the expertise to do it.

Disc: Googler but don't work on the related teams.


I really don't mind small notches. My current phone has one about the same height as the notification bar. This Pixel 3 notch is absolutely hideous compared.

Maybe that will kill the trend? I certainly hope so! :-)

I do too! Can't wait for under the OLED screen hidden cameras to have one giant slab of screen.

Actually makes me respect Samsung a bit more for sticking to their guns and continuing to poke fun at the notch, rightly or wrongly.

Yes, they've done their fair share of copying from Apple, but lately they seem to actually believe in their own ideas.


I bet they're trying all kinds of crazy stuff to make their phones look newer than 5 years old while not copying the notch they have been mocking in their own commercials.

The only thing I can think of is a pop-up camera (done already) or a through-pixel camera (not done yet). If Samsung pulls off the latter the whole smartphone evolution is just done, over, finished.


"If Samsung pulls off the latter the whole smartphone evolution is just done, over, finished."

The next thing will be not to have a phone at all, or a holographic one. ;)


Maybe they decided reaching the top of the screen was more important than reaching the bottom?

Apple didn't come up with the notch. Essential and Sharp (both Android phones) were first:

https://www.phonearena.com/news/history-of-the-notch-and-bez...


It makes complete sense on those phones though, doesn't really work on the pixel 3.

In my opinion, LG was first with the V10. It was just advertised differently, as a 'second screen' rather than a notch.

But Android manufacturers weren’t seeing it as “essential” until Apple did it. Same with ditching the headphone jack. The industry makes fun of Apple for doing something, then the next year, copies it

Here we are much later. Not having a headphone jack is still really stupid. Having to use a dongle for headphones is still an inconvenience that detracts from the experience. Every set of truly wireless bluetooth earbuds on the market is mediocre at best. The sound quality is substandard for listening to music (even compared to other earbuds) and the audio frequently lags, making them utterly worthless for everything else.

Even when someone does design a set of truly wireless earbuds that matches the quality of $20 wired earbuds today, its still going to be a total joke as long as those wireless earbuds cost 150-300.


Airpods are fantastic, and nobody who has them misses having their head physically connected to their phone by a cable anymore.

Here: Airpods are very good headphones. But not for everybody.

All through this thread you're jumping on anyone who dares criticize any aspect of the Airpods. Speaking in absolutes. "Nobody who has ever used them would say that", "nobody misses the wires", "nobody misses their previous headphones".

I don't like them. I can't wear them. My ears are too small, they slide out. This doesn't distract from their quality.

But I sure as shit miss the 3.5" jack when I have to plug a silly, fragile, unwieldy dongle into my phone to listen to my Earset 3i's. (Sadly, too, their Amazon rating seems to be 2.7/5, and reading the critical reviews, that seems to be almost exclusively because people got counterfeits on Amazon).

Please stop speaking like people are _factually wrong_ for disliking the Airpods or aspects of them.


Are Airpods going to work with the Pixel 3?

Or will it be the more typical thing with Android accessories, where you have to buy a Google knockoff and never lose it, and then when you do lose it, you have to buy a seriously off-brand thing from China because Google has lost interest in products they sold a year ago?


AirPods have a Bluetooth fallback using a button on the back of the case to connect

Does that provide the amazing experience AirPod owners talk about?

Because it sounds like it provides, y'know, Bluetooth audio, which is usually a terrible UX.


Nope. Airpods are admittedly a great product and very impressive, but the functionality and stability is going to be an Apple exclusive. They work on Android devices, but not nearly as seamlessly.

Airpods are some of the better truly wireless earbuds, but they are still mediocre and lots of people have the issues I mentioned with them.

I don't miss the cable, but I miss reasonable prices, audio quality, and not having to deal with recharging or audio desynchronization.


My in-ears tend to die due to wax, not broken cables. The $150 AirPods would be just as susceptible to that as a $2 pair of wired Huaweis. And that's ignoring the superior UX of just following the cable rather than having to guess which device they're connected to when.

It's also pretty nice being able to just connect the phone to a speaker system, rather than having to mess around with per-phone dongles, idiotic "dock" designs, or pairing to random bluetooth receivers.


I've got a $20 pair of Anker wireless earbuds that I can't distinguish in sound quality from a standard pair of Apple Lightning earbuds. The battery lasts about 5 hours on a charge, which is enough for my commute on the bus and chores around the house. And since I charge up all my devices at night anyway, draining the battery really isn't that much of an issue.

Sure they've got a wire between each earbud, so it could be argued that they're not 'truly wireless.' I can see how, from the perspective of someone for whom a dongle detracts from the purity of the $20 earbud experience, this could be a sticking point. But I haven't found it to be.


I'm a happy Pixel 2 XL user, and I definitely agree here. It almost seems like they thought the notch itself was the feature rather than just an enabler for the bezeless screen, which is the real feature.

Just as crazy, glass backs. They’re there mostly to facilitate wireless charging yet 50%+ of the phones that have them don’t support wireless charging...

Agreed. This is not Google engineering. This marketing-driven design. Something is off here..

Notches are hideous, and so are rounded screens (and excessively rounded designs in general -- just look at Chrome). It would be fine, though: more choice for those who prefer it, if were not for the fact that this is how "fads" and "marketing-imposed trends" work: I have no choice to buy a non-notched, square screen phone in 2018.

I pray my current phone holds for another couple years, until this fad goes away.


I find rounded corners on screens to be quite nice. I think they will be one of the big design changes over the next few years. They make screens appear more natural / organic imo.

Nah, it's all fine. The only thing better than a notch would if if/when they can go completely edge-to-edge, but short of having a protruding earpiece and not having light/prox sensors, it won't happen.

Not all of them, check out the Xiaomi Mix 2. Pictures are ok but otherwise great phone and no notch. To use the front camera you need to turn the phone around though, but for me that's a better compromise than the notch.

While I don't like the look of it myself, I'll hazard a guess as to the design thinking behind it: notifications/menu bar can now live either side of the notch without taking up 'content' space. So the screen either side of the notch is for the notifications bar/menu bar/I-can't-remember-the-android-term-for-it and the total space matches the space on the bottom of the phone, leaving a centered amount of screen space for 'content'. Because it's not most full-screen experiences are ever going to use the notch area.

Except the Apple phones don't have edge to edge screens. Currently there has to be electronics located on the edge of screens.

Apple has chosen to distribute these around their screens. Most Android phone makers have instead chosen to place them at the bottom.of the screen.

This means that in general Apple has larger edges than Android notch phones on 3 sides but no bottom chin. Android notch phones in general have a smaller distance between the edge of the screen and the edge of the phone but a larger lower chin.


In this case it's a simple reason: there are stereo speakers, which means there has to be a speaker at the bottom. That stops the screen from going all the way to the bottom edge.


And it's not supposed to be as good as actual speakers?

Disc: Googler but don't work on related teams.


The Pixel Notch is the worst looking, most disappointing phone design I've seen for a long time - from someone where I actually had certain expectations.

I can't stand the notch design band aid (the S8/9/Note just looks far far cleaner, has much greater usable screen size), and this has all but guaranteed my next phone will be another flagship Samsung.


Every once in a while I start thinking about switching to Android and then I see a comment like this and I wake up.

I absolutely hate edge to edge screens. It makes for a terrible user experience when you accidentally hit something with your palm. I also hate the super thin fad. Now I just have to buy a think bumper case so I can actually hold the phone.

I don't like the notch but I don't really see the bottom bezel as any worse of a design. If you want two front facing speakers you'd need two notches and that's even more of a developer burden.

Google could have copied Vivo Apex to beat Apple in bezel-less game once for all. Instead we get an ugly notch and a bezel at the bottom. Feels premium, I really fall for it, really! :-/

The goal is to maximize screen-to-body ratio. Having an edge-to-edge screen is just a milestone related to that goal.

Going edge to edge is extremely difficult, and requires folding the screen past the edge. Even Samsung haven't managed to do this, only Apple.

cargo cult design

Pixel 3: https://store.google.com/product/pixel_3

Pixel Stand: https://store.google.com/product/pixel_stand

Pixel Slate: https://store.google.com/product/pixel_slate

Home Hub: https://store.google.com/product/google_home_hub

It is so weird these days that 95% of the marketing and copy for new hardware is actually marketing and copy about software, not the hardware. They do however have a spec compare page for the phones: https://store.google.com/product/pixel_compare


I'm their target market then. What differentiates google for me is the SERVICES they offer: gmail, maps, search, photos, voice search, voice transcription, google voice.

Even if my perception is wrong, I picture google as a company that is better able to deliver cloud software. Since the hardware is all good enough now, what makes me consider going from Apple to Google is that I prefer google mail and google maps, and the google ecosystem. I also think google is better positioned to take on Amazon and Microsoft and Facebook. Apple is in a distant fifth place behind all those companies. And then you have Sony, which in many respects DOES have a better hardware ecosystem than Apple, for the home (speakers, playstation, cameras, televisions, headphones etc. and vue.) HomeKit and HealthKit are the two places Apple is competitive, and music/movie services are a dime a dozen at the moment, im not committing to an ecosystem if for example I liked iTunes/Beats more than Google Play. Lest we not forget Spotify and Roku are still independent beasts.

And on the other end Apples value proposition is that their store has all the flagship versions of apps (companies tend to treat iOS as their first class citizen) and privacy as a promise. That is a compelling sales pitch; to be treated as just a customer, not as something to be data mined and targeted.

Google REALLY needs to figure out Google Voice, Hangouts, Google News, Google Reader etc. Theres no reason Facebook should be a better feed and messenger, google has all the parts and talent, and cannot for the life of them unify them into a coherent simple product. Stop treating google voice like an afterthought, its a killer product. Google needs to figure out android vs chrome. Its very scary to buy into either of these product lines (at least I know my data is stored in google services regardless.)

Its a very hard decision right now to go Alexa vs Google Home, vs HomeKit. It sucks liking Swift apps, Google Photos, Facebook Messenger, DirecTV, Xbox Live, and Sony TVs. And pretty soon I'll need to have Sony, Disney, Hulu, Apple, Youtube, Netflix, Vudu/MGM, Prime, Facebook, xFinity, DirecTV/HBO/WatchTV (figure your shit out ATT). And that still leaves me without access to anything CBS/Viacom/Paramount, except what comes from DirecTV and VRV. Who am I trusting to make my multi-service experience the most pleasant; Roku, Apple, Google?

Ecosystem commitment is maddening, and paradox of choice has never made not participating more attractive.


> What differentiates google for me is the SERVICES they offer: gmail, maps, search, photos, voice search, voice transcription, google voice.

If you own almost any Android phone, you have all these services. Heck, if you own an iPhone you can still get all these services (just not as defaults).


Those services being tied RIGHT INTO the OS is a huge advantage. Thats arguably what the SHELL is. My interface between me and (facebook | microsoft | google | apple | amazon) services. Using iOS as a google app launcher is a complete waste of integration and usability potential.

Take for example JUST google photos. When I say service, I mean a best in class experience across my phone, my kitchen screen-speaker, laptop, desktop, and living room tv. Google photos does not live up to its full potential from a phone alone.

A service gives me consistent access to the same data, from a variety of interfaces. Each interface is tailored to use cases for that device type. Desktop interfaces are going to be more powerful than tablet, tv, or kitchen screen-speaker.

It's the same reason I prefer Facebook Messenger to text messaging. Works great from any device I sign into.

(Not being able to set defaults is inexcusable at this point as a product, and borderline anticompetitive. Microsoft is playing an equally dangerous game with Edge.)


I'm not sure what you mean by your Google Photos example. I use it on my iPhone and the photos all show up on the Chromecast I have plugged into my TV. I can't think of many features I am missing by not running on Google Photos on Android.

And that's what I think the OP was getting at. If Google's main differentiator is services then I have little reason to buy an Android phone. I can get the built in security and privacy associated with iOS and dip into the Google ecosystem as and when I want by downloading individual apps. It works great for me


On iOS Google Photos doesn't sync automatically unless you open the app regularly. On Android it runs in the background, so your photos are backed up even if you don't open the app.

I'm not sure if it's an iOS limitation or Google choose to artificially limit the app but OP is right that Android provides a better platform for Google services.


Can you access google photos through other apps on your iPhone. While you are in a non google app, how do you access the data stored there?

You download photos from Google Photos to your device before they're available to other apps. That's a fair weakness to point out, though it's never really been a problem for me. I only delete the local copies of photos every couple of months.

being able to navigate around a mini version of the photos app, from within a share/upload screen of another app, isnt a benefit you would think of until youve tried it.

Thats just an example though. Current Apple will never treat non-Apple apps with the same kind of integration. Messaging apps, photo apps, map apps, music apps, movie apps. It will never be the same as a place with choice.

"Hey google, gift mum a copy of Almost Famous." (google remembers that my mom likes text messages, and has vudu.)

"Hey google, gift dad a copy of Key Largo." (google remembers my dad likes facebook messages, and has prime.)

Send me a message when Apple starts being friendly to competitors. iOS is a glorified app launcher if you are not a heavy Apple Services user, and Apple Services are substandard. Even iMessage only works from Apple hardware. Useless.

I am being a little silly here, Google and Microsoft are moving TOWARDS Apple-Like ecosystem lock-in, whereas Alexa/Prime and Roku are the more vendor agnostic shells.


> isnt a benefit you would think of until youve tried it.

I used an Android device full time until about a year ago, so believe me when I say I know how it works, and that I don't really miss it.

> "Hey google, gift mum a copy of Almost Famous." (google remembers that my mom likes text messages, and has vudu.)

These conversational examples always seem bizarrely contrived to me. But either way, part of the argument against this is that I don't want Google to know these things. I value privacy. I don't gift my parents movies often enough to make the trade-off worth it for me - I'll just do it manually the one time a year I do it.

> Even iMessage only works from Apple hardware. Useless.

Very obviously not true. When the vast majority of your friends and family are on iMessage it is, hands down, the best messaging solution. Better than anything Android can offer, because less tech savvy people don't even need to think about it. It is very far from useless for a lot of people. It just isn't useful for everyone.


what makes iMessage better than Facebook Messenger or Snapchat or Whatsapp? The fact that it can only communicate with most people? The fact that it doesnt work from a web browser while you are away from devices you own?

If I own an iPhone but a Windows PC, iMessage is only a fraction as powerful as something cross platform.

Youre nitpicking a conceptual example. Alexa, Roku, and Android are currently built to let ME have the power to set defaults and mix and integrate services between providers. On iOS either I use the Apple service if I want full integration, or my access to said services is locked into only the app for that service itself and apples extremely limited share menu.


> what makes iMessage better than Facebook Messenger or Snapchat or Whatsapp?

That it is already set up when you buy the device. This can't be understated. Among my friends and family, some have FB messenger, some have Snapchat and some have Whatsapp. The only one they all have is iMessage. And even Android users can participate in group messages by (automatically) downgrading to MMS.


I think being able to set FB messenger AS my SMS app is more powerful.

The entire point I am making is that we increasingly access MANY services. Content is a great example, with Netflix, ATT, Disney, National Amusement, Sony, Amazon, and Comcast getting into a pretty nasty battle. Service agnostic hardware is very very attractive, whether that service is messaging/calling, backups, or content consumption. Shells treating all services equally, is a value upon itself. They can still ship from the factory with an in house default. Roku being able to surface and categorize content from many apps, and being able to deep link directly to movies is a much more pleasant experience. Or searching for a movie and being asked which ecosystem/service I want to view it from.

It SUCKS when a company like Apple says "you need Apple hardware to watch our original series" or when "you need ATT wireless to watch this HBO show" becomes a thing.

It SUCKS that I need an Amazon Echo Show 2, Google Home Hub, Facebook Portal Plus and an iPad all set up in my kitchen to answer Video Calls!!..!.. verbally when my hands have egg on them. https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/how-smart-... (at least Facebook is considering Alexa and Google Assistant. At least Amazon Echo may allow Android texting and Skype, while also supporting Zigbee.)


Can you access google photos through other apps on an Android phone? On mine all I can see are my local photos, even in something like Hangouts.

> Those services being tied RIGHT INTO the OS is a huge advantage.

Assuming you own an non-Google Android phone, what difference is there? I use Google photos on my Samsung...

On iOS, I will admit there is a difference is not being able set default applications but other than that I don't really see a big difference. Google, of course, works hard to ensure the same experience regardless of device so it's not much of selling point of their own phones.

By comparison, you actually need an iPhone to experience any of Apple's product integration.


For example. I cant, in facebook messenger, pull a photo from google photos. Everything has to proxy through iOS photos. First I have to go download it, then upload. Google photos is tacked on top of the OS instead of being a part of the shell. The share/passthrough/permissions menu is the gatekeeper. Google Photos isnt a SOURCE that can be accessed from other apps on my phone.

In the future, I imagine, at the upload screen, I will be able to type in a friends name, to filter all the photos of a person. In the future, I expect to be able to use voice to be able to say things like "hey google, send my mum the latest photos from bob and sues wedding, that have Molly and I in them" and I expect Google to remember my preferred communication app is different for my Mom and Dad, know which Molly I mean, know what latest means, and act accordingly. Do you imagine Siri will integrate well with Google Photos and Facebook messenger?


> Those services being tied RIGHT INTO the OS is a huge advantage.

That is a disadvantage to me. I prefer not to keep all my eggs in one basket.


Read the next sentence after what you quoted.

What I mean is that services CAN BE hooked into the OS. My messaging service being independent from my messaging app (sms as an example.) What I mean is, by default, Google has best in class services. (Photos and Maps are clearly superior to Apple.)

Being able to SET my default maps service. I need the os to be aware of what kinds of queries my maps app can handle.

Being able to swap out my voice assistant between google, alexa, cortana, m. I need the hardware and os layer listening, ready for me to trigger my voice assistant, but once they do, they should had it off to the service of my choice. Or my Roku being able to deep link directly to content within apps, apps that advertise their content to the os search.

Android is built to allow google, a manufacturer, or a user to swap out services, but still allows the service to feel integrated.

I do think there is a distinction between Android and Google Play Services. GPS is an advantage, and a great set of default services, but im not stuck with them for the life of a device, if I choose to replace them.


Note to people in the EU. Google does some fuckery to show regional pages, and will only show the pixel 3 for France for instance.

The whole range of announced products: https://store.google.com/us/?hl=en-US&countryRedirect=true


Personally, I always go to Wikipedia for these sorts of things. Information density is so much higher:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Google_Pixel_sma...

Looks like the Pixel 3 stats aren't up yet, but I assume the Wikipedia editors are working on that.

(Also very useful for figuring out what changes between iPhone/Mac revisions.)


I can't even look at the comparison page without being in the correct country. sighs

Is there a way to deep link to a country specific google store? I get redirected to a locale that doesn't sell any of the pixel products, so they just don't exists on the product pages when I follow the links

https://store.google.com/countrypicker will let you choose your country.

All of those images scaling for no reason gives me a bit of motion sickness.

the images list them all as 5.5" across the diagonal, but the text varies with 5.0" for the pixel and 5.5 for the pixel 2/3.

I really wish Google would sell a good value (Nexus level prices) phone again, so I can own a phone with stock Android. You can get good hardware for half the price of Google's pixel phones; the downside is the crappy Android versions on them.

(thanks for the suggestions on close-to-stock-Android hardware)


The Android One phones (https://www.android.com/one/) are running stock Android and provide 2 years of Android OS updates and 3 year of security updates.

Christ, being happy for “2 years of Android os updates” reminds me how awful is the android ecosystem. IPhone 5s, a phone from 5 years ago is running the latest iOS without any problem.

>without any problem.

If you don't consider "completely unusable performance" to be a problem then yeah sure I guess it is "running" it.


iOS 12 has been widely praised for breathing new life into old devices with its performance upgrades. And even in the cases where there is a performance tradeoff, updating isn't mandatory, but it's still an option for those who want it.

It was widely praised, because it breathed new life into old (and not so old) devices that were utterly hamstrung by iOS 11 running them into the ground.

"Apple completely ignored performance on older devices for several generations until the complaints got too loud. Now let's act like that never happened, because they have put some effort in now."

> And even in the cases where there is a performance tradeoff, updating isn't mandatory, but it's still an option for those who want it.

Yeah. Except that many of the new Xcode updates to support iOS 12 involve builds that remove older compatibility. So sure, "you can still use your older iOS! Just ignore the fact that if your favorite apps are actively being maintained the chance they'll retain old iOS compatibility will be a rapidly shrinking one".


What? If you've had your favorite app on your phone for the past 5 years and refused to update in that time, then it'll still work? And in that case you're clearly not bothered by using old software.

People always demand new features, but want them on their old devices. Apple at least offers you the option.

Also, I don't see how that is different from an Android device that did not receive updates for 3 years and "your favorite app" that surely will be maintained for all eternity on an outdated system ...


iOS 12 is actually excellent on a 5S, my daughter's 5S still out-performs a huge chunk of the current Android market.

How was iOS 11?

Appalling on every generation of iPhone that it ran on.

These phones are also way cheaper than the iPhone5s was at its launch. If you pay $350 for your phone and replace it after 2 years, that seems to me to be better than paying $700 for your phone and replacing it after 4 years?

That's just a lot of waste. Cause you know most people aren't going to find a way to recycle those old phones.

I don't think that +/- 1 more phone per person per two years is a terribly big deal in the grand scheme of things.

You'd be mistaken. That would be a lot of phones and hence a lot of (rare) metals being delved. Sadly, even something as precious as a mobile phone is a throw away product nowadays. I have no solution, it's us, consumers, who are doing this. But please don't pretend it doesn't matter. Maybe, just maybe, if we could innovate on the recycling of our old phones, it would matter less.

How about you quantify how much of an increase in waste it would be? My prior is that almost all appeals to waste conservation fall apart when you examine them in depth.

Ok, shooting from the waist. Say on average people use their phone 3 years. Say, we could stretch that to 4 years. Roughly 2/3 of the world population owns a phone, that's 5 billion phones. That means we would save 5 billion phones every 12 years, or: more than 400 million phones every year.

I love innovation as much as the next guy/gal, but getting all those products to 7.5 billion people is probably not (yet) sustainable for our planet. What if we could make (in this case mobile phone) producers (partly) responsible for the waste disposal/recycling of their products?


I guess because most of world on the Android phones buy handsets as pre-paid devices, using them until they either die or get stolen, so they aren't actually being replaced every 3 years.

As for security updates, yes it is a bummer, but not much better than what feature phones and Symbian used to offer, which was basically zero updates.

All the Apple stuff I have access to has been paid by my employer.

I am not doing contracts and their price ranges are out of what I deem as acceptable to pay for hardware as private user.


Google informs me that there are 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste per year. 400 million phones, each phone weighs less than half a pound, so let's say 200 million pounds per year, divide by 2000, that means 100 thousand tons of electronic waste saved.

Less than a percentage point of reduction of purely electronic waste. This is what I mean by "almost all waste claims fall apart when examined."


It's a bit unfair to measure by weight, because mobile phones are light. One television, monitor or desktop computer can weigh more than 10kg, but may not have the same impact on the environment as 10kg/125g = 80 mobile phones. And besides, why stop with mobile phones? We're doing the same with TVs, now they're smart, but 3 year old apps don't work anymore, so: next!

Well, that's why I asked you to quantify things. If you have reason to believe that mobile phones punch above their weight in terms of e-waste, tell me exactly why, and how much. Does that mean that saving 400 million mobile phones per year goes from saving 0.6% of e-waste to 0.8% of e-waste?

And I'm not defending the practice of throwing out TVs or computers or anything else after 2 years, just phones.


Why? That's just consumerist thinking. With iOS 12, my 3 and a half year old phone works even better than when I bought it. Why create useless waste?

Because, for example, your 3.5 year old phone has a way worse camera than a modern phone. It doesn't have wireless charging. Its hardware has deficiencies that are noticeable even if the raw speed of the CPU is still fine.

"consumerist thinking"? What other kind of thinking should a consumer have? And waste? My old Android phones are pretty useful even with marginally older software. None of them have non-patched remote execution bugs that would make them risky, thanks to the fact that some of the more risk prone components (built in browser, play services, etc) get updated independently from the OS.

What are the resale values in your example?

Not very much. The resale value of a 4 year old iPhone is sub $100. Even if you get literally $0 for a 2 year old Android, you aren't changing the cost calculations very significantly.

It also trashes the resell value of Android devices.

Keep in mind that the phone manufacture is tasked with providing those updates for Android One devices.

It was once going to be Google providing them but they changed the site a while back.... that makes me skeptical about when / if you get those updates...

Google has been struggling to get manufactures to do updates and backpedaling on Android One's updates doesn't have me optimistic.


For people who want to buy phones in the several-hundred-dollar range, 2 years of official updates really isn't sufficient. My Nexus 4 lasted 4 or 5 years, the last few on unofficial firmware - but I shouldn't have had to use third party firmware on a device that was working just fine.

Well, you never had to.

It's pretty disingenuous to compare Android and iOS like it's a 1:1 comparison. Google Play services and several other components get updated independently from the system. A Nexus 4 that is running the last official security patch still works "just fine" and gives you access to the majority of apps on the Play store.

While the update model isn't perfect and a bit concerning security-wise, if you want a device that "just works" for 5 years and won't be artificially crippled, Android wins.


The old Nexus 7 was broken with stock firmware on the latest Android. So it's not always true.

2012 or 2013 Nexus 7?

2012

I know someone who has an Android One Motorola, while they like stock Android, updates are still really slow for reasons unknown. There was also no beta during Pie.

Definitely isn't a full Nexus or Pixel experience unfortunately.


It’s not that different either, only google phones 2 years old will get android p, exactly like gp said that is the case for android ones.

I have one of the first android one phones!

I'm scared to root it. Because they don't provide factory images and the update process is very fragile.

It's a far cry from Nexus.


Are there any Android One devices available in the US?

I have a Nokia 6.1 purchased from Amazon. It runs Android One and I love it. Currently costs around $230.

I find it really annoying that phones need so much hand holding from OEMs to keep up to date. Imagine the backlash if a Windows OEM said that: a.) you could only get OS updates from them, and b.) you'd only get 2 years of updates.

That's 2 years assuming you buy it on launch day, significantly less for most people.

The death of the Nexus / privacy concerns is why I'm tempted to flee to Apple. I've never used an iPhone but if I'm gonna pay top dollar for a Google branded type phone .... why not consider an iPhone / the privacy concerns I have and etc too?

All the other Android manufactures have been so hit and miss I'm not really interested in them as an alternative.


You will miss the openess of Android. I tried a couple of times going back to an iPhone, but always ended up selling it after 6 months.

For example, iOS doesn't let you change default apps (e.g. browser). Also their third party keyboard integration is not so great.


I've thought about the default apps thing a lot. I'm anticipating missing that a great deal.

At the same time Android just isn't ... feeling good right now with privacy and etc.


If you're not constrained by the hardware, then take the time to install LineageOS (https://lineageos.org/). If you need Google's flavour of Android you can get it from OpenGAPPS (https://opengapps.org/).

I did it for my mom's phone and most recently my own (which until I hit some software issues was running Google stock). It's really easy nowadays, with some tech skills and assuming your phone isn't obscure.


I just got a Pixel 1 planning to do that very thing. I thought I was getting a great deal; they're about $200 on Amazon.

I ran into an apparently common issue where it won't connect to Windows through its bundled USB cable (or any other USB cable...).

Plugging it into my external monitor, which is also a USB hub, solved that problem. Except that in bootloader mode, it is once again unrecognized, making it impossible to unlock.


i had that problem with a google pixel. the 5th cable worked. buy a bunch of random ones online.

I just bought a $159 Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite (Android One/Stock, US ATT or T-Mobile Compatible) to replace my original Pixel XL and I can't tell much of a difference except for the Camera. It has a much smaller notch than the Pixel 3 and will receive updates I believe until 2021 or further. Some small corners were cut, but it punches way above its price point.

I have nothing but praise for Xiaomi products. They are phenomenal value.

I have a Xiaomi Redmi 4x, which cost me $140 and has perfectly smooth performance. The camera isn't terrible either, it does the trick. Best of all, spare parts are cheap and easy to find. I completely shattered the screen on my phone, it was only $20 to get a complete new screen assembly (lcd, digitiser, and frame), which I'm fairly sure is OEM. I broke the ear speaker in the process of replacing the screen, only $1 to get a new one shipped from China. I can literally make a phone from parts, I can even buy the motherboard on Aliexpress.

Xiaomi have really good build quality too, and their their custom version of Android isn't terrible.

I also have a Xiaomi bluetooth speaker that I bought for $30, which performs as well as a speaker 2-3 times the price. It's built out of solid aluminium too, so it can take an absolute beating.


I am over impressed with the Mi A2 Lites camera for this price point. Phone has very impressive build quality too.

Bad Sample: https://i.imgur.com/vD2uC9u.jpg


Have you got a link to the motherboards?

Here's a few on Aliexpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=A...

It would appear that they are used and recycled though, rather than new OEM parts.


I wonder how hard that would be to make work on a bench. Would be nice for messing with postmarketOS, especially if I could get serial out working. I think these still have to be "authorised" by Xiaomi to have their bootloader unlocked though...

Its a little bit of a stretch to call it ATT or T-mobile compatible. It only supports 2 of the 6 LTE bands T-mobile uses, and ATT is similar.

It only doesn't support Band 12 but band 2 and 4 are the important T-Mobile bands which it supports. No other bands are used heavily. ATT is very compatible. Using T-Mobile around Seattle with the phone and have absolutely no issues anywhere.

For $159 I'm not sure what more you could expect. Band 12 would be nice, but I understand they need to cut some corners.


How do you buy Xiaomi phones in US?

Ebay, some are available on Amazon, or you can order from Aliexpress/Gearbest.

My only warning for buying Xiaomi phones is to make sure they work on your carrier in your country.


Try the Nokia phones by HMD, they're almost stock Android (only diff is you can't remove some Nokia apps without root)

Nokia doesn't allow bootloader unlocking, which should be a giant "nope" for anyone reading something called hacker news…

Meanwhile Xiaomi's Android One devices (not MIUI) are just 'fastboot oem unlock' without any key requests, just like good old Nexuses.


> which should be a giant "nope" for anyone reading something called hacker news…

I’m willing to bet that 80% of HN users have iPhones :)


I never bothered with overclocking, wiping out firmware or bootloaders, I like my warranties, thank you very much.

Motorola's Moto G series is in the $200-$300 price range and run vanilla Android with one or two apps pre-installed. I'm big fan of my Moto G5s.

https://productdork.com/t/moto-g5s-plus-review/13


agreed. I have a Moto g5 plus and apart from a not top of the line camera - it is pretty great for the price and has a nice clean vanilla android.

Nokia could be an option: they have big range of devices in various price ranges, build quality is decent, runs near stock Android and updates are one of fastest, compared to other brands. Sadly, not all devices have unlockable bootloader and kernel sources for some are still missing.

I think that's what OnePlus is doing these days. Not sure if you have heard of this youtuber @mkbhd he recently made a video that OnePlus 6 became his daily driver from Pixel 2. OnePlus 6 devices already run Android Oreo based OS.

Yes... but. OnePlus prices are rising at pace. I think my 3T was £309 some 2 years ago in the UK, where the 6 is £519 and the 6T is expected to be more again.

Also, where the Nexus phones were supported for at least 3 years the 3T wasn't going to get Android Pie just 2 years after release, but it seems it now will (eventually).

I agree it's been filling the segment, but I'm not sure it's continuing to, sadly. Don't get me wrong, they still seem to be beating Apple and Google in terms of bang for buck, but they're definitely chasing up the ladder after them.


I got a OnePlus 3 based on this kind of recommendation when Google discontinued their reasonably-priced-phones strategy and came out with the Pixel instead.

It works fine, but it's so large that it hurts my hand. And OnePlus appears to be committed to making only comically oversized phones. Very sad.


The Nokia 6.1 is on sale for $230 at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07B4KPFKM/

Just my 2 cents, I own a Nokia 6.1 and bought it for the exact reasons OP had, a cheap stock android phone. Unfortunately the hardware is really poor and I still don't have Android 9 available to me yet. The camera is really really bad, it sometimes shows a photo has been taken and when you view it later it turns out the shutter captured whatever was in view 2 seconds later. Something is also really wrong with the audio firmware, music will just stop randomly followed by a loud pop, it's like a buffer overflows or something.

I got the Nokia 6 (2017) and can confirm that the camera was also very bad there. But security updates are still coming (just updated to patch level October 2018) and Android 9 has been announced to come at the end of this year, which is absolutely fine for me because that's a much better support than a lot of "premium" phones ($600+) get. Samsung's Galaxy S9 - its top smartphone - is still running Android 8.0 (8.1 is out since end of 2017) and it will get Android 9 not before next year.

Considering that the Nokia 6 costed me only ~$170 when I bought it a few months back, this is top value.


Grumble. The 6.1 was an emergency upgrade for dad when the Nexus 5X started bootlooping in the airport. He hasn't mentioned the camera (damn, the 5X set a really high bar for a $400 phone) or audio issues yet

Android One phones are pretty close to stock.

https://www.android.com/one/


One more alternative, buy used Pixels, I just bought a Pixel 2 yesterday for $325. Less than half what the Pixel 3 starts for. Sure, it is small risk but if you would prefer less risk you can get certified refurbished ones for just a bit more from Amazon or Best Buy. I live outside the US so I used ebay as they do international shipping. Lastly, you get 3 of OS and security updates (2 years from now of course since it is a year old), this is the first Google phone to get updates for this long, all previous devices were 2 years.

Asus zenfone max pro M1 has a close-to-stock version of Android 8.1. I am using it for the past couple of months and pretty happy with the phone.

What about Xiaomi Mi A1/A2? They are not from Google, but they come with stock Android and are great for the price.

Using mi a2 for last 2 months. A android one phone. Stock android, no bloat, very good looking hardware.. Overall a good value, but software is slightly buggy (occasional heating, random boots) and no clear communication on software upgrade policy

> no clear communication on software upgrade policy

The "Android One" label communicates 2 years of updates.

Either way, it's a Treble phone with an unlockable bootloader (without any key requests even! just like old Nexuses). I flashed a GSI (unofficial Lineage 16) right after I came home from buying the A2 :)

Of course this Treble stuff is still pretty new and you need to hack around some things — for example, I had to remove some XML file to make Bluetooth audio work, and (when Magisk rooted) SELinux is blocking the Wi-Fi driver from automatically loading so I have to load it from a root shell manually after a reboot :D but that's perfectly acceptable for me.


A Nexus level priced value product running stock Android would cannibalize Pixel sales. Google made the Pixel a premium product specifically for those who care about stock Android. People who buy value phones don't care about stock Android.

> People who buy value phones don't care about stock Android.

What does this even mean? I mean, since there are no cheap stock-Android phones clearly anyone who buys a cheap phone doesn't only care about stock Android.

But it's absolutely possible for someone to (1) want a phone at non-"premium" prices and (2) want a phone running stock Android. The fact that they then have to pick at most one of those two because no one but Google makes stock-Android phones and Google have gone premium-only doesn't mean that they don't, or shouldn't, want both.


There are a bunch of cheap stock Android phones now from the Android One program. Nokia has the 3.1, 5.1, 6.1, 6.1+. Xiaomi has Mi A1, A2 Lite, A2. Then there's the BQ Aquaris X2, GM9 Pro, Sharp X1, Motorola One.

I bought the Nexus 7 Plus below 300 Euro. You can also get the Pixel 2 (and sometime in the future also Pixel 3) camera apk running on it in a modified version. Side note: It has also one of the best cameras on phones in this price area.

I really wish someone would do another solid 7-8" Android (or ChromeOS) tablet. That felt like a perfect form factor - I could even still pocket it in a vest.

Alas, most of what's still on the market is either ancient (and not getting new Android updates), or cheap low-res junk, or usually both. The only exception seems to be MediaPad M5, and Huawei screwed that one up by reporting it to the apps as a phone rather than as a tablet; and then there's the whole shared antenna issue (basically if you use Bluetooth, your WiFi is an order of magnitude slower).

And I'm not holding much hope for sub-10" ChromeOS tablets. It seems that everybody just wrote that market off.


Nexus 7 is a tablet without Plus model. Are you thinking of 6P?

They probably mean the Nokia 7 Plus, which I also own. It's a fantastic phone and you get so much for you money! Seriously, I've owned the Nexus 4, 5, 5X and 6P and this is my favourite out of them all.

Thanks. Meant the Nokia as you said... I was too fast with typing and cannot edit anymore ;) And I agree to your comment. I had Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 5, Nexus 5X and Nokia 7 Plus is the best so far.

Nokia seems to have taken that mantle with all phones being Android One.

Currently the Nokia phones are the best option for it.
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