Could The Future Of Android Be Windows?

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by HardOCP News, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. HardOCP News

    HardOCP News [H] News

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    To be fair, I probably should have included a trigger warning for that headline. I can see Android user's eyes start to twitch at the mere suggestion that the future of Android is Windows. :D

    Android's biggest strength has ironically become its greatest weakness: the fact that it's free and open source. By releasing Android into the wild back in 2008, vendors were able to enter the smartphone market without either the initial investment in developing their own OS, or the licensing fees that would increase overall unit pricing.
     
  2. Domingo

    Domingo Skip My Posts

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    Hopefully the future of Android simply involves more vanilla variants instead of literally every phone having some shitty launcher and bloatware tied to it.
     
    nightfly, MooCow, Wizard220 and 9 others like this.
  3. Drawmonster

    Drawmonster 2[H]4U

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    This here. I used to be a huge Android fan. But the extremely bloated and laggy versions of Android that come on the good phones, looking at you Samsung, has had me using an iPhone for a few years now. I was actually considering getting the Note 7 and giving Android a shot again. Until I saw this video. It's sad that such beautiful and powerful phones are completely gimped to shit by the manufacturer and their bloatware.

    The only hope for Android is if Google starts getting out in front with the hardware they are having made for their Nexus phones. An S7E or Note 7 with vanilla Android out of the box would be amazing. And before someone says it, having to install a custom ROM on your phone just to use it to it's potential is not and should not be the only way to get your phone working halfway close to it's potential. And that's why Apple is stomping Android's ass. Apple phones may be slower hardware wise vs. the newest Samsung offering, but they operate way faster and don't come loaded up with a bunch of shitware.
     
  4. Dwango

    Dwango Gawd

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    I've got a Note 4 (the international version with Samsung's own chips in it) and never noticed any issue with lag because of any bloatware. I disabled everything I didn't want to see and moved on. It doesn't even bring back the stuff I turn off when I do OS upgrades which some phones are known to do. I actually like the Samsung launcher in Marshmallow too though it doesn't follow any of Google's design language while most other developers do so you can easily see all of Samsung's own apps on any screen.

    All that being said, I am likely to upgrade to a Nexus phone for my next one. I like the S-Pen but I could stand to lose it and Samsung takes an ungodly amount of time to push out OS upgrades and sometimes doesn't even make it apparent when there will be an upgrade for a particular model. You just wake up one day and it appears. Going Google's Nexus route I at least know I'll always have the latest of whatever they're offering (well, for two years at least).
     
  5. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Should Android become Windows? No. Could it improve and borrow some aspects of windows? Definitely.

    Google needs to amend the license agreement the use of Android is based on, such that 100% of all android devices use the same binary code base, and differ only in drivers and apps.

    They need to adopt the Windows (and Linux) model of updates, where system updates are pushed directly from google to the end users device, without any review or involvement from device manufacturers or carriers. Only then can Android become as secure as it needs to be.

    I am a huge Android fan, but until the above happens, I won't even consider any non-Nexus device.
     
  6. amddragonpc

    amddragonpc [H]ard|Gawd

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    Let's see what MSFT can do before Android supposedly dies. I bet they accomplish nothing. Besides, MSFT is plain effing stupid when it comes to phones. Their track record speaks for itself.
     
  7. Domingo

    Domingo Skip My Posts

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    I absolutely despise Samsung's aesthetic. All of the apps feel like they were designed for Jellybean and haven't been touched since. TouchWiz's menu is messy and cluttered with garbage.
    You can disable/remove a few of those apps, but some are there (and fighting for you to use them) no matter what you do. Let's not forget their oddball second store you have to use to update certain items, too. It's not like they're always slowing you down anymore, but they are slowing things down a little and clogging up your phone with trash you simply don't want or need.
    It feels like a great steak that you're stuck eating well done.
    I honestly like Samsung hardware, but won't own another one of their phones until the software situation clears up.
    I really don't want a Nexus phone, but if that's what I have to have to get vanilla Android (based on my so-so experience with a Lenovo-owned Motorola), so be it.
     
  8. Quartz-1

    Quartz-1 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Funnily enough, I was thinking about starting a thread postulating the reverse - the supplanting of Windows on the desktop by Android. I mean, what could be more convenient than plugging your mobile phone into a cradle and using it as a desktop?
     
  9. Tweak42

    Tweak42 Gawd

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    Not arguing about the Samsung bloatware, but I doubt Google will be getting "out front" as their Nexus line steers the Android phone market from the middle back of the pack. Google doesn't innovate to lead but steer android development and observe to see what works and what doesn't.

    And the sales numbers definitely don't show Apple stomping Android at all, quite the opposite - though massive profitability is still Apple's. Not a clue where Microsoft is heading with Windows Mobile as they can't seem to get their heads on straight which direction they want to go.


    Microsoft has their Continuum feature for connecting mobile to desktop monitor, but as usual they can't seem to sell it. At this rate, Android or iOS will eventually have something similar and beat Windows at their own game.
     
  10. Spidey329

    Spidey329 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Agreed. Let Google handle the OTA's and make all of your stuff apps.

    One thing I've learned using a Samsung health watch is that their programmers either suck or are understaffed. Basic features are still broke 3months after release.

    Yes. There needs to be some form of incentive in going this route, because it seems the manufacturers want to make their own branch of the OS and never update it, I assume to help differeniate next year's model. There's no reason all of their "we're different" mods can't be tacked on as apps.
     
  11. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I agree with you. Samsung hardware is pretty great (well, except for when it explodes) but their software - like that of most handset makers - is crap.

    I feel the same way about LG and HTC as well. The software Asus put on my Zenfone 2 wasn't bad, and Motorola has some OK software as well, but could be better.

    The last Samsung device I owned was my Galaxy S3. Great hardware for the time, but the software was annoying. Luckily I was able to put Cyanogenmod on it.


    A guide for handset makers when it comes to software should be as follows:
    • Don't modify the base android code. If you want to distinguish yourself from other Android devices do so through apps, like custom launchers, custom keyboards, etc.
    • All apps must be maintained in Google play. No third party stores or update managers
    • No preinstalled third party applications, ever.
    • No carrier branding, ever.
    • All apps must be uninstallable.
    • All Google updates must be pushed out to end users quickly (within a week of release) Especially security updates. This is possible if you don't mess with the code (see first bullet)
    • Leave your boot loaders unlocked. Let users choose if they want your default software, or something else.

    That's all there is to it. Dead simple. It's amazing to me that handset makers keep fucking it up.
     
  12. Dew

    Dew 2[H]4U

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    Gonna have to disagree on this point from a security perspective. Leave bootloaders locked with the current default setting that unlocking it wipes the phone. Don't trap the unlock behind a security key either.
     
  13. Tweak42

    Tweak42 Gawd

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    I think the only exception is to those points is Amazon. They seem to be the only android device maker to actually successfully take the open source code and run with it on their own without riding directly on Google's coat tails. However their Fire phone fizzled, and they aren't profiting from the devices, but the services they package with them.
     
  14. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    We don't need locked boot loaders for security purposes.

    None of my PC's have ever been compromised by virtue of having unlocked boot loaders.
     
  15. SLCPUNK

    SLCPUNK n00b

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    I have jumped between Windows Phone and Android for years now, and honestly the only thing that keeps pulling me back to Android is app support (and I guess to a much lesser degree hardware).

    Outside of poor app selection on Windows 10 for phones I preferred that OS in just about every way imaginable. It was faster on lower end (read: reasonably priced, off-contract) hardware, the UI made more sense and was easier to use, and I never had stability issues. With Android I have to reboot every couple days when my phone becomes completely unresponsive. Plus, the insider updates for Windows phone were awesome. I could always get the latest version of windows 10 and never had to wait for any updates from anyone but Microsoft.

    This is definitely not a popular opinion. I got a ton of shit from people about being a Microsoft fanboi and sticking with windows phone for years (had a lumia 900, Lumia 940/Icon, Lumia 620), but I honestly miss using that OS. Android has gotten better (I've had the original G1, the Nexus 1, a Nexus 5, and now I'm on a BLU Vivo Air LTE) over the years, but it is still an inconsistent and largely poor user experience. If I could get all my android apps on Windows phone in a decent hardware package I'd switch back immediately, but alas, some developers hate Microsoft for some reason.

    It's a shame. I like MS' one OS on all devices approach. Notifications and application consistency across devices is awesome, and I loved live tiles and hubs, which they sadly started to move away from.
     
  16. Tengis

    Tengis [H]ardness Supreme

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    Not really. The new windows phones are pretty damn nice, fast, good battery life... people just like to cry about them because the app market isn't saturated with 52,381 flappy bird clones.


     
  17. Comixbooks

    Comixbooks Ignore Me

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    I just got started using Android with the realease of Pokemon Go I really like the interface it makes sense and if you have some prior knowledge on touch screens you can figure it out.
     
  18. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    Windows 10 Phone is dead and should be left for dead. What Android needs is a better method to distribute updates to hardware. Cause right now it's up to the hardware manufacturer to update, and they really have no incentive to do so. They have lots of reason to prevent people from installing custom roms, which they do.
     
  19. amddragonpc

    amddragonpc [H]ard|Gawd

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    Again, track record speaks for itself.
     
  20. pxc

    pxc [H]ard as it Gets

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    "The many failings of Google's operating system have already been fixed in Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile ecosystem" lol wut

    One is a spectacularly successful touch screen enabled mobile OS running on close to 1.5 billion devices and one is in retreat in the same segment after a multi-billion dollar failure of Windows RT and Windows Phone OS. Windows 10 is an apology for Windows 8.x, and de-emphasized touch screen features. There certainly have been lessons learned from MS's consumer mass market failure, but more are cautionary than instructive.

    The last part had me rolling. Windows Store is still a failure, which is quite a feat since even phone carriers can make those work well.
     
  21. xX326Xx

    xX326Xx Limp Gawd

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    Actually isn't that the beauty of Android? You want vanilla, buy a phone from the Nexus line. You want tons of extra features because that is the type of person you are, buy a Samsung phone. Need one with an awesome camera, they have those to. Variety to me is the strength of the Android platform. Hence the "Be together, not the same" campaign. Oh, and get this, if you don't like it, root it and put something else on.
     
  22. Domingo

    Domingo Skip My Posts

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    Should you have to root your device (which voids your warranty) just to get rid of inescapable bloatware and a forced launcher? Should you have to settle for a Nexus device just to avoid Samsung's multitudes of Jellybean-era apps? I don't mind the idea of the OS being customizable. I don't like all of those things being forced (it's worse than the current iOS) with you having to break your warranty to fix them. If they allowed you to dump TouchWiz, uninstall Samsung's garbage apps and store, it wouldn't be a problem.
     
  23. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Yep, sure enough, as I am reading this article, I could not help but consider the fact that cell service providers, at least in the USA, had a very large hand in the demise of the Windows Phone / Mobile platform. Phones that otherwise would have been a very easy upgrade, they would drag their feet or just downright refuse to update them even a year later. Or, the would, even with a number of phones available, relegate them to a more obscure corner of the store, salesmen would steer folks away from them automatically or if you asked for one, they would immediately try to get you to buy something, anything else. Nowadays, most Cell providers in the USA would just straight up refuse to sell the latest Lumia phone.

    So, yes, it really was damage done by cell providers in the USA that aided in their demise. On the other hand, Android is pushed, pushed, pushed and pushed some more despite all the issues that occur and still occur. Oh well, I guess enjoying fragmentation and bloated phones is what the cell providers want.
     
  24. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Since there is no such thing as Windows 10 Phone, how could something that never existed be dead? ;) On the other hand, Windows 10 Mobile is far from dead regardless of the overall market share. Otherwise, my Windows 10 Mobile HTC One M8 is working surprisingly well for something that is dead.
     
  25. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    I've been looking for a low cost 10" android tablet, and it's amazing how many still come with Android 4.4, with no way to upgrade to anything higher. Just need something cheap for the wife to play games and browse the web.
    The mix in the price range/specs I was looking for was about 85% 4.x, 12% 5.x and maybe 3% 6.0.

    That's like selling new laptops with Windows XP that are not upgradeable.

    Finally bought one that came with 6.0, that was maybe $20 more than a similar spec'd one with 4.4, but it took a lot of searching.
     
  26. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Yeah, it's annoying.

    Cellphones and tablets are essentially small, portable touch screen computers.

    I don't see why we cant treat them as such from a updates and software perspective.
     
  27. jwcalla

    jwcalla 2[H]4U

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    Steve is just trolling us now for page views. He already posted this article a month or two ago.
     
  28. Quix

    Quix 2[H]4U

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    Google already has a project to replace the Linux kernel in Android and support proper user-mode drivers. I'd give this a snowball's chance in hell.
     
  29. trparky

    trparky Gawd

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    I've been saying this for awhile now. Now before you start grabbing your pitchforks, hear me out. I like free and open source software. I use a lot of free and open source software and depend upon it every time I post stuff to my web site (PHP, WordPress, Firefox, Linux, etc.).

    Unfortunately, free and open source software only works when everyone is on a level playing field and are all playing by the same rules. Google is playing by the rules, however Samsung and the Android OEMs are not. You see, Samsung and the other Android OEMs only care about one thing and that is $$$, lots and lots of $$$. Green stuff, money, dollars and cents... by the truckload! Open source only works where there's no greed.

    In reality, it should read like this...
    That may sound harsh but that's the basic truth of the situation. The Android OEMs saw a way to make a metric fuckton of money with very little effort, Google did all of the hard work while the OEMs cashed in while giving nothing back. If that's not a form of raping the Android system, I don't know what is.
     
  30. trparky

    trparky Gawd

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    But the problem is that a lot of Android OEMs aren't allowing you to do this. More and more of the them are locking the bootloaders so you can't do what you want with the device you paid good money for. Meanwhile in six months they'll abandon the device you paid upwards of $700 to $800 for just to push in front of you the next year's model device. The whole idea is to keep you forever on the upgrade treadmill. They want you to buy a new device every year, it makes metric fucktons of cash for them.
     
  31. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    Sorry Jim, it's dead. Stop trying to make Windows Phone a thing.

    [​IMG]

    Rooting doesn't void warranty, and neither does removing those stupid stickers they put on those devices. Companies that have such policies are getting away with it because nobody has sued them yet.

     
  32. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Google is playing by the rules????? Yeah, their rules and no one elses. Get real, Google cares only about one thing as well, that is $$$, lots and lots of $$$. Green stuff, money, dollars and cents... by the truckload! Open source and free should never have been equated together.
     
  33. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    As long as what I have works, it is hardly dead. Oh, and guess what, if I were to get a Galaxy S7 Edge, I would end up using all the Microsoft Apps and not even bother with most others. Also, I would not bother rooting it because it is a phone, not a desktop computer.
     
  34. dandirk

    dandirk [H]ard|Gawd

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    What ultimately would be best is to easily wipe and load the basic operating system just like Windows. Vendors should be required to load drivers into the app store (or some other easy to load system).

    The whole rom "scene" is way more a confusing pain in the arse that it should be. Have to wait for there to be a root or something, have to wait for a rom to be "put together" by someone (smart) who only will most likely move on when they get a new phone or find another challenge. After roms are available there is multiple different variations to weed through, eventually you learn what you actually want/need but that is more time than I want to spend on my phone so I just leave it stock and deal with what-ever annoying thing there is.

    Google has improved things by allowing apps to be disabled etc but I still think one should have the option to easily load the bare OS.
     
  35. Stoly

    Stoly [H]ardness Supreme

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    To this day I can't figure out why on earth its so hard to just use Android, instead of something tailored for an specific model.

    You can't just use vanilla Android 6 even on a recent smartphone, it has to be "adapted" to a particular model. And don't get me started on security updates.

    I mean its not like there are a lot of different SoC, cameras, storage, et al. At least windows has generic drivers so have your basics covered. Why can't that be done with Android?
     
  36. Uvaman2

    Uvaman2 2[H]4U

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    I only glanced at the bullshit article.
    All google needs to do is expand their OS division.. Jump in with both feet.
    The ability for windows to be installed by end users in a very wide variety of devices does not happen magically.
    MS has done a good job of keeping drivers and all that it takes to make the OS works in line.
    Its not impossible, and while MS probably writes a bunch of drivers and generic drivers, they probably mostly take them from manufacturers and validate them and makes then accessible and what not.
    Its not 'impossible' for Google to do, the bastards are getting very good at writing software.
    If they do this, 'fragmentation' will only be as optional as keeping your OEM PC with all the bunch of crap they normally put in, since then you can go and install your as Google-intended Android clean version.

    It has nothing to do with Android, only Google's laziness.
     
  37. trparky

    trparky Gawd

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    This is because Android doesn't have a sort of third-party driver framework but a lot of that can be because of Linux itself.

    Linux itself (I know I'm going to get flamed for this but it's the truth) believes everything has to have the source available for everything, including drivers; they hate binary blobs. To load a binary blob such as a driver into the kernel is said to "taint" the kernel. Now, everyone knows that the kernel itself is always in flux including the interfaces for the drivers to plug into the kernel itself. The answer in the Linux community is to simply have the source code for your driver to be included in the kernel's source tree but if you're Qualcomm, ATi, or nVidia that would be like giving away the crown jewels; everyone would be able to find out how your hardware works and that's bad for you as a hardware developer. So when a new version of the kernel comes about the third-party drivers, at least the parts of which they don't want anyone else to see (ie. the proprietary binary-only drivers), usually ends up getting broken.

    This is why you often see older hardware still using older kernel versions with security patches simply patched into the older kernel branches. A perfect example of this is some of the older (and still in use) Linksys routers that you can load TomatoUSB on to such as the E3000 and E3200 which I use. If TomatoUSB upgraded the kernel it would instantly break the Broadcom SoC, Ethernet, and WiFi drivers that are required for the device to work. That's why my old (but still working) Linksys E3000 router is still using the 2.6.22 kernel. Yeah, it's old as shit but there's nothing that can be done or I would end up with a bricked router.

    Anyways, let's get back to the core subject. The Linux Kernel Team believes that if driver source was included in the kernel's main source tree and things changed in the source thus breaking the driver, they would do the fixes for you; they would patch the driver's source and that's that. This works fine if you don't care about anyone seeing how your hardware works but in the business world where proprietary secrets rule the world, this concept doesn't work and will never work. Your competition could read your driver's source code and thus get a leg up on what you're doing and what your "secret sauce" is.

    With all of that said, the reason why Microsoft allows you to load third-party drivers into Windows and have drivers work in newer versions of Windows regardless of that fact that that driver may have been originally written for an earlier version of Windows is because for the most part the driver interface frameworks haven't changed in Windows for years. Even when Microsoft changes things they usually provide backwards compatibility for older drivers that still use the older kernel interface APIs to continue to function even when newer APIs have been developed. This is something that the Linux kernel community doesn't do since if you ask them they would tell it that it's against the very idea of open source.

    Now if Google really did care about all of this they would write a kernel driver framework in which drivers could be plugged into the Linux kernel just as easily as one would do in Windows by going to the Device Manager and clicking on Update Driver. Google sure as hell has the knowledge and manpower to do it but until that's done the issue with SoC drivers, Android, and the Linux kernel will always end up being a complete clusterfuck.

    See this document in the kernel source for the facts behind this post.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  38. trparky

    trparky Gawd

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    In that document is this...
    Well... the Android OEM's answer to this is to never update your device regardless of whether or not your particular device's kernel has a security flaw in it because for them, it would be a complete pain in the ass for them to update the kernel, test the drivers, and push out fixes for the myriad of devices that they have out among the population.
     
  39. pxc

    pxc [H]ard as it Gets

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    You won't get flamed, but this wrong assumption deserves a correction in the context of Android. The Linux kernel is licensed under GPL v2, with a restriction that it can't be licensed under a later version (i.e. GPL v3). This is to specifically allow it's use in applications where non-kernel source isn't included (besides making kernel changes available) and binary blobs are fine. There are dozens of classes of devices which use the Linux kernel and don't make non-kernel source available for applications or devices. The problem is with other parts of the GNU stack which do have stronger restrictions. That isn't a problem for Android, which doesn't use a GNU userland.

    Edit: GNU is making perfectly reasonable demands, so I don't want the above to seem like criticism. If some device maker wants to build on a mature software base, which saves time and money, it should contribute back so the next people get similar advantages to the prior people.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  40. Daniel_Chang

    Daniel_Chang [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm not big on smartphones, but I do prefer the Android approach over the iOS approach. So I have a Nexus. Software updates continue longer than 3rd party phones and it's a clean device. I would prefer a smaller device with more storage though, so I'm hoping their ~5" version is a little more compact than my 5x, and has a 64GB option. Otherwise there's no need for me to upgrade this year.
     
    nightfly likes this.