Google was disappointed if you were expecting a major Android upgrade that had deep issues, at least based on the details announced so far. The company did not spend much time discussing Android 13 and most of the announced updates were known, minor or both. They were largely determined by the media and privacy controls. Traffic as it is will not be a revelation unless you are. While we may not have seen all the features of Android 13 yet, there are already some really useful improvements (such as the status quo will remain largely intact.
And that is unfortunate. While Android is a very capable platform with great hardware to match, there is no device that nails every experience consistently well. Buy a powerful phone and you will probably be overwhelmed by the idiosyncratic software. get the Android variant of your dreams and you may have to endure mediocre cameras or chips. It’s time for Google and manufacturers to work together to create devices that you can easily recommend to others.
Software: Too much or not enough?
To be fair, Google is only partially responsible for the current situation. The beauty of Android itself is the ability for vendors to add their own spin – a uniform experience created by Google will make sense.
However, the company is still playing an important role and it is becoming increasingly clear that it can do more. Use one or another phone with “clean” and you will realize that the stock operating system, while visually cohesive and lint-free, is still relatively bare. You won’t get an advanced camera app, extensive media integration, special browser features, or other clever tricks you often get with custom Android experiences. The varnish is not always there – just. Apple has had its share of dangerous updates in recent years, but it seems to have overcome the glitches that Google occasionally leaves behind.
You can install applications, startups, and other utilities to improve things, but this is not realistic for some users. I would not give a Pixel to a newcomer or anyone who wants strong out-of-the-box capabilities. Google could improve its functionality and quality to compete more directly with its partners than the usual handful of (usually) temporary exclusive Pixels. While the company has recently turned more to normal feature drops than mammoth operating system reviews, Android 13, as we know it, is still somewhat disappointing on this front.
This is to prevent these partners from coming off. While phone makers are not exaggerating with customization as much as in previous years, some non-reserve Android experiences still include their share of arbitrary modifications. Samsung is the classic example. Although One UI is much cleaner and more third-party friendly than it is, it still tends to duplicate Google features or promote services that you probably will not use. Do you really need two browsers or to buy apps from the Galaxy Store? You’ll also see some state-of-the-art Android implementations from Chinese brands, though we did note that Xiaomi has curbed MIUI.
And the situation seems to get worse in some cases. OnePlus initially attracted fans precisely because its customizations were limited and usually very useful, but there are indications of the creeping influence of Oppo’s leading software design software on devices like the. The OnePlus Shelf pop-up menu interfered, for example, during our review. Update policies have also sometimes taken a step backwards, as Motorola still does not guarantee more than one major operating system upgrade for some phones. It would be great to see OnePlus and other vendors achieve a finer balance that adds thoughtful touches without focusing too much or restricting software updates.
Material: Flies in the ointment
Software hiccups would not be so problematic if the devices were more rounded. It is very common to find an Android phone that has excellent performance in most respects, but has at least one weakness that tarnishes the experience or even proves to be dismissive.
A quick search for big Android phones shows it very well. The regular series is one of the best all-rounders on the market today, but it has a mediocre, non-expandable storage space, a 1080p display (good, but not the 1440p they want) and reduced features in its smaller version. Pixel 6; Great value, but the infamous whimsical fingerprint reader and limited storage space can quickly kill interest. The OnePlus 10 Pro is only a slight improvement over its predecessor and still suffers from poor camera quality. You can overcome some of these limitations with free flagships like Sony or Sony, but then you can spend a lot more than $ 1,000 on the franchise.
It becomes an even bigger challenge with more affordable models. Motorola is becoming more and more popular among budget users, but its features and missing features (such as NFC) pose serious problems for buyers. Samsung mid-range phones can be lazy or otherwise unattractive and look like a step backwards. Devices like the Poco F4 GT and the upcoming offer high-tech processing power at a low price, but you can safely assume you are making compromises in areas such as camera technology. And don’t get us started on companies that offer huge but low resolution screens that can be annoying.
To be clear, every phone has its compromises. It would not be realistic to expect a perfect product from any brand, including those beyond Android. Apple is often conservative in its iPhone design and has been slow to adopt common Android — 120Hz and USB-C features, anyone? Most of the time, however, you choose an Android device based on the major flaws you are willing to tolerate, not because it is clearly the best you can get for the money. Combine it with the software dilemmas mentioned earlier and a really well-rounded Android phone can be very difficult to find.
Rays of hope
This does not mean that the Android phone industry is in dire straits. The very crises at the heart of this piece underscore how far the platform has come. Android 12 (and soon 13) is arguably more sophisticated than previous reps. Once-disliked brands like Samsung have shown some restraint and it is much easier to buy a budget phone that will make you really happy, even if there are clear shortcomings.
You can also indicate some devices that show the way forward. While Sony’s recent Xperia phones are increasingly expensive and geared towards the target audience, they tend to offer powerful performance, good cameras, top-of-the-line displays and moderately custom software. And if the box is facing some of its predecessor problems, it may just be the Android phone that will win the second half of the year.
On the contrary, the concern is that there is much more room for growth. Companies should take a more holistic approach to designing phones where there are few, if any, obvious sacrifices in the name of price, bragging rights, upward storage sales or sales services. Google could do more to set an example, such as matching the most advanced software features of its allied vendors. It is entirely possible to build a phone that excels simply because of the lack of glaring weaknesses – all you need to do is find the determination to make it.
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