Editorial: From Now On, I Will Only Buy Android Smartphones That Carry The Nexus Name

Having taken in all that Google had to offer through two days worth of keynotes, I’m left with one standout thought, stock Nexus devices are the only way to go these days. That’s not to say that Sense or TouchWiz aren’t good, on the contrary, but if there are any concerns over future updates, stock Android and Nexus is the only way to play. So here’s my take, Google announces Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and while it’s more evolutionary, than revolutionary, it’s packing enough features that it’s a desirable upgrade for any Android smartphone owner. Which leads me to my concern and what I’m betting is the same concern as many of you, when will we get it on our smartphone? For Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S owners, that question has already been answered, mid-July. Unless of course you want to go the hacking route and install it now, but that’s a story for another day.

The bottom line is that while there is a lot to love about Android, perhaps the single most disappointing aspect of Android ownership is the unknown update timetable. With every Android purchase these days, I can’t help but feel I’m going to sit there wanting, waiting and hoping the next update comes and in a timeframe that doesn’t make me weep like a baby.

So, I’ve made a decision, from this moment forward, I’m only buying stock Android devices, which will likely be those that carry the “Nexus” name. HTC, Samsung, LG,  and Motorola are not disavowed in my world, except they’ll just have to make the aforementioned Nexus device I’ll buy. One of the reasons I’ve kept an iPhone by my side is the certainty that I’ll get an upgrade at the same time everyone else does. Sure, I may lose some features depending on the age of my device, but when the upgrade drops for one, it drops for all iOS devices.

My one disclaimer is that a job as a tech blogger affords me the opportunity to try multiple devices so of course I’ll experiment with all sorts of Android skins in the future. However, any devices that I actually buy, from my pocket, will only be those in the Nexus line. Still, none of this changes my aggravation and frustration with Android updates and that I’m already wondering just how long it will take my Galaxy S III to receive Jelly Bean. This device is just over 10 days old and I’m already questioning if I’ll receive Jelly Bean before year’s end. Is that a tad bit dramatic? Sure, it hopefully won’t take till 2013 to get Jelly Bean on Samsung’s flagship device, but the fact that I can even raise that as a concern is leading me straight into a Nexus-only Android lifestyle. I hear the weather in Nexus-ville is beautiful year-round.

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  • DannyAves

    Jelly Bean??? I would like to even get ICS on my Galaxy Blaze…the one with 1.5 dual core processor and 1 GB ram.

  • Ungibbed

    I’m more than happy with my Galaxy S2 and ICS :)

  • Mr_kuntri

    ((michael jackson “beat it” in background))

    root it  … just root it root it .. duh-duh-da-duh-duh root it root it  … just roooot it, just root it if you really need it neeeed it.  
    if u get a S3 and want JB!    =)

    • MT4GSlideOwner

      That sounds great, except, if your phone cannot easily get s-off even with the HTC unlocker. Or if moto has the bootloader locked. Or if samsung has propriertary drivers for their cameras and other devices. Or if there are no devs working on it at xda, modaco or rootzwiki.  The it doesn’t matter if you root it or not.  It sounds great but Rooting is not the answer for every phone.  Ask those with the mytouch 4g slide how rooting is working.  There is still no ICS beta at this point let alone a stable.   

      • Get_at_Me

        Shame for that phone.. Such promise. Advanced users who root should be savvy enough to know what devices to buy. The tmo gs3 will get mad dev support. Its a flagship phone. Although the mt4g slide is a great phone spec wise, it wasn’t one of those highly sought after devices. Trust me i know what its like to take a chance on a device that gets no support…gslate, cough cough. Dropped that like it was a bad habit after lg and the dev community pretended it didn’t exist

      • TMOTECH

        Actually there is a CM9 update for the MT4G Slide…I will post the link below…

      • TMOTECH
  • Get_at_Me

    Preach David!!!

  • HelloAmaze

    As much as I love my white Amaze 4G, I too will be jumping on the Nexus bandwagon from here on out

  • Siarhei Hushchyn

    +1 David
    it’s a shame on all manufactures to neglect their devices, which translates into neglecting their customers and so dropping value of their brand.

  • tommy

    Updated OS are not all that important! quality of HW is important, apps are important.  Are you really comparing various devices, or just saying speed of updates is the only issue?
    You are paying a price for this open source operating system. If you have to wait a few more months for updates that’s a small price to pay for a better system in the end.
    If you are unhappy go to apple. Not very smart.

  • Marcolino

    Its gonna be the same things that was with the ICS update on samsung devices 8 month waiting vs. Nexus devices update via OTA on time.

  • Ford_Thundercougarfalconbird

    Of course, there is no wifi calling on the Nexus phones. That is a dealbreaker for me. 

    • tommy

       thats hard to believe why do you say that? can’t you just use an app for that?

      • Ford_Thundercougarfalconbird

        No, because no apps exist to duplicate that function. And, no, Google Voice doesn’t do that. 

        • tommy

           look up grooveip or wifi calling on the android market (google play)

    • Kppet2000

      if you go to the dailer setting at the bottom called “Use Internet calling”. from there you can change the setting to how the call is routed, in guessing it works for wifi also.

  • Linux Rox

    Of course I got to the same decision you did, but by a different means:
    1) Tmobile chargeing $80 more for the SG3 than everyone else!
    2) Removal of the quad core cpu.
    3) Tmobile on the verge of upgrading the network to faster service.
    4) Wondering when and if the updates come.

    I wont even go into the fact that my last samsung device is running ICS just fine with XDA DEV support, but yet the devices manufacturer cant be bothered?

    yeah wont happen again!

    • Chris Blanks

      My dad got his SG3 at a T-Mobile store yesterday for $220

  • ecdy

    The NYTimes this morning pointed out that themajor contribution of Apple to the telephone business was in taking phone design (and software) out of the hands of the carriers, and making customer-oriented phones.  They could have also said the customers prefer the uniformity across carriers, lack of bloatware, etc., that comes with that.  It’s the carriers’ fault that the Android market is so fragmented and, in particular, that OS updates come out at arbitrary times.

    Your solution of using only Nexus phones is no doubt the only way to go if you want to go non-Apple (we have yet to see what M$oft might do if more carriers take on their OS).

    That said, it’s disappointing that my Nexus One, with a 1GHz single-core processor which should handle ICS, has peaked out at GB 2.3.3.   My answer is to use a G2X (almost pure Google) which works fine on 2.3.4 (although not as smoothly as an iPhone on iOS). LG and TMo will apparently top the G2X out at 2.3.4 but as long as it’s not awful, I see little point in the OS-update race.      Phone and OS improvements from generation to generation are in truth getting smaller, and even the newest phones with ICS are relatively clunky.  I’m skipping the next generation entirely.

    • jmickelonis

      How could that EVER be considered a contribution?  It might work for them, but taking possible innovation AWAY from other companies is NEVER a contribution.  By that argument, you could say that Apple’s attempts to stifle innovation through litigation is a major contribution.  Android has enjoyed exponential growth thanks to innovation and competition among the supporting manufacturers and carriers.

      Apple has not innovated much since the first iPhone was released.  They slap a few new features onto what they have and increase the version number.  They increase their hardware specs just enough to remain competitive and get more money out of their current customers.  It’s the same deal with their desktop and notebook line.

    • jmickelonis

      I’m a developer, and while it’s a pain keeping up with all the Android variants out there, I’ve never complained about the fragmentation.  I’d rather this than go with something similar to Apple’s walled garden.  People want choices, and keeping the Android variants different from one another gives them just that.  As long as the people get what they want, Android and its developers will enjoy millions of activations (and new possible app customers) each day.

  • Elpapipr

    Or you can just install latest custom firmwares and have it before everyone else..

  • Caseybea

    A year or so ago I got an International unlocked Galaxy S.   Loved it.    Recently got the Galaxy Nexus to replace it as an upgrade.   After those two experiences, I am never NEVER buying a carrier-branded (meaning, carrier-wrecked) phone again.   I love the value (non-subsidy) family plan I’m on, and as I watched the drama surrounding ICS updates (or lack therof), I am enjoying my Gnex even more.    Best phone purchase I ever made.    My future purchases will be along the same lines.   Pure – vanilla – and UPDATED – nexus devices.    

  • Perry_F

    Have a GS2 and was thinking of getting the g-nex. the lack of sdcard, slower network speed and inferior camera made me rethink the planned purchase. Now that my GS2 has ICS the only think the g-nex has going for it is a better screen and the JB update. In all other areas the GS2 is better/equal to the g-nex.

    If google really wants their nexus program to be successful then they need to make devices that are on par with the carrier flagship devices and include the same features.

    Cameras and storage are big issues for most people as they want to carry their entire digital life with them on their phone and be able to snap good photos wherever and whenever they please. A 5MP camera will not cut it, not on a so called flagship device. And while you can store stuff in the cloud nothing beats having it on an sdcard. With data limits being imposed most folks don’t have a data plan that will allow them to stream and download all they want from the cloud without using up their data plan in a few days.

    The onboard storage gets used up quickly when you start loading it up with ringtones, video, mp3s, photos etc… The OEMs need to remember that a phone nowadays is replacing several gizmos. No need to carry an mp3 player and camera if your phone can do it all.

  • just a thought

    I love all the fancy stuffs that Samsung or HTC put on their phones. Since I’m not a tech blog, I don’t have the urge or need “to be the first to use something”. If my G2x is not scheduled for ICS, then it’s fine too. When it’s contract is up in about a year, there will be plenty of more powerful ICS devices for me to choose from…and the cycle goes on :) 

  • Thanks

    I think another thing about the nexus line is the developer options. Not being a developer, but wanting the latest and greatest, I rely on those developers out there doing this kind of work for the masses on sites like xda. While I appreciate those folks who work on the other phones, there are just flat out more roms and such on the nexus line. At least more than the SGS2. 

  • Lawalty

    I was just like you totally go with straight Nexus brand, until reading that Google is caving to the whims of Apple, and is working very hard on taking certain core features AWAY from the Nexus line that i’ve gotten very accustomed to. Like global search mechanism, where you can just begin to type someone’s name in the Google search widget pulled up contacts from your phone. Now, finding out that Apple had a patent on this!?!

    These are going to fundamental changes to the OS that will put the iphone above android.

    • brimante

      I agree that it’s stupid to remove this functionality.  This global search was done on PC’s way before Apple ever dreamed of it.  Just because the “computer” is now battery powered doesn’t mean it’s any different.  Why should this be patentable anyhow?  The patent office is full of idiots!

  • Carms

    SUPER DRAMATIC DAVID lol given that only 5 minutes ago you were an Apple fan boy lol buHAHAHAHA <3 Carms