Look, I guess if you’re super into iOS, that’s fine. It’s a slick walled garden, but it’s still a walled garden. You may call me a hater because I would love me some Windows Phone goodness, but that’s a walled garden I could relate to better considering I’m not into the whole Apple thing. Today’s big Android announcements would’ve been exciting enough if they just showed off new phones, but they didn’t just do that, they unveiled the next major iteration of the OS that makes Apple’s recent 4S/iOS 5 releases look like minor, gimmicky updates in hardware and software. Is Siri the best you got, Apple? C’mon now.
The Droid brand doesn’t excite me, which is partially because I’m not on Verizon, but primarily because the branded phones are usually decked out in thick OEM skins from HTC and Motorola that come off as a weird crust on an otherwise great Android experience. At any rate, it was Verizon and Motorola who brought us the first big phone announcement of the day with the unveiling of the Droid RAZR (complete with revitalized flip phone ID!) and it is gorgeous. It’s super thin (aside from the standard Motorola camera hump), thinner than the iPhone 4 in fact, with some great guts and LTE. On top of that, the phone features an amazing 4.3″ SAMOLED qHD display that makes me want to die with joy with vivid colors and no backlight bleed. I’ve been in love with the display tech since I got my Epic and it’s very difficult to go back to most LCDs after using it for any time at all. At $299, it’s a bit much to ask for up front, but it is a lot of phone. I was high on the RAZR supply, but then…
Galaxy Nexus + Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
In a late evening appointment, the Galaxy Nexus was trotted out to the world in a Hong Kong event. The hardware itself seemed fine, with a curved 4.65″ SAMOLED display (trending, much?), guts that weren’t as hefty as the RAZR, and a 5MP camera instead of the RAZR’s 8MP camera. The real distinguishing factor, however, is the newest version of Android. From Mathias Duarte, the creative UX mind behind webOS and, uh, Honeycomb, comes a new face of Android that seems ready to compete with iOS on slickness and Windows Phone on glanceable information. Highlights: emphasis on people in contacts, no-lag shutter, ditching capacitive buttons for on-screen primary buttons, and graphical flourishes. Until now, many aspects of Google’s OS come off like most other Google products: completely lacking in design etiquette in favor of a dry spreadsheet-ish look in places.
But things are different now, and as much as I’d recommend anyone get an Android device if they’re looking for a phone, it’s going to be so sad that most aren’t going to get this update. If you’re a phone enthusiast, it’s hard to even look at the RAZR with Android 4.0 just around the corner. Sure, it may get it eventually, but my Epic was supposed to get Gingerbread in March, so… I’m not ashamed to admit I’m wrong in regards to the Android fragmentation thing, like we talked about in our recent podcast, but Android 4.0 is honestly enough to keep me in Android land for the foreseeable future.