This week was filled with Android smartphone news, all of which involved high-end devices from familiar manufacturers once loved by or with positive ties to the Android community. OnePlus told us when to expect its OnePlus 10 Pro in the US, Motorola let us review its Edge+ (2022) and launched it, and Nothing gave the first details of its first device arriving this summer.
But while we felt some excitement at the prospect of a batch of new premium phones hitting the market, it’s obvious that few of our readers care. In fact, it’s Android now. If it’s not a high-end Samsung phone, or if we hit that time frame about a month after Google released theirs and the issues start piling up, the US Android world gets away with it. form. It’s really starting to get sad.
To be clear, this isn’t so much an article about Samsung as it is about the rest of the industry. Samsung dominates here in the US because they make really good phones in different sizes and at different prices. They update their phones better and longer than anyone, update specs, often improve in ways others can’t (or won’t), and they launch without all the issues that seem to plague so many other phone makers. I understand why Samsung phones are loved.
This article is about the rest of the industry and how they need to pull themselves together.
We lived in this Android space that had several big players doing their own thing. Samsung has always dominated, but HTC was a household name for years, Motorola carved out a niche for itself over Verizon, LG tried success, Google had both Nexus and Pixel lines that still excite people to a certain level, and OnePlus caught the eye of enthusiasts who wanted everything on a budget. But now it’s just Samsung catching the eye and everyone seems ignored.
If you scroll through the news articles we’ve written about these new devices this week or check out the Twitter replies and reddit threads, it’s nothing but “No!” and “Yawn” and “I don’t trust Motorola”.
Why? LG and HTC are gone, so you’d think Motorola, OnePlus and Google would try to grab the gaps left by those missing names. Sadly, Motorola has mostly disappeared outside of its mid-range offerings which I can’t even keep up with. Their lack of commitment to updates has certainly turned away a number of potential customers, and their limited releases that mostly involve Verizon aren’t helping either.
For OnePlus, they decided a few years ago that they were at Samsung’s level and that was a mistake. Their endless price increases, followed by questionable software decisions, patchy update rollouts, cameras that couldn’t keep up, and truly obnoxious marketing schemes did their damage.
And for Google, the Pixel line has been hit or miss over the years, but the Pixel 6 line was meant to be everything. Phones launched and Google really struggled with each other’s software, perhaps because of their Tensor chip, but that’s still no excuse. While I love both phones, I’m not going to sit here and deny that the first few months of their availability was a frustrating mess for many who own one.
As for Nothing, I don’t know why the interest isn’t there. It may be because of the fake and limited deployment of their headphones to create people annoyed with the fake request. Maybe it’s Carl Pei’s awkward Zen vibe or it all seems like a throwback to the OnePlus playbook. Either way, the chatter surrounding Nothing’s products around these parts isn’t very positive.
Thing is, I don’t know how any of these companies can make that return. OnePlus should drop all efforts to make a profit and ditch OPPO, Motorola should really start trying a few ways they haven’t done in years, and Google should finally release a phone that isn’t plagued by bugs. problems for his first month. I don’t think anything has a chance to move, assuming the prices are right and they really do something as interesting as they ring their first phone. There’s also OSOM, which is creating a 2022 version of an essential phone that has potential.
So while many of you will be fine buying the next Samsung Galaxy phone, I’m definitely not. I will continue to point out the flaws of these other phone makers. I’ll also remain optimistic about companies that will want to try, such as Nothing’s Phone (1) and OSOM’s upcoming phone. I’m going to give credit to Google for going its own way with the chips and holding out hope that Round 2 should lead to a smoother launch. If we don’t, we’ll all end up stuck with One UI… meh.