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Why I’ll never go back to a non-Google Experience device
By: Bob Gourley
Jun. 29, 2012 01:00 AM
I have been an Android user for my mobile phone for over two years now and using their tablets almost as frequently. I started with the HTC EVO 4G, and have possessed more than ten (no seriously) Android tablets, phones and devices since then. I can (and do) root everything I own, installing custom ROMs and using root only applications to keep my devices synced and ensure continuity of user experience. However, I am no longer just going to wait on developers to ensure this service, I will hereforth abstain from non-Google Experience devices.
As Google I/O kicks off today, and they likely unveil their first Nexus Tablet (which at $200, we all know I’ll buy), pay attention to discussions of “Jelly Bean ETA” and how Google plans to ensure non-fragmentation. There are so many forms of Google’s Android OS that it would be silly to list them – but when only seven percent of all devices are on the version (Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0.x) released back in November and they ready a new release (Jelly Bean, Android 4.1.x), Google has to control device manufacturers to ensure continuity of user experience.
But, I digress. After two years of using Android devices, I have made a decision, I will only purchase devices direct from Google, only GSM phones unlocked to any carrier. When Google releases the next Nexus smartphone, I will purchase it as well, but only from them. So, when paying attention to Google I/O, make sure to see who is promising to get rid of their OEM skin, and to remain allied with Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
Today, I use a modified version of the AOSP on all my devices (AOKP). They take directly from AOSP and tweak it a little (adding amazing customization options). Thus, I am able to maintain a constant experience and know the options. While there are 30+ devices supported by AOKP, it is not all of them, not even close. However, every single Google Experience device is supported, as well many others are.
I am sick of counting on OEMs to deliver timely updates. I am tired of crappy OEM skins – TouchWiz, Sense, Blur, etc. I want my Android, and I want it clean. Google is still offering the Galaxy Nexus GSM for only $399 on the Play Store. While it’s not as powerful as the HTC One X or the Samsung Galaxy SIII in pure horsepower or benchmarks, it has the strongest developer base in Google (as well the third-party developer community).
When Google offers the Galaxy Nexus GSM plus the allegedly forthcoming Asus 7″ tablet, you’ll be able to get a full tablet and smartphone experience for $600, roughly the cost of any other major smartphone without network discount. While I’ll probably lose out on some pretty awesome devices (Galaxy Notes, Asus Transformer), I want the real Android experience, and will not settle for anything less. Join my movement, and stick only to Google Experience devices from here on out.
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