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November 20, 2016

From the Editor’s Desk: Hallelujah

by John_A


It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift.

I haven’t been sleeping much. You see, I got a dog last weekend — a Great Dane, Zadie, named after the incredible novelist Zadie Smith — and she’s been keeping me busy. It’s not my first dog, but the first I’ve raised from puppyhood, and the responsibility is humbling. She relies on me for everything: love, shelter, food and, of course, discipline. For a pup she’s relatively well behaved, but it takes a lot of work, and a lot of repetition, to overcome her desire to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, in any place she finds herself.

We humans are not too dissimilar. I’m writing this with my phone next to me, buzzing, Twitter just a Chrome tab away, and a bevy of great shows to watch on Netflix. Even as an adult maintaining a solid work ethic requires practice, and maintenance, both of the body and soul. Eat right, exercise, and yes, have some fun. It’s a hearty balance, and one that I am lucky enough to say I have access to.

Others are not so lucky. We are bombarded with stories about those less fortunate than us not having access to basic human needs, things that many of us take for granted. Here at Android Central, we write for those who love tech, embrace the way it improves our lives, without lingering on the fact that as essential as these tools are — the phones themselves, and the networks that fuel them — they are not as readily available to everyone.

Even as an adult maintaining a solid work ethic requires practice, and maintenance, both of the body and soul.

One particular example helped me see this disparity more clearly: the Google Pixel, at $649, alienated a lot of people used to Nexus phones being affordable, a tool for everyone, not just a privileged subset of the population. Google knew this — knows this — and priced the phone considerably higher than its predecessor anyway. But it had to deal with the baggage of expectation that came from years of Nexus phones — the Nexus 4 and 5 especially — being utilized not just as great smartphones, but as mass-market, affordable pieces of technology that crossed over to new and diverse segments of the population.

We praised, and continue to do so, the Pixel for its excellence, without properly taking into account a widely-held belief that Google was marginalizing, both by forgoing wide carrier support and pricing the unlocked version higher than expected, many people who found the phone to be egregiously overpriced.

We praised, and continue to do so, the Pixel for its excellence.

We still think it’s worth the money, but Google is actively ceding a portion of the market to cheaper flagships like the Honor 8 and OnePlus 3. That brings me to another short point: why does the OnePlus 3T exist? Surely it wasn’t OnePlus’s intention to replace its flagship only five months after its debut. Or if it was, why price it higher? Its predecessor’s $399 tag was one of its defining characteristics, and while $40 isn’t a huge burden on new buyers, it does expose chinks in the company’s long-term plans. It finally needs to make money, and inching upwards brings it closer to profitability.

A few more things:

  • The team worked really hard on the Holiday Gift Guide, and I’m pretty proud of everyone who participated in it. Hopefully you find something that fits within your life and your budget!
  • The HTC Bolt is such an interesting phone, and it makes me excited for Nougat on the HTC 10, which I haven’t used in some months because, well, there are just too many phones.
  • I got my hands on the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 this week, and plan to follow up Alex’s review with a few thoughts on it. It’s completely over the top, but like the cars from its partner brand its excess is what makes it so intriguing.
  • I’m also looking to spend more time with devices, like the Mate 9 and LG V20, that run non-Google versions of Nougat, to see how they compare to the Pixel “ideal.” I expect to be disappointed.
  • One of my favorite devices of 2016, the Moto Z, is poised to get Nougat soon. That’s one device I’ll probably put the Pixel aside for, at least for a little while.
  • RIP, Leonard Cohen. You’ll be greatly missed.

Have a beautiful Sunday, and be good to one another!


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