The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are unexciting. There, I said it. As a long-time Android user and as someone who doesn’t prefer iOS, that’s saying something. Let’s be clear, the phones are good, no doubt, and a lot of people will value the specific advantages that owning a Google-built device brings. The new Pixels come with Android Oreo out-of-the-box with a promise of software support for three years, as well as a single-camera setup that is touted to be the best in the world. Despite all of that, they just don’t excite me. But that’s my problem.
However, unlike what an Apple iPhone is to itself and iOS, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are not the be all and end all of Android. You choose a Pixel device if you want what the Pixel offers, and if you don’t like what the Pixel offers, you have the option to ignore it. You also have the option to choose your own price, features, specifications, variations of Android-based software, and brand.
While iOS is undoubtedly a fantastic operating system with a lot going for it, it only works on a phone made and sold to you by Apple. The system exists in a single form with no scope for customisation beyond certain limitations, and the devices are exactly what they are. It’s unfair to say that Apple phones are all exorbitantly priced; that’s only the case with the flagship device, while previous devices remain on sale at reducing prices.
Today, you can buy an Apple iPhone SE at under Rs 20,000. Even older generation phones continue to receive software updates and support thanks to Apple’s closed and controlled system, which is what draws so many people to the Apple ecosystem. ALSO READ: Apple iPhone SE Review
Unsurprisingly, the closest an Android phone can come to that kind of setup is the Google-built Pixel series. Since Google controls the software, its own phones naturally function on the purest and least adulterated form of that software, and are assuredly the first phones to receive the latest firmware versions, updates and patches. Older Pixel and Nexus devices are also supported for a certain timeframe, and have prices reducing based on the age of the device. However, this is the only weakness of the program, which is common to both Apple and Google. The only way to affordably buy a device is by buying a phone that is a year or two old. And when you’re putting money down, wouldn’t you want a device that is new and current?
That’s what makes Android so special; you don’t have to buy a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL to be on Android. You can choose from a huge range of devices built by any of hundreds of manufacturers, at a price of your choosing, with software that suits you and with features that work for you. You can buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 with its massive screen and stylus, a OnePlus 5 with its raw power and near-stock Android software, a Xiaomi Mi Max 2 with its giant screen, or a 10.or E with its sheer value-for-money. Or pick anything else you like, because you can.
If an Apple device flops, that affects the credibility of iOS massively. It sets the company and the system back, it results in millions of disappointed buyers that paid a lot of money for their phones. Therefore, an Apple device must be perfect, because everything depends on it. A Pixel device, need not be perfect, because that is the very nature of Android. It’s designed to be open and flexible, to offer options and to suit everyone. And Google is a software company that builds its hardware to support its software, unlike Apple which builds its software to supplement its hardware and make sales.
So, if you want the purest Android experience and the sheer power of Google’s software might, the Pixel is for you. If for any reason that doesn’t work for you, Android lets you choose what does. And that’s the power of Android, and the reason why no matter how much criticism the Pixel 2 may face, it means nothing to the sheer quality and dominance of Android as a universal operating system.
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