Why we need Nexus phones

Google leads the way with its An­droid hand­sets

Android Advisor - - Contents -

The Nexus 6P and 5X (see pages 48 and 58) could be the per­fect An­droid phones we’ve been pin­ing af­ter for years. Great build qual­ity, a top-flight cam­era, rapid up­dates, all wrapped to­gether with an un­sul­lied version of An­droid.

It’s es­pe­cially that last item that phone man­u­fac­tur­ers keep fum­bling. You can get an ex­cel­lent cam­era with a new Sam­sung Galaxy S6 or the LG G4. HTC’s all-metal One se­ries has al­ways been a leader in the looks depart­ment (see page 90). And the Moto X lets you build a de­vice to your

lik­ing in a near-stock An­droid pack­age (Though how of­ten it stays up to date is an­other mat­ter.)

They are all good phones. But all are sus­cep­ti­ble in one form or an­other to a list of griev­ances. Slow up­dates. Pre­in­stalled apps you can’t get elim­i­nate (from the de­vice maker and car­rier). In­ter­face tweaks that merely change, in­stead of im­prove, the An­droid ex­pe­ri­ence.

Th­ese con­tin­ual prob­lems have con­vinced me that de­spite what oth­ers may say, we des­per­ately need Nexus phones to lead the way. I’m more op­ti­mistic than ever with what Google pro­duced in the Nexus 6P and 5X. Here’s why it still needs to teach ev­ery­one about how it’s sup­posed to be done.

A Touch of the Wiz

We’ve railed plenty of times here about third-party soft­ware. Sam­sung’s TouchWiz and the cus­tom in­ter­faces from LG and HTC are easy tar­gets. But why is that one of our con­stant gripes?

Of­ten they don’t add any value. Most of th­ese cus­tom user in­ter­faces un­nec­es­sar­ily change the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the set­tings, home screen, and other fea­tures. Yes, An­droid is all about open­ness and cus­tomi­sa­tion, and giv­ing ev­ery­one the free­dom to do this. But they should ac­tu­ally make things bet­ter.

To be fair, some­times they do. Sam­sung adds some use­ful tweaks to TouchWiz. For ex­am­ple, there’s a handy check­box in the drop-down menu to turn on auto-bright­ness. You can also cus­tomise which set­tings are at the ready from this spot.

TouchWiz also lets you uninstall an app from the home screen – some­thing An­droid fi­nally added with Marsh­mal­low. Phone makers can, and should, add

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