Why we need Nexus phones
Google leads the way with its Android handsets
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