Walt Mossberg has published a column in The Verge in which there’s a little mistake just in the headline. When he says ‘It’s time for Google to make its own hardware‘ he forgets Google is already a hardware maker.
It has shown that for example with its Chromecast devices, but above all with the two Chromebook Pixel models it released in February 2013 and March 2015. Those beautiful machines only had -still have- one big problem: they were -still are- based on Chrome OS, which was -still is- no match for a machine so powerful and well designed.
But I agree with him deeply in the rest of the article: Google should really become a mobile maker the same way Apple is since 2007 and Microsoft has started to be since the acquisition of Nokia in late 2013.
In fact, when I wrote about the useless Nexus I critiziced the new models (5X, 6P) because they were competing with Google’s traditional partners without adding that much differentiation on them. As I wrote back the, “it seems Google makes this smartphones just because it can”.
But they can do better. They should do better. The Nexus family should be a testimony of what Android can offer. The should show the way, be the goal, become the model to follow. And that can only be done if Google designs not only the software but the hardware that runs that software.
The five reasons Mossberg gives to defend that role of Google as a mobile hardware company are relevant, and as he adds, that hardware “should be targetd specific areas like hero phones and those for people in low-income countries“.
I see Google becoming that kind of mobile maker. And I see them doing that because that’s the only way the future Android-Chrome OS merger will be able to show what it’s capable of. Google can’t rely on its partners to demonstrate that. Apple has not done it. Microsoft has not done it (with Windows 10). Google shouldn’t do it.
HTC released yesterday the new HTC One A9, a smartphone that look really good from the outside and that also gets really interesting features on the inside. There are doubts about its battery life, but what matters here is the promise of Android updates 15 days after the official Nexus line updates. They’ll have to prove that, because not everybody believes they’ll be able to get that.
The 3GB RAM / 32 GB storage will be $399 for a limited time, and if the camera delivers -audio seems to be fantastic- this is a good deal, although the Nexus 5X is even more competitive and the camera, according to the reviews, is really good.
The design is really aggressive. It’s so similar to the new iPhones that I wonder if Apple will sue them or not, but they really would have a winner here. But I guess HTC wanted to make a safe bet here: many people do judge a book by its cover, and on the looks area, the One A9 is good. As good as the iPhone 6s.
Two reasons why Apple can talk about a new record:
The new iPhones were available in China from day one
Two weeks for preorders this year instead of the classical one week.
That could be good arguments, but comparisons are useless and unfair, as almost anytime one tries to do them. The 13 million of iPhones sold during their first weekend (10 million for the iPhone 6/Plus last year) is an astounding number.
The reviews are coming. Nilay Patel calls the iPhone 6S Plus the best phone in the market –he’s not alone– , but he adds: “Note that I said the 6S Plus, not the 6S.”
The main camera is “not so much intensely better than you’ll notice a difference if you’re just sharing them on Facebook“, and the front camera that matters more according to him (excuse me?).
On 3D Touch, “there aren’t a ton of rules for how anyone should use it outside of the peek and pop and quick action APIs” so he expect developers get the real sense of it.
I’m not sold to 3D Touch -let’s see if it really saves times and makes everything more convenient as it seems- and the camera isn’t that gorgeous (it was already great anyway), so as Patel says, don’t upgrade from the iPhone 6/Plus.
If you’ve got an older model, though, the update makes sense for iOS lovers. But not for the camera or the 3D Touch technology.
It’s because the size.
That’s the only compelling reason to jump to the new iPhones. It was the reason too for the previous models, so no big news here.