The android lottery
I don't know who coined that phrase but it's always stuck in my mind. It refers to every new device model year where a prospective shopper must do their homework to figure out which OEM manufacturers have released the devices with the best reliability, performance, features, quality. I am being a little evasive. I do not believe in the Utopian feel-good opinion that this means "all of the big names are good and you can just pick the one that suits you best". I think feeding potential buyers this isn't doing them any favors and just avoids you having to deal with a torch wielding mob of angry fanboys/girls.
Then there's other issues. Fragmentation while much reduced is still present. Things are pretty quiet when you're making a subtle iterative jump from jellybean 4.2 to KitKat 4.4 over a 2 year span. But then there's those groundbreaking leaps to a game changing version like ICS and the upcoming 5.0 that rocket " omg when is my OEM/carrier releasing it" to the hottest forum and news feed topics for months. Even ICS to JB project butter brought a lot of that. There's only one way, aside from rooting, to avoid that in android. Nexus. I've owned several nexus devices including the last 3 most recent and they were not without their share of issues. And as we've seen,regular flagships make damn nice phones that are hard to ignore too. You also run the risk after you do finally get that coveted hot new version of a faulty release that needs a service update to address unforseen major bugs. Wifi a mess? Our bad. Cya in 3-4 months folks. I've been there quite a few times.
It reminds me somewhat of buying a PC laptop. Some PC laptop makers are praised for frequently turning out solid quality, while others have a history of not, and several degrees of in between. This got me to thinking. (This is the part where you folks may commence lighting your torches): Why is it that I felt the most prudent laptop purchase to send my child off to university was a macbook, yet I don't carry that product opinion over to my own mobile devices when I'm well aware that the iPhone has the most consistently good track record in the industry for hassle free performance, reliability, quality, and customer service?
1. Screen size
2. Android capabilities
3. Google services ecosystem
4. Choice of devices and features
5. Customization. Not only of design but of how I use the UI
But, and there's always a but, there are dilemmas I have to face now. IOS isn't as bareboned as it used to be, and there's some pretty good stuff coming down the pipe feature wise this year to lure me away. Android L is going to be a big deal for android, and iOS will be as well. Not just the OS but hardware also. My final thoughts - the lines for choosing between an Android and iPhone are about to get very blurry this fall.