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Rationalizing the Galaxy Nexus
This is a bit long but I feel like there is a lot to say about WHY I am holding out through the lenghty release window of the Galaxy Nexus. And I'm wondering if others out there share my feelings or if I am simply off the reservation on this.
I'm currently stuck with a (quickly dying) Blackberry Curve 8530. When I bought it nearly two years ago, my decision was based on three simple things:
1) I wanted to be able to get my ISP e-mail
2) I wanted to be able to surf the web
3) I wanted a physical keyboard
Beyond that, I had no clue what I was doing. And while I consider myself a little bit of a tech-nerd, I knew at the time I selected the device that I was most likely "settling" because I didn't know what else was really out there and Blackberry had the brand recognition (and I was on Verizon and was very happy with them). Here I am sitting on my final "new every two" upgrade opportunity and I'm wanting to make sure I, again, make a decision that is going to satisfy my needs that I have laid out. But this time, I also want to make sure that I make a more well informed decision (better understand the true benefits/restrictions and strengths/weaknesses). I want to enjoy my next device for at least the next two years.
I've done as much searching for written and video previews/reviews as I possibly can. I've done so to the point that I worry about my wife seeking a divorce due to my intense searching and attention to my desire to pick a frakking phone. ;-) My wife has an iPhone 4, my son has an iPod Touch and my best friend has the Droid X. I've had the chance to play around on theam all (the iPhone much more extensively of course).
In short, it seems to me that the following things apply:
- iPhones have a reputation of high quality
- iOS is simple, easy to use
- the Apple ecosystem is a closed, controlled, tightly defined and regulated experience
- Android device quality ranges from horrible to excellent
- Android is overlayed with device manufacturer-specific "skins" that offer varying degrees of OS experience
- Android allows for more personalization/customization
- the Android ecosystem is an open, unregulated experience
So with some of those basics in mind, I began my research into what would make ME happy. I really enjoyed the iOS and how "slick" the experience seemed to be. But I felt the experience was a little too child-like or cartoonish for some reason. I'm still not sure I can put my finger on it but that is the best way to describe it. On the other hand, I was intrigued by my friend's Droid and some of the things that it seemed to allow me to do. The feeling seemed more "adult" for some reason. So, in essence, my view of the perception of the simplicity of iOS vs. the complexity of Android came across as one of "user maturity."
From an ecosystem perspective, I saw some neat things my friends with Androids could do with their Android devices (e.g. remote video security of their home/property, remote control of model railroad trains, etc.) that I wasn't too confident could be found in the Apple ecosystem. And I'm not one to D/L just anything simply because of its name...I think I'm smart enough to stick with things I find recommended from reliable websites, so the fear of malicious apps isn't something that applies to me.
So from an operating system perspective, I started leaning towards Android.
But then my attention turned to the device capabilities and started looking into my options. Based on what I found, I decided that the GSII reviews were enough to convince me that IT was absolutely the device I wanted without any equal. Of course, I was crushed when it was revealed that Verizon would not deploy it in its lineup. And therein lies my discovery of the impending Galaxy Nexus.
I have to say, the reason I am so juiced up about the Gnex is not because of the device or the OS but because of the COMBINATION of the OS and the device.
And here's how I rationalize it:
The device's hardware seems optimized to run on the new OS and the new OS seems to do everything that I would personally enjoy working with on a device. Does it have the highest speed processor (1.5Ghz vs 1.2Ghz)? No. Does it have the highest megapixel count on the camera? No. Does it have the thinnest measurements? No. Does it have an external metal construction? No. Does Ice Cream Sandwich make me WANT to use it? Yes. Does the hardware on the Gnex make me feel like it would be a complete joy to behold? Yes.
I liken it to an automobile. Just because a car has a relatively high horsepower rating, that rating doesn't matter if it is only at the redline of the engine, nor if there is insufficient torque to apply it properly to the wheels. It doesn't matter if the wheels are a certain size if the quality of the tires is not up to par. It doesn't matter if the cargo space is of a certain size if it is an awkward layout.
My point here is that it seems like the hardware included in the Galaxy Nexus is suited perfectly to showcase everything that Ice Cream Sandwich can deliver. Perhaps the camera is only 5MP because of the need to provide for endless zero shutter lag photos to be captured. Perhaps the choice of installed memory vs. micro-SDHC is to provide for faster performance. Perhaps the processor type and speed was chosen to optimize performance vs. battery strain.
Whenever I read reviews of or comments about the iPhone, I can't recall ever seeing anyone complain that there is no removable memory. I haven't seen any complaints that the battery cannot be removed. I have only seen a few people remark on the smaller screen size in a mildly disappointed manner (same goes for the lack of 4G support). I haven't seen many complaints around the fact that the processor is underclocked compared to its actual capabilities nor the fact that the iPhone continues to provide only 512MB of RAM.
In fact, it seems the vast majority of reviews praise to the fullest extent of how Apple provides the right balance of hardware speed and capability to support its OS. Any perceived shortcomings are glossed over in a weirdly diluted need to praise Apple for its all-too-perfect products.
As I have read the reviews and specs of the Galaxy Nexus, it seems like its hardware components were designed to do everything for Ice Cream Sandwich that the iPhone 4S was designed to do to support iOS 5.
The single biggest (pre)complaint I've been reading is about the 5MP camera. I am a semi-pro photographer and I 1) use a DSLR for any serious photography work and I 2) have watched the videos of the use of the Gnex and see the people shaking the phone quite hard during their attempts to rapid-fire zero lag shots with it. Therefore, I'm pretty confident the camera will deliver what I want out of it.
In my mostly uneducated--but quickly trying to remedy it--mind, there are some conclusions to which I have arrived. The camera is balanced to deliver what the software can actually force on the hardware. The processor speed and non-removable memory deliver the best system performance to guarantee maximum use of Ice Cream Sandwich. The screen (and its Pentile display) is optimized for HD display qualities of the intended screen size along with battery power consumption. I sincerely doubt Samsung--coming fresh off the massive success and accompanying reputation gained from the GSII--would risk a substandard device that accompanies Google's single biggest software showcase since its inception.
Therefore, I am confident that what I plan to purchase has the right HP/torque/tire combination to suit my needs (not to mention the dandy creature comforts of the cabin).
So am I over simplifying this? Or is this a rational decision on my part?