Sunday, 4 November 2018

Is there More to Life than Pie?

This last week, I had got to the point where I realised that no mobile phone available in the Android world had what I wanted - so I considered Apple!

Those who know me, know that the times I've considered iPhones and other Apple products in the past has always ended in failure. The longest lasting Apple product I owned was an iMac. I loved the hardware so much that I tried and tried and tried to make it work for me, but I just couldn't get my head round the Apple Way after such a long run with Windows.

Then there's the iPod Classic sitting in my drawer! Still going. The battery never seems to need topping up! I switch it on every six months to check and all my Music, Music Videos, TV Shows and Films I bought from the Apple Store back in the day are still on there for me to listen to and watch (on the tiny screen, and with headphones of course)! But I digress - the main point here was the boredom attained by mobile phones generally - and the possibility that I have to consider that, stood out as long as I have against manufacturers' skins and forked versions of Android, they are more interesting than Vanilla! As might be iOS.

I have recently reviewed and considered a range of phones including the latest from Huawei, Samsung, Google, LG, Motorola, Sony, Nokia, Asus, Honor and BlackBerry and rejected most of them, ultimately, because they are not Vanilla - or not near enough to Vanilla for my liking. But actually, it could be argued that, well, at least they have made an attempt at having a personality of their own. Of that list, the devices that run clean versions of Android, or as near to, I put my SIM Card back into them to use as my daily device, fire up the phone get it all updated from when it was last used with Play Store Updates of Apps and any OS/Security Updates, then shrug. Right. What's next, I say.

It makes me stop and think. After all the negative things I've said about the range of devices which are not Vanilla enough for me, I have to think also that they hold my attention longer because they are different and have functions and quirks and, yes, I guess, a personality of their own. Much as I dislike pre-installed bloat, much as I don't get why Settings have to be rearranged, much as I reel at manufacturer's own versions of basic PIM apps already supplied by Google, I have to admit that they are to some degree interesting, different and offer an option. Which is what Android was always about.

Which brings me back to Apple and iPhone, or indeed any device really that yes, may not be a Pixel, pure and simple, with fast-as-lightning updates going forward, but at least doesn't make me shrug and lose interest in using the device very quickly. Now, to be fair, I did get to the same point when I have tried iPhone sometimes, too. But the exposure has been very brief. But maybe it should be in the list of stuff to try and longer-term, more interesting. Maybe this is all poppycock - and the real reason that it's boring is not because of Vanilla or personality, but lack of engaging apps and services. The bubble burst with social media? A jaded view having been let down by Google Plus?

Perhaps this is not about hardware at all but software and services - and having been involved over the last decade in the rise and fall of many, perhaps this whole issue is about the plateau which phones find themselves sitting on. Most things are settled, innovation is less strident and the journey has slowed down. In amongst that, however, the boredom question remains - and should make us strive for phones that are different in some way and not a bog-standard Google or Nokia.

Is there more to life than Pie?


  1. I have to admit, after about 20 minutes of deleting/disabling pre-installed app additions I don't need, I'm all set with a Sony phone. Their launcher is minimal and keeps out of the way, very close to the Google Now Launcher. The Sony audio EQ additions I have turned off, preferring to use those built-in to individual player apps if I feel I need them (which is almost never). I use Google Photos instead of the Sony photo gallery app; same for email (Gmail) and Google's messaging app. There's only one app ("What's New") that I can't turn off, but thankfully it usually stays quiet. To me, this is a reasonable compromise in terms of OS, but Sony phones aren't exactly cheap, either!

    1. I agree. A good solution. Sony are going the right way. Loved the XZ2 and XA2. XZ3 was fine too except for price and battery. XZ2 had the win there. But yes, Sony is a very good middle ground.


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