The Galaxy Nexus Experience, 8 Months Later

Samsung and Google’s second child in the mobile department, the Galaxy Nexus has been around for almost two years now and although the Nexus 4 improves on many of the gripes I have with the Galaxy Nexus, I never made the switch. That’s partly due to the fact that I picked up the Galaxy Nexus a week before they announced the Nexus 4. Even though the GNex has been around for quite a while we can’t necessarily call it “old-gen”. With a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a 720p display, the GNex is probably the best mid range android handset around today. Having said that there definitely were a few instances where I’ve wanted to bang my phone against the wall.

Let’s start with software. The biggest advantage to buying a nexus device is that you get the assurance that your software is probably going to work better on your phone as compared to anything else you might pick up as it is maintained by google itself. It runs the latest version of android (4.2.2) and its smooth, most of the time. My biggest problem with the phone is probably the battery. Not the battery life (which is abysmal) but the battery itself. My battery is constantly at 38 degrees but more that often above 47. That not only makes the phone really hot but also causes an immense performance drop. Swiping through home screens takes long and it takes the phone about 3 seconds to register touches. Apps like the gallery and browser are unusable and often force close. Apps that are more power hungry refuse to even open and often cause the phone to just crash.

The thing I love the most about my phone is how customisable it is. Rooting and tinkering with a nexus device is a breeze, especially with Wugs toolkit. There’s nothing about the phone you can’t change. When I got the phone I went crazy with all the things you could customise. I was running CM10.1 with Franco’s Kernel, used ROM toolbox pro to root and configure the little things, changed my font, my boot animation, my softkeys and made many other customisations. This however brings me to my next point.

At the beginning when I had the phone it was flawless. No lag, never force closed, no issues. However, after a while, one by one issues started to arise. It got so bad that I had to do a complete wipe of the phone and go fully back to stock. I’m now on the stock ROM with the stock kernel and action launcher + flatro icons on the front end. Things were never the same however. It could be due to the battery over heating or maybe some other issues. I tried loading Paranoid Android over the weekend to try out the ‘HALO’ feature, much to my dismay my phone was beyond unusable. I went through all the checkpoints (wipe system, cache, dalvik, etc.) but nothing worked. The phone booted up fine but navigating through the home screens and menus were a nightmare. Everything lagged like it never lagged before. I couldn’t open any apps and when some would open I wouldn’t be able to use them (like the settings app).  So alas, I restored my nandroid backup and even though its running well now on stock android, I steel feel like I’m a burger without fries or like SpongeBob without Patrick, I feel like I’m missing a part of me.

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Why living in different ecosystems suck.

Have you ever looked at someone who had a Mac, iPhone and iPad and just thought to yourself, damn that guys a fanboy. Well I used to think that way myself, but the truth is, it’s much easier when all your devices and services come from the same company. look at it this way, say I had an Android phone along an iPad and windows 8 laptop. I would have to buy an app on the windows 8 store and then pay again for that same application on the App Store and on Google Play. Where is if I was using a phone a tablet and a computer from the same company then I would only have to pay once to get the app on all my devices. In other disadvantages that some maps only work on iOS or some apps only work on Android which means if you had both then all your apps wouldn’t be able to work. Also if all your devices come from one company, then you get additional features that allows them to live in harmony such as apples iTunes and iCloud which allows you to back up and keep all devices, etc. In sync, same is the story with a Google account for android and a Microsoft account for windows. Let me give you a real world example, today I set up a Plex Media Server and wanted to download the Apps for my mobile devices. I had to pay $4.99 to get it on my phone, another $4.99 for my iPod and $2.99 to get it on the windows store for my laptop (the windows 8 metro app). Now if I had say a windows phone 8, a microsoft surface and my laptop, I would only have to pay once. That’s the drawback of living in separate ecosystems. Another problem I had is with App support, yes that counts. I recently started playing a game called letterpress, but it’s only on iOS. And I really like using this app called Younity, but it’s only available on iOS. This is why companies work hard to make sure all their products can live together in perfect unity by setting up an ecosystem, HP went on to call their ecosystem “Synergy”. Take Apple as an example, all their products from the iPod to the Mac even all the way to the Apple TV! They also make sure that if anyone has only one of their products, they’re gonna make sure you want all, by offering some features that can only be had if you own more than one of their products.

This is why you see people who own a lot of products from the same company, sometimes its brand loyalty and sometimes its just because it’s much easier and hassle free! Most companies have set up their Ecosystems very well, some of them choose to make hardware first and then tie it in with software such as Apple and RIM, and some companies started making software first then started producing hardware when they saw the scope such as Google, Amazon, etc. This is why many times you’ll see people saying they bought an iPad “because of the ecosystem”. Now of course ecosystems don’t only mean Hardware and Software, although that’s the majority of it. When used in a consumers point of view, the ecosystem also refers to how popular a product is and 3rd party reaction to it, for example iPhone’s and iPad’s have much more and much better cases than Android devices, strengthening their ecosystem. So all in all a strong Ecosystem is essential in making consumers feel more comfortable with their products and also have a heavy influence on consumer decisions.