As we close on 2014, and approach 2015, it doesn’t hurt to take a step back and reflect on what was accomplished and what didn’t work out so well during the year. 2014, without a doubt, showed off some great new tech like Android Wear, and virtual reality is finally showing tangible signs of life. Even Apple decided to finally do something new (for itself) and make a reasonable phone size.
2014, as it’s winding down, is also showing some rather dangerous indications of what might be in store for Android OEMs in 2015. Sharp declines in sales, market stagnation and ridiculous patent warfare may bleed over into the new year, and I doubt anyone is going to come out victorious in the end.
A few months ago, before Google released its most recent Nexus phone, the LG Nexus 4, there were several substantial rumors floating around that Google was planning on opening its Nexus line to multiple manufacturing partners. It all started with a report from the very credible Wall Street Journal and the rumors went something like this: Google will offer its “Nexus” name and early access to the latest stock Android builds to any OEM who is willing to play by Google’s rules and build their phones with a minimum set of specs set by Google’s team. There was said to be five new Nexus phones from five different manufacturers (LG, HTC, Sony, Samsung, and Motorola) all released on November 5th (Android’s 5th birthday) and they’d each be sold in Google’s new Play Store. Sounds pretty plausible, right? Android had finally grown up as an operating system, and now it was time to get the pure Google experience on as many powerful flagship phones as possible, while bypassing the manufacturers ugly and unconventional skins. To be honest, when I first read this rumor I was beyond excited. I absolutely love stock Android (post Ice Cream Sandwich) and was salivating about the fact that I’d get to choose from several top of the line hardware variations for my next Nexus.
I’m sitting here today with my Galaxy Nexus by my side with its wonderful 4.65″ HD Super AMOLED display and I’m feeling a bit of tech envy towards the 4.8″ display that’s set to arrive when the Galaxy S III hits the shelves. I’ve had some hands on time with the HTC One X and its 4.7″ screen and Motorola’s current flagship device, the Droid RAZR, offers up a 4.3″ display. It seems that most Android phone manufacturers are of the view that bigger is better and with the runaway success of devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note, it would appear that they might be right.