Although not completely without my biases, I like to think that I am open-minded about smartphones. I like iOS; I like Android; I even try to give Windows Phone the benefit of the doubt when I can. Heck, I still wish webOS was around sometimes. But smartphones are more complex than just their operating systems, especially for smartphones running on Android. While iOS will only ever be exclusive to Apple products and Windows Phone probably won’t be growing anytime soon (if ever), Android keeps branching out with new OEMs who have their own unique UIs and features to bring to the table.
Of course, Android has pretty much always been that way, and as the platform continues to improve, the number of manufacturers that want to invest in the platform grows as well. Initially we had a few brands like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and LG, but now it’s all of those and more. There’s Huawei, Alcatel, Xiaomi, ZTE, Asus, OnePlus, and Oppo. Smaller companies like BLU have made a name for themselves over the years, and even start-up company Nextbit made an impact in the short amount of time it was on the scene before being purchased by Razer not too long ago. Nokia, after a hiatus once Microsoft acquired its mobile division in 2013, has made a return to mobile this year in the welcoming arms of Android as well. Those are just some of the brands I can think of off the top of my head, and that isn’t even counting their subdivisions and various brands of smartphones.
Long story short: There are a lot to choose from. As open-minded as I like to think I am, I still have a lot of trouble straying from the brands I was first introduced to.
Surprisingly, I’m still using my Galaxy S7 that I purchased last May as my daily driver. I’ve had a few stints testing out other devices here and there, but for the most part I’ve stuck with the same phone over the past year. Still, that doesn’t deter me from doing a little window shopping every now and then, but even then, I notice that I keep window shopping for the same brands I’ve always used: HTC, Apple, and Samsung are among the ones I use the most. The BlackBerry KeyONE recently popped up on my radar, but again, this is a company that I used to use quite frequently. I sometimes check out LG and Motorola devices, too, both of which have manufactured daily drivers of mine in the past.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of choices out there. As much as I’d love to, I only have so much time and opportunity to check them all out and try to find the best device for me. At the same time, it’s not a bad idea to be mindful of the other options that exist. Just because I’m used to HTC or Samsung or Apple doesn’t mean I’m always going to be thrilled with their products – and I’m not. For instance, I was disappointed with the Galaxy S4; HTC’s M9 and U11 both disappointed me; and I’m still salty about Apple’s removal of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7. While I haven’t yet experienced a year where all the brands I’m “familiar” with have created devices I’m unhappy with, I do think I’m doing myself a disservice by not expanding my horizons more.
Then again, sometimes you just like what you like and that’s all there is to it.
Readers, what are your thoughts on smartphone brands? Do you tend to stick to a select few, or are you always trying out something new? What are your favorite OEMs on the market right now? Let us know in the comments below!