Glorious return for struggling Android users

There is something funny going on right now here in the Android world.

while you Think The mighty big dogs for Android devices will dominate the dojo and leave little air for anyone else to get into, a series of pessimistic small startups are attracting attention among the Android enthusiast crowd as they prepare to enter the arena.

By all common logic, these companies should be on a hypothetical suicide mission. Most market share analyzes show that Samsung consistently competes for the lion’s share of Android phone purchases, with other competitors to big-name Android phones vying for relative scraps of the hardware buying pie (which, incidentally, is the most emphatic. not apple flavor).

Heck, even Google itself has been having a slow and seemingly arduous process of bringing self-made Pixel phones from the niche-level products of knowledgeable people into household names that demand a significant portion of the market — to turn them into devices that are on the radar of normal, non-card-carrying humans, in other words. . and that google We’re talking about, for crying out loud.

However, as we speak, two ambitious companies are poised to do the impossible – to step into the world of Android devices and offer devices that they promise will be truly different from the status quo.

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Whether they succeed or not is something we will have to see, of course. But with absolutely no certainty, I can assure you this: the fact that they are equal attempt It’s a huge win for us as an appreciator of exciting technology – and their prospect in the crowded Android market is in and of itself a pretty amazing win.

Familiar faces, familiar bite

The companies involved here may be new to the Android phone industry game, but the actual mammals behind them are anything but inexperienced.

The first and most curious to me, personally, is a first-time phone maker called Osom. As we speak, it’s in the midst of talk of its first Android demo – a neat-looking little piece simply known as the Osom OV1.

Awesome phone - Android Asum

Ha: Asum phone. (And yes, it is pronounced like “awesome.”)

The OV1 was originally slated to launch around February, but that timing has been pushed back to this summer and then more recently to the fourth quarter — the latest delay appears to have been driven by a desire to ship the phone with the latest, but not yet — available Qualcomm processor.

In terms of looks, if the phone looks familiar, it should be: The Osom OV1 is basically a successor to the Essential PH-1, a favorite Android phone that launched in 2017 amid big plans for an entire ecosystem of smart home products around. Despite the exceptional design of this device and an unusually impressive approach to its timely software support, the company behind it was finally hit – and no official follow-ups or complementary devices have ever been released.

Primary Phone - Andy Rubin Basic

An essential phone that is not long in this world. I rest you well, my sweet prince.

Osom is (pardon the pun) Basically Picking up where Essential left off, with much of the same team behind it—although there was one major exception: At least on the surface, the Essential phone was all about Android founder Andy Rubin, whose association with the product gave the company instant credibility and immediately put it on the map. But Robin’s reputation these days isn’t what it once was, to put it mildly – and so with Osom, the team he’s put together is branching out on its own and past that tainted bond.

So what makes the Osom OV1 so interesting? Why should anyone care? Well, there are several reasons:

  1. Based on all the teasers, the phone is shaping up to be just as cool and gorgeous as possible – with a “zirconium ceramic” back, titanium for the camera casing and physical buttons, and a stainless steel frame. Now, does any of that change anything about how the device actually works? of course not. But it would definitely make it stand out from the crowd and attract a certain type of technical hominid.
  2. According to the phone’s creators, the phone will move away from the common Android pattern of sticking around Google’s Android platform mostly just for change and instead follow in Essential’s footsteps by offering a near-stock experience, focusing on both optimal user experience and fast software updates. and reliable.
  3. Regardless of the basics, Osom OV1 will differentiate itself by offering a strong focus on privacy, with improvements yet to be detailed that should provide more control over exactly how data is shared in different situations.

Oh, and the Osom team has said its devices will sell for less than a thousand dollars — a significant factor when most premium phones are now well up to four figures.

And this is just the first part of the story of the next generation of vulnerable Android.

Much Ado About Nothing

The upcoming new Android device startup is similar but also familiar. It’s called, amusingly, nothing – and it’s a shrouded project orchestrated by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei.

Nothing really produced a pair of earbuds — which, well, okay — but now, unofficial reports suggest the company has been quietly showing off a prototype of a new mobile device with plans to launch it publicly in April.

What makes a Nothing phone worth buying is something we don’t know yet. Details about the device are still incredibly scarce.

But Pei has managed to build an ardent following of Android enthusiasts with his early efforts at OnePlus. Many of OnePlus’ first brands have been carefully introduced to the tech-lover community, with a reasonable software approach – a “stock-plus” kind of philosophy not all that different from what Osom does now – combined with exceptional hardware and almost shocking affordable price tags, especially In those early days.

Since then, OnePlus has pivoted toward pursuing a more mainstream type of appeal (and made – and then exploited – some questionable decisions with its products in order to make it happen). To be fair, those efforts sound Pay off: The company’s sales are up a whopping 524% year-to-year in 2021, according to one analysis.

So, yeah: If there’s anyone who knows how to make their way into a crowded market and can make an impact, Bey sure looks like the guy.

Now, look: we’re talking 100% about theoretical products that aren’t brought up here. I certainly can’t tell you if it’s worth your hard-earned cash at this point or if it will be able to hold a candle to the top of current options within the Android ecosystem.

what am I maybe I’ll tell you, though, that diversity has always been one of Android’s greatest assets. Unlike the Apple ecosystem, where it’s a one-size-fits-all, love it or leave it, Android has always offered a range of different hardware styles and options.

In recent years — as HTC and LG fail and flounder, Motorola suck head-on, and promising startups like Essential, Nextbit and OnePlus either fold or focus on goals very different from the ones that made them famous — true The level of purposeful choice among those who seek exceptional, flagship-quality experiences on Android is surprisingly poor.

Suffice it to say that going back to a situation where we have really compelling options – those that have different overall user experiences but are similarly excellent – would be a leaked Leap forward for us creatures that value Android and appreciate having interesting options. Regardless of whether you eventually buy an Osom phone or nothing, those companies pushing the limits of what’s possible within a premium Android device can only be a good thing in terms of increasing competition and forcing everyone throughout the ecosystem to stay on their toes.

And one more thing: while having 1% of the total smartphone market might sound like peanuts for a company like Google, 1% of a huge meat pie is actually a pretty astronomical number by most non-giant company standards.

Consider: somewhere near 1.4 billion smartphones sold worldwide in 2021, according to Gartner’s geek count. It will be one percent of that 14 million.

That’s 14 million sales representing just 1% of the total smartphone market. This means that even a file part From a percentage of – let’s say, 0.25% – you’d still be shipping a whopping 3.5 million products.

Osom and Nothing doesn’t have to do much to build a healthy, sustainable business. Even if they are hardly just a picture on the radar within the broader smartphone market, they could be killers by their success metrics. More importantly, it can enrich our choices in an important way that brings to mind the earlier days of Android.

The underdogs of Android are back, baby. And believe me: no matter what kind of phone you currently want to use, their second coming is something to celebrate.

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