Android One: A Thought After Reviewing Moto X4

The Android Phones has been around for quite some time and it is around 11 years since I first held the HTC Hero (yes that one with the chin). Being a Nokia user for sometime, a friend bought the HTC Magic and I was intrigued with the new OS. At last a simple user interface coupled with easy to install app was a breath of fresh air as compared to the Windows Mobile and Symbian OS.

Fast forward till today, Android OS as in the purest form has largely stick to being utilitarian to a fault. Manufacturers such as Huawei, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo, Samsung, HTC has put their own spin on the OS with their own skin and unique apps to differentiate themselves from the rest of the manufacturers. Herein lies the beauty of the Android OS. Being open source everyone can do whatever they needed on the OS and yet has access to all the apps from the Google Play Store.

But things now has gotten more complicated and sometimes the manufacturers themselves has the best hardware but the user experience via the user interface is anything but enjoyable.

That is why Google came up with the Nexus program, superseded by the Pixel and Android One programs. These programs are meant to showcase the Android OS at its purest form. Pixel is to pair Android OS with the best hardware there is and Android One’s mission is to pair the OS with cheap hardware so that millions of users who are still hanging on to the old versions of OS can upgrade to the latest OS and solve the fragmentation issues plaguing the Android ecosystem.

After the launch of Pixel 2 (HTC) and Pixel 2 Plus (LG), one thing is for sure – Google is charging premium prices for the Pixels and coupled with the crippled retail strategy for Singapore, it is all the more frustrating for someone who yearns for good hardware that comes with a vanilla Android OS for a more respectable price.

That leads to this article. Why in the world won’t the manufacturers come out with premium Android One handsets?

The Moto X4 is not a bad phone! In fact it is a capable phone for a lot of things but the most demanding applications such as playing 3D graphics heavy games and 360 imaging.

But I do need better processor, dual SIM WITH additional MicroSD card slot, higher RAM and storage space (IP68 would be nice but really not that necessary for me). I would want say a Samsung Note 8 or Huawei Mate 10 with Android One OS that allows me to quickly update the OS and security patches for 2 years.

Let me emphasize that again.

Phones in Android One program has quick access to the latest OS and security patches for the 2 years from the purchase of the phone coupled with a bloatware free user interface.

Yes. The Android One program is actually the most valuable selling point for the Android Ecosystem. Why can’t better hardware be sold with it installed? During my review of the Moto X4, I have seen that the phone was updated to Android 8 from 7 late last year just as Oreo was pushed out to the world.

Do note that this happens even when Moto X4 has its own dual lens set up and camera interface. The other Android One phone I know – Xiaomi A1 – has only one camera lens set up.

That means the update happens even with phones that has different hardware.

Android users that would like the latest security patches and OS would really love to have such an access. There are also users who like vanilla Android OS user interface even though it can be seen as ‘kid-ish’. They want all the above, with the latest hardware.

Is it so hard to have Android One program with the best hardware for those who are not fans of the Pixels (no I really don’t dig the two tone design nor the OLED issue)? Why can’t Huawei come out with a Android One Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro since the differentiation comes in the form of design and camera systems anyway?

This would actually benefit both Google and the manufacturers since the updates are handled by Google and the manufacturers don’t need to do too much to the OS. I am not saying doing this is easy. It really depends how the phone is designed to accommodate the OS but judging by how Moto and Xiaomi are doing, it is highly possible to have another range of product that using Android One OS with better hardware other than the Android One products that has to be cheap to entice people to upgrade.

The sales potential is there although there would include some ego swallowing by the brands.

Here’s my review on the Moto X

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