Android has been around for so very long, and in so many types, that the open up-source running method has developed on numerous fronts thanks to the frantic opposition amid the many distributors working with the system.
For all the bells and whistles of Samsung, LG and HTC, there is usually been a marketplace for a thing a little purer – a ‘stock’ OS that strips absent all the third-get together bloat for an experience that’s as shut to Google’s eyesight of Android as it is doable to get.
From the evolution of Google’s Nexus smartphone assortment (and their successors, the increasing Google Pixel phones) to the simultaneous innovation of Android A single, pure Android gadgets have carved out additional than one particular market for themselves. It’s been pretty the journey, and the story is not about still…
The Nexus genesis
The ‘pure Android’ job commenced in 2009 when Google verified it had begun inside tests on a new product it envisioned as presenting a legitimate Android experience. Quickly just after, Google exposed a partnership with HTC. The product or service of that union? The Nexus A single.
With a handful of litigation lawsuits to contend with off the bat (one particular for components specs filed by Apple and the other, of all sources, came from the estate of the late sci-fi author Philip K Dick), the Nexus A single introduced on January 5 2010, and established a blueprint for Google’s streamlined strategy to both of those its very own OS and software package capabilities.
Nevertheless, inspite of a handful of attractive utilities, these as voice-to-textual content transcription, it did not give adequate components innovations to match the stylized sort variable that had specified the Apple iphone these a sizeable fan foundation.
In no way a business to be accused of twiddling its fingers, Google adopted it up by the conclude of that 12 months with the Nexus S.
Buying and selling HTC for Samsung (the carousel of components associates would come to be a contacting card for the assortment), this new handset boasted an architecture comparable to that utilized in the Galaxy S assortment, and was the very first product to operate Android 2.three Gingerbread.
The Nexus S was a step forwards in phrases of components innovation, featuring the earliest Android use of NFC technological know-how, sowing the seeds for Android Shell out and Apple Shell out in the process. It was also, oddly adequate, the very first professional handset to be qualified for use in missions by NASA.
In 2011, the third entry in the assortment, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, continued the partnership with the Korean huge with a twin-main processor, the capability to shoot movie in 1080p and the incredibly very first use of Google Wallet.
In 2012, Google parted ways with Samsung on its cell front and joined forces with LG to generate the Nexus four.
Like the Nexus S, this up coming entry in the series was very well been given by critics, presenting relatively high-conclude specs – these as a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Professional processor and an 8-megapixel rear digicam – at an cost-effective price stage. It proved to be one particular of the most popular entries in the assortment.
The conclude for Nexus, and the start of Android A single
The adhering to 12 months, Google kept its partnership with LG going to generate the up coming iteration in the Nexus line: the Nexus 5.
As one particular of the very first handsets to ship with Android four.four KitKat (this was also the very first time Android had utilized a piece of branded confectionery to name its OS iterations), the Nexus 5 observed Google making an attempt to revert to the pure ideology of its previously versions with the inclusion of the Google Now Launcher, presenting less difficult obtain to its good assistant.
Like all of the Nexus gadgets right before it, it wasn’t perfect – shortcomings integrated a dim monitor and a digicam that did not match up to the ability of other ‘less pure’ Android phones – but it was nonetheless a conventional Android user’s suitable handset.
Acquiring fulfilled its two-product commitment with LG, in 2014 Google made a decision to perform with Motorola (which it had not long ago sold to Lenovo) for the up coming handset in its stock assortment: the Nexus 6.
Phablets were being the new in issue, with massive screens becoming massively popular, so Google went all-in with a 2560 x 1440 AMOLED screen, one particular of the earliest illustrations of this high-conclude monitor spec.
Dependent largely on the Moto X, Google utilized the Nexus 6 as the very first handset to assist Undertaking Fi, the firm’s very own cell operator service.
It was also in 2014 that a new strategy to the stock Android experience was born: Android A single. The brainchild of Sundar Pichai, product or service chief and designated CEO of Google, it was designed as a streamlined and unmodified model of Android, precisely for cost-effective entry-degree gadgets in emerging markets.
India served as the testbed for this OS variant, and in the four a long time due to the fact its launch Android A single has assisted condition the enhancement of Android in Google’s very own gadgets. The ethos of a cleaner UI, with high security and more quickly updates, can be found in the Pixel three and Pixel three XL nowadays.
2015 marked the remaining 12 months for the Nexus line, and while Google would at some point start perform on what would come to be the very first Pixel handset, it went all out for its Nexus swansong.
With Motorola now sold on, Google broke its common sample on numerous fronts by returning to LG for the Nexus 5X and Chinese maker Huawei for the Nexus 6P. Needlessly bewildering naming conventions aside, these two gadgets were being testbeds for some of Android’s newest capabilities.
The Android Sensor Hub (for detecting when the cellular phone has been picked up) and Google Now on Faucet assisted the 5X stand apart, while the 6P observed the Nexus assortment out in model as arguably its best entry, with a thinner aluminum entire body, an octa-main Snapdragon 810 chip and additional.
In Oct 2016, Google’s final decision to depart the Nexus assortment guiding, but create on its legacy with a new assortment of stock-concentrated handsets, observed the arrival of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.
The even-thinner aluminum chassis and glass rear panel represented a move in direction of a additional quality create high quality than the Nexus phones, but it was the new Android capabilities that seriously made the Pixel stand apart.
Google Assistant was at first exceptional to the very first generation of Pixels, while obtain to unrestricted, comprehensive-resolution Google Shots backup seriously sold the exclusivity of the Android seven.1 Nougat update that came with this cellular phone.
It wasn’t perfect – the deficiency of waterproofing and a litany of components concerns butted heads with the increased price stage – but as the very first authentic pure-Android cellular phone designed, designed and promoted largely by Google (HTC was technically associated), it was sending a apparent information to Samsung and Apple.
For the launch of the Pixel 2 in 2017, Google labored with both of those HTC and LG to generate its regular and XL handsets, but made a stage of announcing that there wouldn’t be a ‘cheaper’ model to match some brands’ ‘lite’ versions.
These were being additional quality handsets, and their cameras were being the centerpiece of the structure. Lastly residing up the Pixel branding, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL showcased a breathtaking 12.2-megapixel rear digicam that could capture Complete High definition movie, and HDR+ processing.
The Pixel 2 XL boasted additional quality capabilities, and did make the regular model appear a little low-cost by comparison, but Google was plainly finding closer to discovering its ‘perfect’ pure Android model.
Pixel current – and long term?
So we come to the most new chapter in Google’s pure Android journey: the Pixel three. Even though not a extensive advancement on the past generation of phones, the Pixel three and Pixel three XL sum up Google’s homegrown strategy to cellular phone enhancement.
They tick just adequate bins on the components front – one more amazing suite of cameras, and an in general structure that’s less difficult on the eye – while putting an emphasis on the toughness of Android running at its cleanest.
Debuting in 2018 with Android Pie by using the Pixel Launcher, the Pixel three phones give the best way still to experience Android in its pure sort.
A clean UI, the use of Duplex AI to remedy spam phone calls, and the Digital Wellbeing instrument have proved that, while Google is nonetheless performing out the kinks in phrases of components, it is exhibiting the way in which Google hopes to choose its OS innovation.
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