Google recently posted an article to celebrate 10 years of Android, which looks back at the previous versions of the world's most popular operating system. In conjunction with this, I thought I'd share my Android journey as well. Let's take a trip down memory lane.
My first Android phone was the HTC One X, which I got in mid-2012. This was a special moment for me, not only because this was the start of my Android journey, but because it was the first time I had ever bought a phone with my own money. Understandably then, I took a long time to decide which phone I should buy. In the end, the choice was between this phone, and the Samsung Galaxy S3. It was a "Dog Fight" between the two by Aaron Baker on Phonedog (those were the days) which ultimately led me to my decision to purchase this phone. Having previously come from an iPhone 4, the HTC One X showed me what Android was capable of, and I was hooked. I could take an mp3 file and convert it into a ringtone directly on the phone itself! This was not possible on the iPhone. And so, my love for Android began.
Over time, I started tinkering a little deeper, which led me to XDA. I started playing with custom ROMs, and my interest in Android grew deeper and deeper. After one and a half years, it was time for an upgrade. I wanted a phone which would allow me even greater flexibility with regards to tinkering. Something built for custom ROMs, mods, and kernels. Something, like the Nexus 5.
The Nexus 5 is regarded by many as the best Nexus device ever made, and I agree. Granted, I never actually used any of the Nexus models prior to the 5, but even to this day, my time with the Nexus 5 remains my favourite smartphone period. So much so, that even after it was snatched from my hand by a snatch thief on a motorcycle, I bought another one without a second thought. My Nexus 5 may not have been the best phone in the market during that time, but it still had something which made it, special. After a year, I wrote a long-term review of the device on Google+ and it garnered 2300 +1's, 114 reshares, and 271 comments (this was during the Golden Age of Google+). Clearly, others thought it was special too. Alas, all good things must come to an end. In September 2015, I upgraded to my custom designed Moto X Pure Edition.
I was super excited to get my hands on this device. I had spent weeks on Moto Maker trying to decide on a design, before finally settling on a black front and dark grey frame, walnut wood back, and champagne gold accents. It was so cool to know that no other phone in the world looked like mine, as each wood back had a unique design, with different wood grains from one another. However, it was at this point in time when fingerprint scanners started becoming common on smartphones. As amazing as my phone looked, it was lacking a core feature that many newer phones had, and I was missing out. Looks can only get you so far, so after almost 5 months I switched to a phone with a fingerprint scanner, the Nexus 6P.
Getting the Nexus 6P didn't only mean getting a phone with a fingerprint scanner, it also marked my return to the Nexus line after a brief hiatus. This time though, things were different. While My Nexus 5 was almost always on a custom ROM, mod, or kernel, I don't think my Nexus 6P ever saw a custom ROM at all. Android had grown and flourished to a point where I felt that I didn't need to tinker with the software to get a better experience. I was happy with Google's version of Android, so I used my Nexus 6P as is. I had never switched phones so quickly before, but I was happy I switched to the 6P from my Moto X.
And then, disaster struck (cue dramatic music). Google announced that the Nexus 6P (and 5X) were to be the last Nexus phones the company made. The Pixel line replaced the Nexus line, but it wasn't just a replacement. It was a complete re-imagining, a complete change in direction for Google. While the Nexus was relatively affordable, the Pixel was downright expensive. While the Nexus was aimed at enthusiasts, the Pixel was aimed at the mainstream consumer. While Google made Nexus devices in an obvious partnership with another OEM, the Pixel was made in house. It was clear, the Nexus line was dead. The Pixel brand never appealed to me, and it still doesn't, but I'm no longer using my Nexus 6P. So, what phone am I using now?
Enter the OnePlus 5T, my current smartphone of choice. It's much more affordable than many other flagships on the market, but still houses some high-end specs. The software isn't bloated with heavy skins, but is instead enhanced by Oxygen OS. In fact, Oxygen OS is the main reason I chose a OnePlus device. So many useful features that contribute to an incredible user experience. I've been using this phone for nine months now and I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm interested to see what the OnePlus 6T brings, but not enough to want to upgrade. This phone will continue to serve me well into 2019.
That's my Android journey so far. Not exactly 10 years, but it's been a very exciting 6 years nonetheless. Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the platform.