Moving to Nexus S, Epilogue

August 8th, 2011 9 Comments

So, I’ve been carrying my new Nexus S for several days, and it has really impressed me.

It’s a beautiful device, just the right size, and I love running stock Android, one reason why I flashed my EVO with CyanogenMod (@cyanogen). Why? Because it’s very difficult to compare iOS to Android if you’re running the carrier’s or manufacturer’s version of Android.

Plus, there’s no crapware.

There are scads of Android-powered smartphones available to me, of all types, prices, specs and carriers, and I haven’t come close to testing even 5% of them all. That said, I’m going to assert that the Nexus S is the best Android phone available today.

So why did stay with Android after whining about it and pondering a return to iOS?

Price.

I’ve liked the Nexus S since its days as a hot rumor, and it started out at $199 with a two-year contract, exactly like the iPhone 4. Unlike the iPhone 4, the Nexus S can now be bought from Amazon Wireless for one cent with a new two-year contract, or if you want an upgrade, carriers have decent deals to get you into one below the release price.

I got mine last week during Best Buy’s one-day freebie offer.

More than a year after its release, the iPhone 4 still retails at $199 for the 16 GB version, although discounts are starting to appear, foreshadowing a new iPhone later this year.

The lower average selling price (ASP) of Android phones has allowed them to fly off the shelves and take the lead among smartphones because you can buy a top-of-the-line Android phone, like the Nexus S, for about half what you pay for an iPhone.

To most unbiased first-time buyers, a Nexus S (or any other top-tier Android phone) and an iPhone 4 are nearly identical.

Don’t gasp. It’s true from a feature perspective. It’s the people who have used one or the other OS (and fanbois) who have issues  nitpicking the erudite differences.

Unfortunately for many Android owners, stories like this one, Why My Mom Bought an Android, Returned It, and Got an iPhone, are far too common.

My mother-in-law has a T-Mobile myTouch 4G, and every time she visits, there’s some issue she wants me to diagnose. I saw this coming and begged her to get an iPhone. Unfortunately, cost and carrier coverage prevented her.

My wife is still happily rocking an original iPhone, and the recent iPhone 4 discounts have her pondering an upgrade. When I ran out to get the Nexus S last week, I asked if she wanted to upgrade, but quickly reneged on the offer because I knew it would mean a learning curve. Luckily, she didn’t care to change.

As I waited as Best Buy failed to move my old number to my new Nexus S, I chatted with a guy behind me in queue. He was returning a Verizon 4G LTE capable phone (not the Thunderbolt) because the screen had a creeping purple hue. He previously had an iPhone and was lamenting his decision to jump for the 4G speed.

So, what does all this mean?

Despite poorer overall build quality and debateably inferior usability, Android still sells because price sells smartphones.

If you believe the highly anecdotal evidence I got from Best Buy last week, it might be selling tablets too.

I’m interested to see what Apple has in store for the final quarter of 2011 because it’s unlikely they will continue cede the price-conscious market segment.

What do you think of all this? Android or iOS for first-time users? What’s your personal preference?

Find the comments.


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9 Responses to “Moving to Nexus S, Epilogue”

  1. oraclebase Says:

    In the UK Android phones are entry level phones. You get them free on any cheap contract. The high end Android phones are pretty much the same price as iPhones, free on higher contracts, but very decent Android phones are about 1/3 the price of an iPhone.

    Not surprisingly, Android phones are very popular. :)

    Cheers

    Tim…

  2. Jake Says:

    Sounds like the carriers are blanketing the UK w Android phones for basically nothing at all price ranges. I assume the iPhone isn’t free, even w a contract, which is the same here. There’s really no way to get an iPhone for free.

  3. oraclebase Says:

    iPhones an high end Android phones are free on bigger contracts (£45 per month). Have to pay some cash if you want a smaller monthly tariff. Entry-level Android phones are free on £15 per month contracts.

    Cheers

    Tim…

  4. Jake Says:

    Wow, you can’t get a free iPhone w a subsidized contract from AT&T or Verizon here in the US, so that’s a pretty good deal. I wonder why high-end Android phones are beating iPhones, which is what you’re suggesting, right? That pretty much blows up my theory that iOS would be preferred if not for price. Thoughts?

  5. oraclebase Says:

    Wasn’t suggesting high-end Android were beating iPhone. Total Android market is beating iPhone, because it includes cheap and high-end.

    Mobile market has always been subsidized in the UK, so it is what people are used to. If someone expects you to pay for a phone as well as take out a contract, you kinda expect it to cook and clean for you. :) The exception to that is when you want a high-end phone on a low monthly contract, then you have to pay cash.

    Cheers

    Tim…

  6. Jake Says:

    OK, got it. So, high-end Android phones are not outselling iPhones bc they’re essentially the same price? That better? This is not the case here in the States, as I noted, bc sweet phones like the Nexus S quickly drop in price, whereas no one ever gets an iPhone for free.

    Whew. This returns the sanity to the price rules argument.

  7. Chris Couture Says:

    My personal preference is…still Blackberry.  I can’t get with the whole touchscreen thing.  Ironically, moving to Blackberry from years of Palm, I found the lack of a touchscreen annoying, but got used to it and is all good. I like having the QWERTY on the phone.  I don’t like this stupid Torch with the sliding touchscreen, though. But, due to a cracked screen and RIM’s long delay in releasing their next generation of handsets, I had to get something. Torch (blech) was it. 

    Neither my wife nor I have ever had interest in an iPhone.  She tried out a few android units last year, didn’t appeal to her; I didn’t bother trying any of them.  I’m looking forward to the new Bold 9900.

  8. Jake Says:

    Wow, a tried and true BB guy. I’m not surprised you don’t care for the slider; I dislike those myself, or maybe it was just the oddness of the original Droid. Sometime soon, you should be able to run emulated Android apps, so that’s nice.

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