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?
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.