There is little question that Apple’s new iPhone 7 is a hefty improvement over iPhone 6s in every way. The design is familiar and comfortable. It’s faster, easier to use, has a better camera, stereo speakers, long battery life, and I could go on and on.
I’ve argued that we’ve reached ‘Peak Mac‘ and Kate MacKenzie carried that thought beyond with something more akin to ‘Peak Smartphone.’ Here we are, nine years after Google launched Android and the search engine giant just invented a new flagship smartphone that’s still not as good as an iPhone.
What’s Google Doing?
Last week Google launched the new Nexus smartphone replacements, called Pixel and Pixel XL. The idea behind Pixel is to set a standard-bearer for Android; pure Android, if you will; a smartphone so good it rivals Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s latest Galaxy models (the ones that don’t catch fire). That didn’t happen with the previous Nexus models and it’s not likely to happen with Pixel, either.
With iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Apple shattered the notion that we’ve reached ‘Peak iPhone‘ because the flagship is better in every respect. The screen is considered by those who care as the best screen you can buy on a mobile device. Nothing is as fast as Apple’s home-grown A-Series Fusion CPU.
With Google’s Pixel it’s obvious that we’ve reached Peak Android. Is this really the best you’ve got, Google? Is this your flagship device? Compared to iPhone 7 Plus, the Pixel XL is anemic at best, and missing some core features that Apple’s customers get in the latest iPhone; you know, the one critics said was DOA, and no reason to upgrade.
Google priced Pixel XL at the same price as Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, but benchmarks show it’s not nearly as fast as iPhone. There’s no Optical Image Stabilization built-in, so photos are not likely to be nearly as good.
Where’s the telephoto lens? iPhone 7 Plus has one. Rather, two lenses. One for wide angle, one telephoto. Drop your iPhone in a mud puddle and all you need to do is clean it off. Google Pixel is not as weather and water resistance. What about simple things like stereo speakers? Samsung’s Galaxy line often has a slot for extra storage SD cards. Not Pixel. Even storage is half the amount you can get on an iPhone. There’s more RAM but iPhone 7s are killing Android devices in performance benchmarks. Again.
Peak Android, indeed.
Apple’s customers have enjoyed haptic feedback with 3D Touch options since iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and those functions are even better in iPhone 7 models with iOS 10 (which already runs on more than half of all iOS devices on planet earth). Where are they in Android smartphones? What about Google Pixel?
A growing list of features we take for granted on iPhones still haven’t made their way to Android devices, and not even to Google’s newest flagship, the Pixel. Not only did Google fail to raise the bar with Pixel, it couldn’t even come up with a unique visual design. Pixel looks just like an iPhone. In fact, Pixel is the perfect example that we’ve reached Peak Android, that flat spot where the technology doldrums have set in and all premium smartphones look the same, feel the same, and have much the same functionality.
Except for iPhone 7.