Someone I believed was a long-time Android supporter recently traded his Android phone for an iPhone. He told me that the iPhone’s feel prompted the treasonous act. My friend got frustrated by the fact that his phone “never worked.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone praising the qualities of an iPhone, over the “clunky” feel of an Android device. If there’s only one thing I like about Apple’s products, it’s the fact that almost all iPhones and iPads run the same version of the operating system. Developers love this aspect, too, and thus we can see why Apple’s consumers benefit further.

And the particular reason Apple’s fans are always so happy, is precisely the reason that Android gets so much disrespect. Unfortunately, because of the many different incarnations of Android devices, and the ever-growing number of manufacturers, you never know whether your device is on the upgrade or chopping block.

Growing Android


Android’s just too far spread out between versions to bring actual consumer satisfaction. The latest disbursement pie chart shows that there are a significant number of consumers using newer versions of Android, but there’s still an equal number of consumers missing out.

Android OS Distribution March 3 2014

Gain the best experience with a device upgrade

In general, there are two main reasons people become frustrated with their device’s performance. The first frustration usually involves the use of poorly designed or outdated equipment. The second issue is software.

Regardless of the issue, you can usually fix both problems with a new phone. I’d estimate that an upgraded device could fix 99% of user experience issues — the “feel” or “just doesn’t work” problem.

Although most Android devices, particular phones, came packed with upgraded processors, RAM, and cameras, over time they lose their lust. Similar to your need to upgrade your desktop or laptop computer every few years, a new Android device will bring a refreshing sense of enjoyment.

However, you don’t want to get “scammed” in your phone upgrade, so here are some suggestions of what to look for in your next Android device.

Buy off contract

Sure, you’ll usually spend a little more money buying an unsubsidized cell device, but you’ll also gain the ability to upgrade at will. T-Mobile offers great no contract plans, but Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint all carry phones that won’t require a contract. Plus, Moto X makes a great phone, if you want a great device at a reasonable price. You can buy Moto X directly through Motoloa’s MotoMaker site, allowing you to bypass the retail store and the increased price.

Investigate the manufacturer and carrier

Not all Android device makers are created equal, so it’s important to do some background checks. Look at the manufacturer’s upgrade history to determine whether they push out frequent, regular updates to the Android OS. You’ll also want to determine whether they’re committed to pushing early updates, or do the updates take months (or years) to roll out. Purchasing a low-end device can almost guarantee the manufacturer will drop your device off their update radar.

Samsung, HTC, and Motorola tend to regularly update their devices, though even that’s debatable, and sometimes the updates come months after a new release. Carriers on the other hand tend to move like slugs, slowly pushing out 1 or 2 year-old versions of Android. Verizon is notoriously bad for slow updates, while other carriers trail closely behind.

Buy Nexus, if possible

I can confirm that you’re on another planet when you own a Nexus device. The ability to use the latest and greatest Android operating system guarantees a pleasant experience. LG, the current manufacturer of Nexus phones, also created a hardware rich device that can perform well. Most users will also confirm that the ASUS-made Nexus 7s are fantastic.

Owning a Nexus device also helps ensure that you’re still “relevant” even though your device might be a couple of years old. I know several Android fans who still own a Galaxy Nexus phone because, “it’s awesome and still works” — though the Galaxy Nexus does not run KitKat as a Nexus update.

The benefits of a better device

Until you upgrade your device, you really don’t know what you’re missing. This is especially true when you move from a legacy version of Android (e.g. Android 2.3) to JellyBean or KitKat. The performance and experience are uniquely different. Many of the performance problems in older version of Android OS were refined in the newer operating systems.

Similarly, the hardware improvements give your device the extra juice it needs to perform tasks quickly and improve productivity. Newer versions of Android can also take advantage of Google Now and voice commands, which improves the Android experience.

Quite simply, upgrading your Android device will provide better satisfaction and a richer user experience.

Jeff Taylor

I'm just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I'm also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.


Bob Marshall · March 20, 2014 at 9:38 am

I wonder if your friend realizes that he’s joined the herd of Apple lemmings, who line up every year, like clockwork, to get the latest box of hype.

At least he’ll be getting regular hardware upgrades!

Greg · March 21, 2014 at 6:24 am

Nexus devices are worlds away better than anything being sold by Samsung unless you’re willing to root them.

    Jeffrey Taylor · March 23, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Couldn’t agree more. However, I do enjoy some of the Samsung innovations (such as true multitasking), and the supersized screens.

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