Android's best feature is choice

Android 12 Settings
Android so many settings (Image credit: Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

You're probably reading Android Central because you have a bit of interest in Android phones. You're likely an enthusiast who enjoys reading about Android and interacting with others who share your enthusiasm.  

That's a great thing! The world of Android is kind of crazy and fast-paced, with the next best Android phone always right around the corner — usually right after you bought a phone. It's worth remembering, however, that what one person thinks is best probably isn't what you think is best. Or at least not for the same reasons.

We're all different people

T-Mobile G1

Pictured: The T-Mobile G1. (Image credit: Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

I'm going to make a confession: I'm not a big fan of phone hardware. I dig Android because of the software itself. When the T-Mobile G1 was first announced, I knew I had to have it because of the open software. It was similar to how I had to have a phone that ran Meego or webOS. In my eyes, the phone is just the vehicle for the software that I love.

That means the best phone for me is probably not the best phone for you. Want to know what I think the best Android phone was? The Google Nexus S. Nothing since has offered me the same access to software that it did, and it's likely no phone ever will.

It's OK to think I'm totally wrong and that your Samsung Galaxy S22 or Pixel 6 is a better phone because in this case, it is. The phone I like best is old and tired and no amount of tweaking can get it to reliably run Android 12

You also have to know that someone out there thinks your choice of best is just as crazy. How can you use a Samsung phone with the bloated mess of apps and stupid features? Only a sadist would buy a Pixel because they are buggy and Google doesn't care about them. Those are examples straight from the comments of articles here at Android Central.

We like what we like. And we should like what we like without caring what anyone else likes. But we have a need to act as a champion for what we like because humans are funny like that.

Different but the same (not really)

Android statues at Google HQ

(Image credit: Android Central)

Mixed into all the bickering and snide commentary we tend to make about the things we do not like is one simple and important fact: Android offers a ton of choice.

It's easy to demonstrate this by looking at the only competition Google has in the world of smartphone operating systems: Apple. You can choose from several different iPhone models, but outside of the color and amount of storage, they are exactly the same phone.

This is really good for Apple because it makes it easy to tailor the software to the hardware. If it works on the iPhone Pro, it will work on the Pro Max. If Apple ever makes one, it will also work on a Pro Max Plus. Limiting your choice is good for Apple's bottom line because it makes things easy for you.

Google, on the other hand, loses money by building Android and giving it away. Don't worry, it makes up for it in plenty of other ways that make keeping Android around a necessity for the company. More importantly, Google doesn't care what a company like Samsung or OnePlus does to Android as long as the terms of the contract for GMS are met.

Google Pixel 6 Pro Back Far

Pictured: Google Pixel 6 Pro (Image credit: Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

That's where all the choice comes into the picture. For example, Samsung can match the great hardware its divisions make with software tailored for it. Additions that user metrics show we love are maintained and improved until we have something as great as the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Google's phone division could take the time to try building its own chips and doing more with the camera on the Pixel line. Motorola can keep finding ways to add more to its affordable models. The list goes on and on.

Most importantly, we get all these choices when it comes time to spend our hard-earned money. I think it's wild that phones cost so much when I buy one, so it better be the one I like the most. When you buy one it had better be the one you like the most, too.

It's fine to discuss the others and even have a little fun in a comment thread and troll a bit. But in the end, we should make sure we're happy with our choice no matter what anyone else thinks about it.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.