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Apple made the worst Android phone of 2021

iPhone 11 Pro and Google Pixel 4 XL
iPhone 11 Pro and Google Pixel 4 XL (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Recently at its Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled iOS 15, macOS Monterey, and FaceTime for Android — well, kind of. The new FaceTime links capability isn't a native Android app; it just allows you to join FaceTime calls via your web browser using — you guessed it — a good old-fashioned hyperlink.

But while Apple expanded its ecosystem with some genuinely cool and impressive additions last week, the thing that caught my eye wasn't a new Apple feature or operating system. Instead, it was the company's take on what an Android phone looks like in 2021, which it used to demo the upcoming FaceTime experience for green-bubblers.

The phone appears on the official iOS 15 preview page (opens in new tab) and looks like this, presented next to Apple's latest iPhone 12 Pro.

Terrible Android Phone Vs Iphone

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

Of course the Android device — that's the one on the right, by the way — isn't a real product.

Apple is just as adept at making deliberately ugly things as it is deliberately beautiful things.

Instead, Apple's terrible, hypothetical 2021 Android phone is an unholy cocktail of design elements from the past few years, assembled Frankenstein-style in the least appealing way possible. This nightmare of a telephone combines the dimple cutout notch of devices like the Essential Phone with thick, uneven bezels of the kind long since banished from any respectable handset, finished with a nasty plastic-looking outer frame.

The most infuriating thing about this design might be the presence of a notch housing the selfie camera in addition to a hefty top bezel which could also quite easily house the selfie camera. This is clearly what happens when someone goes out of their way to make a phone look deliberately, almost comically terrible.

Aside from the aneurysm-inducing screen borders and misaligned status bar, there also appears to be no power key present on this Android phone, presumably because nobody would ever want to switch it on.

In 2021, even the cheapest, crappiest Android phones look pretty decent when shown from the front in the form of a promotional render. This obviously presents a dilemma for Apple, whose goal is to demonstrate Android compatibility while still making Android phones, in general, look icky. Cupertino couldn't just show FaceTime on the latest Galaxy S21 Ultra. Aside from not wanting to highlight a direct competitor that actually exists, Apple would likely need to negotiate with Samsung to show the S21's mug on its website.

In fact, it's not the first time Apple has chosen to create its own deliberately gross-looking Android phone for the purpose of showcasing Android support. Back in 2015, when Apple Music debuted on PC and Android as well as Apple's platforms, we got this ancient Android artifact that looked about five years out of date.

Apple Music Announcement

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

And thus, today, we have the Apple Android Telephone 4G, only available from AT&T a sketchy eBay storefront with zero feedback score.

There's no official spec sheet for Apple's horrible Android concept device, but if one existed, it'd probably look something like this.

Android Telephone 4G Specifications

CategoryFeatures
CPUARM Cortex, er uhh.. *trails off*
RAMYes
StorageAlso yes (SD card soldered to the PCB)
Networking"4G" HSPA+ with Enhanced Backhaul
Display1cm unnecessary, off-center notch with display area below
CameraA single King Edward potato
Power6X AA batteries. Replace for instant fast charge.
Time9:41am
Other featuresCan sometimes FaceTime with its iPhone-using betters
OSLook, that's enough questions, alright, you want it or not?

So maybe it's not the very best Android phone you can buy. But at least this guy seems happy enough with his purchase. (Or maybe, after eleven long years, he's just happy to see his friends.)

Terrible Android Phone Owner

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

35 Comments
  • Alex wins the internet today with this one.
  • Apple goes out of their way to make Android look bad and putting a mock-up of an Android phone that looks like something from 2015 should not be a surprise to anyone.
  • It's worse. No phone had a notch and those bezels :D. The irony iPhones still have a notch.
  • No phone had a notch? Looked at a Pixel 3XL lately?
  • Oh the irony and Apple's new iPhones will continue to milk that notch.
  • Lot of effort put into hating on marketing mockups to demonstrate a concept/capability. The iPhone isn't indicative of any iPhone either. Microsoft has Macs in its ads that don't actually exist too. Not sure if you expected them to take the best of all Androids and render one that doesn't exist, or pick one specific one that does. At least they didn't grab one with a notch bigger than even Apple has.
  • But those Macs at least look like a Mac. People expect Apple to try and make a phone that looks like an Android. iPhone users aren't known for their accurate opinion on other platforms, they never use them.
  • Lol only android users get upset over a concept Apple used to show off an android device. Normal people don't care. 
  • But the Apple marketing department cared. When you have heard two marketing researchers (human factor scientists) spend half an hour deconstructing changes to the wrapping of a chocolate bar - and it was very interesting - you understand that none of this is accidental.
  • That phone looks like a phone. Most every phone from the top. Rounded rectangular case with glass. Differences are in the bezels, forehead and chin, buttons (hard or soft), camera, sensor and speaker layout. Can you create one for those indicative of all Android phones? It's a conglomerate. Maybe not the most flattering one, but what would you expect, Apple to take the time to create the best Android phone they could imagine? BTW, I am an iPhone user and have a Pixel 3XL with Android 12 Beta on it and a Surface DUO (that runs Android BTW)
  • They could have at least used the Pixel 2 /3 or even 4 phone lol
  • The Pixel 3 maybe but not the 2 (I mi loved and miss it) or even the Pixel 4, just as you're hating on the Pixel.
  • I have a Pixel 2XL and 3XL. Great phones with an amazing camera, stock OS, latest updates /software features. Just Not the greatest designs. I will be upgrading to the Pixel 6 Pro.
  • The most infuriating part of this is that Google has this huge, golden opportunity to step in and call out Apple on this and show off not one but TWO messaging apps that are first class apps, not just a warmed over web site, on both Android and iOS for video messaging, Duo and Google Meet. But what do we hear from Google? Crickets. And this is why Apple wins.
  • Messaging is the only thing that Apple "wins" at and even that's subjective, Duo, WhatsApp and pretty much every other messaging app are better and way less restrictive than Facetime.
  • Don't forget they have their ecosystem (hate or like it) quality apps, everything just works so well and smoothly along with other Mac devices.
  • As if Google's services and first party apps don't "just work" too :/ Google's services all work well across phones, tablets, laptops.
  • And in most cases the google apps on IOS work "better" and get updates first compared to the android counterparts. 
  • In most cases Google's apps are inferior on iOS except for YouTube but even that is stripped back with no auto rotate or PIP not because of any iOS limitations but because YouTube clearly want the Android version to look better with PIP and auto rotate being kept as Android exclusives.
  • Wrong again.... 
    https://screenrant.com/ios-apps-better-android-explained/
    https://www.androidpolice.com/2021/02/06/7-cool-features-you-can-find-in...
  • Developers are bribed by Apple and to make their apps better than their Android counterparts because Android as an OS is better than iOS and outside of North America, Android dominates the iPhone there are apps that are exclusive to Android and not iOS like game streaming services because Apple is being Apple and doesn't want to play nice.
  • So at first, your response was "apps are better on android" and once you got proven wrong you say apple bribes, developers... Okay, keep drinking that Kool-Aid. As someone who uses both Android and IOS on a daily basis, again you are wrong. 
  • the problem with google is those apps might be discontinued tomorrow. Google will have a great app and throw it in the trash a month later.
  • It's no wonder iPhone users think Android is ****, if this is the pill Apple is slipping them 😂
  • Apple is deliberately deceiving It's users in thinking Android is worse than an iPhone because let's face it, outside of North America, the iPhone is dominated by Android because when iPhone users open their minds and actually try using a modern Android phone, they'll realise just how much better than an iPhone, Android is.
  • They aren’t deceiving anybody lol.
  • They are, they make Android look like it's still stuck in the 2010s.
  • Haha hilarious, love it! At first I thought this was going to be some comment about Apple finally realising that widgets are better on a home screen, over a decade after Android did!
  • I burst out laughing when I saw this during WWDC. Like Of COURSE Apple had to show the ugliest Android phone imaginable. The pettiness is great.
  • Samsung is just as petty as Apple. Remember Samsung mocking Apple for removing the charger from the box of the iPhone 12 series? And guess what Samsung goes and does with the S22 series, they remove the charger also and silently take down their petty ad campaign. But to be fair to Samsung at least they lowered the cost of the S21 series unlike Apple.
  • In a way it is a backhanded compliment to the Android world - "We're not going to show you a state of the art Android phone because you might ask questions. Like, why are you hiding the stupid ears on the iPhone? And how many people (a lot) are still using iPhones with that huge button on the front?"
    It is a standard US company advertising technique, there is that.
  • Exactly my point. Apple is deceiving it's users because if they knew how much better Android is than iOS, a lot of its loyal user base would leave the locked down and restrictive walled garden.
  • Love it. Apple gives Android a feature and the only thing Android sites can do is bash it.
    And, are we seriously STILL debating over which is better, iOS or Android 14 years later?
    I have a pixel 5 and iPhone 12 mini. Trust me. the iPhone IS better in nearly every way. But on the flip side, my pixel has a file structure and does things my iPhone can't. There is no pure "better". There are better at certain things that could be argued. Android 12 is literally stealing features from iOS 10 from 2017. And iPhone is stealing thing from android from 7 years ago. Neither is "Better" than the other. If anything they are more alike than EVER.
  • The Pixel is better on every way, it's Android after all it's flexible and Google services and apps are simply better on Android.
  • I meant to say that Pixel 5 is better than the iPhone 12 in every way except for the processor which is midrange in the Pixel 5.