With nearly all high-end Android smartphones now in Indian stores, it’s time to wonder if there is one true hero device for the platform? Now obviously with the amount of phones and manufacturers invested in Android, it will be a difficult task finding a response to that question. And it could be answered in many ways.
The biggest names in Android
I doubt if there can be any one phone which can be called an Android flagship phone. With so many players in the Android segment, each of them have a killer flagship offering. Well, at least well known brands such as Samsung (Galaxy S4, Note 3), Sony (Xperia Z1), Motorola (Moto X), HTC (HTC One), LG (Nexus 4, G2) and so on, do. Without getting into the minute details, it is safe to say that each of these flagship models offers something unique.
There is no single phone, as is seen with the Apple iPhone or even WP8 sporting Nokia Lumia 925 or the more recent 1020, which tends to distill the best the platform has to offer into one device. For Android, where you have a choice and every couple of months you have one drool-worthy phone, it is both a boon and a bane. For some, having too many choices can seem stressful.
In the Android segment, a flagship phone can have different connotations for different consumers. Some may like the stock Android experience on the LG Google Nexus 4, others may prefer the cameras on HTC One or Sony Xperia Z1, still others may opt for the multiple tracking apps offered by Samsung Galaxy S4 out of the box. Moto X which was announced in August used a different approach and features such as dedicated processors for single tasks can see mass adoption by other brands in the future. Any of these features can be a flagship worthy one for buyers.
Till some months back we were debating over Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. Now you have the Sony Xperia Z1, LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 each of which is a beast in itself. Long story short, the sheer variety of phones offered by many players in the Android segment, does not leave any scope for one single device to be hailed as the flagship device.
It's really hard to single out a true flagship in the Android space since the top spot keeps cycling every couple of months. In my opinion, an Android flagship is not defined by the number of cores or the size of the screen but it's about getting the basics right and with that, I think LG has the best offering with the G2. LG has had the reputation of delivering aggressively priced smartphones but at the cost of build quality. The G2 however is a fresh start for the Korean company and has the potential to change LG's tarnished image in the high-end space. I've been using the G2 for over a week now and I must say, I like it even more than the Galaxy S4. It's got every feature you can possibly think of, excellent battery life and is priced well and is currently the cheapest Snapdragon 800 droid in the market, what's not to like.
Singling out an Android flagship is just not possible. In my opinion, this crown changes heads every few months and sometimes is shared by many phones. While iOS and to an extent Windows Phone can lay claim to one flagship device, the variety of manufacturers and the rate at which new ones are hitting markets, make it harder to do the same for Android.
At the moment, the Xperia Z1 seems to be that device, which marries high-end, clean design with future-proof specs and a manageable size. In a few weeks, the Z1 will cede the crown to the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 will easily hold on to that spot till the end of the American holiday season and even well into 2014. Till next year’s crop usurps its place.
This sounds arbitrary and subjective, but it’s exactly how Android has evolved and spread. In a way this has helped Android consolidate its dominant position in the global market. To use a sea battle metaphor (we are talking about flagships after all): With no clear leader, Android has many attacking nodes, giving it a multi-pronged advantage over its more traditional rivals.