Google is reportedly poised to release another wave of new Android devices, maybe in October, including the head-turning Pixel 2 XL, a device that will feature an edge-to-edge display, high-quality camera, and a pressure-sensitive frame for expanded functionality.
It sounds like it’ll contend for the title of Smartphone of the Year—as will a handful of other devices, like the iPhone 8, Galaxy S8, and LG V30. Competition this year is stacked, to say the least.
I bring this up because 2017 is playing out exactly as we predicted. After a brief lull, smartphones are becoming exciting again, buoyed by an injection of new technology and evolving hardware. A device like the LG V30, with its beautiful OLED display, dual-camera setup, and cinematic video recording features didn’t seem possible a few months ago.
But as excited as we are for what’s to come, we can’t help but look back at a device that’s about to celebrate its second birthday. That’s ancient by tech standards; it may have well been created in the Mesozoic Era.
I’m talking about the Nexus 6P, a gargantuan, utilitarian hunk of aluminum that still elicits an ineffable feeling of joy—and I don’t really know why. At this point, the hulking device is slow and the camera is nowhere near up to a par with today’s juggernauts. Battery life has also degraded, so it doesn’t exactly offer the most user-friendly experience—at least the unit we have for testing purposes in our office.
Be that as it may, the cold, rigid frame, front-facing speakers, and expansive 5.7-inch screen still hold strong. And although the Nexus 6P is large, it doesn’t feel overbearing. It’s the perfect vessel for watching YouTube videos and playing games. Somehow, the honeymoon period hasn’t worn off, leading me to believe this is one relationship that will endure.
At least until the device dies, which it will sooner or later. The phone has received Android Oreo, but September marks the month when Google will end guaranteed version updates, so don’t expect much, if anything, down the road. That said, the device will continue to get security patches for another 12 months, so it will survive through 2018.
With so many excellent devices on the market, it’s so easy to move on and forget about what came before. We’re conditioned to want the newest, latest Thing, when we already have great stuff right in front of us. The Nexus 6P is nowhere as advanced as something like the Galaxy S8, but it still does exactly what I need, which is all anyone can really ask for from a smartphone.