The beauty of Android isn’t just its flexibility as a platform, but the sheer amount of devices that run it. From the Galaxy Note 8 to the OnePlus 5T, Android fans (and iOS expatriates) have dozens of options to choose from, which is why it’s so popular across the globe. But there’s really only one device you should consider, and it comes directly from Menlo Park.
Google hasn’t been in the mobile game for very long—at least not in its current iteration—but it already holds a huge advantage that its competitors can’t compete with.
Fragmentation has been a problem with Android from the beginning, and it hasn’t gotten any better despite Google’s best efforts. Even new devices, such as the OnePlus 5T, launch with last year’s operating system despite the fact that Google made Android Oreo available three months ago. At this very moment, Google’s newest operating system is a mere blip in distribution numbers.
Which is why if you’re buying a new Android phone, you should only really consider Google’s Pixel lineup. There’s no good reason why a flagship device shouldn’t get the latest version of Android right away; a few weeks tops. Instead, flagship devices often get updated months after Google has released its most up-to-date mobile software; sometimes, they don’t get updated at all.
It’s true that the average consumer could care less about having the very latest version of Android. All most people are concerned with is whether their device takes pictures and can use Facebook. It’s also hard to argue against phones like the Galaxy S8, which offers a sleek blend of hardware and software.
Luckily Google makes an excellent device despite all the controversy. Sure, the Pixel 2 doesn’t feature an edge-to-edge display or a gorgeous all-glass design, but its design isn’t as bad as people say. It also offers a market-leading camera and the best version—not just the latest—of Android.
That’s a distinction that often goes overlooked by Android fans. Android Oreo officially launched to the public on August 21 and it has only reached 0.5 percent of devices on the market. That must be incredibly frustrating for Google engineers who work their butts off to bring new and innovative features to the platform.
I can only imagine the work Android developers go through when testing for multiple devices and multiple versions of Android. That could be why some apps launch exclusively on iOS—or at least on Apple’s platform first.
It must be frustrating for users, too, who pay close attention to Google’s annual I/O conference. The search giant typically uses that event to talk about the latest features coming to Android, hyping the software up so the public has something to look forward to. But often users are forced to wait months and months before their devices gets updated (if at all).
Google’s Pixel lineup doesn’t just provide the latest Android experience, but the cleanest and easiest to understand, which is great for users unfamiliar with the platform. Android isn’t quite the complex monster it used to be, but the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are among the simplest Android devices to pick up and use. The Note 8 is a much more complicated beast because of its Edge features, S Pen, and Bixby.
Google is making strides toward addressing Android’s fragmentation with initiatives like Project Treble, but there won’t be a significant change for several years. Which is why the next time you consider picking up a new phone, take a hard look at Google’s Pixel lineup, because you’re guaranteed to get the latest version of Android over the next few years.