Before the Apple Reality Distortion Field: Thinking about other great options in 2017

Honestly…I am very excited about the Apple announcement on Tuesday, September 12 and so far I have been very happy with my iPhone 7. More so than other years I have been very happy with iOS and where is it going later this month with iOS 11. I feel like the platform is in a good spot now between stability, speed, and functionality. It will never been as customizable as Android, but that’s fine. You don’t have to buy an iPhone, there are many excellent choices in 2017. I have been locked inside all day now because Tropical Storm Irma since work has been canceled for me so I opted to watch some Youtube videos this evening as I am ought to do when I am bored and got caught in a Youtube chain of recommended videos of the Galaxy Note 8, LG V30, and then HTC U11. It made me realize how great Android has gotten. Apple will surely suck all the oxygen out of the tech news this week with this announcement tomorrow, but honestly there are a lot of great choices on team Android.

Smartphones

There are a good many Android phones this year, here is a short list:

  • Galaxy Note 8
  • LG V30
  • HTC U11
  • Essential phone
  • Galaxy S8/+
  • Pixel XL2

Smartwatches

While Android Wear ironically lags behind the Apple Watches’ popularity, there are a number of nice-looking smart watches from fashion brands such as Fossil, Michael Kors, Tag, etc. and then more fitness focused watches such as Huawai’s, Nixon’s, New Balance’s, and Casio’s. Android Wear does not have a single watch that has all the sensors for fitness and the style options of the Apple Watch, but they are about half the price of a fancy Apple Watch. Somebody could realistically have a sport Android Wear Watch or Fitness and a fancy watch if they desired. I won’t stretch it though, Android Wear isn’t as popular as Apple Watch, but after getting Android Wear 2.0 on my neglected Moto360 Sport it is a nice platform.

HomePod

As for the HomePod, I think that the Amazon Echo and Google Home are years ahead of it if the limited feature set they announced at WWDC is true. At 2–3x the price as the Google Home, the HomePod is honestly going to be a hard sell. Maybe the allure of HomeKit support will draw me in, but I think it’s going to be a mistake if they don’t plan to support 3rd party apps on it. Apple Music is great, but my family uses Spotify and multi-user support is promising. I am excited about the HomePod, but I really hope they are planning on making it into a platform like the Amazon Echo instead of just another iPhone accessory. The thing my family likes about the Google Home is that it requires nothing them. They just shout a command at Google and it plays music or sets a timer or answers a question. The nicer music experience is promising with the HomePod, but some of that got sucked out of the room for me when Sony announced their own HomePod competitor for $130 cheaper running the more capable Google assistent. That being said, I use Airpods so I am not a music junkie to begin with and I found the Google Home speaker to sound fine. At a ⅓ of the price of the Homepod I could literally get 3x of them for the price of 1x HomePod, getting one for my living room, bedroom, and office. We’ll see with the HomePod. I want it to succeed, but they’ll need to bring a lot more to a table to get me to sign on.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like my Apple gear and am very, very excited about tomorrow. I am particularly looking forwards to seeing the iPhone X, the HomePod, Homekit, Apple Watch 3, WatchOS 4, and iOS 11. I already do use a lot of Apple gear in my personal, academic, and professional life, but I am not tied to them. I always like to keep an eye on the competition and when I take a look around the landscape I see a lot of really good alternatives for this tech geek.

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