Android Comes of Age with the Nexus 4 and Jelly Bean

Android has come of age. Both in terms of software and hardware.

Apart from my previous smartphone, which was a Windows Phone 7.x device, I have always used Android devices. Two from Samsung and one from Spice. I left Android for Windows Phone after my Spice MI 410 was stolen and I decided that Android 2.3 Gingerbread was really getting dated and boring. This is why I decided to move to Windows Phone which I thought was a fresh approach to an operating system. I was happy for some time with Windows Phone 7 but the lack of apps really started to bother me so much so that the people around me started to feel my pain as well.

After waiting for a very long time for the Nexus 4 to officially launch in India (and it still hasn’t), I decided to order it from the US Play Store. The Nexus 4 arrived on the 19th of February 2013. I have been using it since then and I can safely say that this is what a smartphone should be like. Both in terms of hardware and software.

I am not about to review the whole device for you. That is not the point of this post. For a review you should visit this post. What you should know is this. The Nexus 4 is the best software and hardware experience you can can have compared to any smartphone out there. Everything else, the Samsungs and HTCs and other LG devices just pale in front of this device. The industrial design and the construction is amazing. I personally feel that Apple made the best designed smartphone hardware out there, but after seeing the LG made Nexus 4, I can say that Apple devices are not alone when it comes to great design executed flawlessly.

N4 Front

It’s a largish phone which sits well in your hand. Unlike the Samsung phablets which are like Frankenstein in comparison. The weight is also something that I enjoy carrying around. Yes, the iPhone 5 may weigh as little as a leaf, but  with a 25g weight difference there isn’t that much more. As it were, the black version of the iPhone is the better looking one and this also holds true for the Nexus 4. Everyone who has seen the Nexus 4 has only complemented the design and has been surprised that LG machined this device. One iPhone 5 owner, after thoroughly examining the phone declared that the UI transitions weren’t as smooth.

However I will say this. The Nexus 4 may not appeal to women. I can also say this – I am so happy that it doesn’t come in white.

On the software front, Jelly Bean is truly a modern operating system. It’s slick to look at and smooth to use. Unlike iOS, the built in apps are actually usable. There are less in number, I agree, but the bloat of iOS is not present. Wait! Did I just say the bloat of iOS? Oh yes, I did. Android no longer seems bloated, unlike iOS which seems to have a lot of apps that don’t seem to be used much.

Android Home

The latest version of Android has a feel that’s very different from it’s predecessors. Project butter seems to be working out for Android. Having not used Android for about a year, I can clearly see a big change. Although I have to say that, having used other high end Android devices, project butter seems to not have kept in or had been toned down. Samsung devices that I have used, clearly lag at times, especially on web pages. I suspect that TouchWiz is the culprit. I really hate that interface. Anyway, onward.

The number of apps available on the Play Store is simply staggering. Owing to my apps starved situation from almost a year on Windows Phone, this is like a sea of things to explore and try for me. I am easily trying about five new apps every day. Compare that to about zero on Windows Phone. What is also apparent is that the quality of the apps has also gone up. The good apps are surfacing to the top of the lists where I clearly remember the presence of a lot of fart apps and NSFW type apps.

Here are some of the apps that I am currently using regularly.

Apart from these there are the occasional novelty apps and the various games that I like to play. There are still so many that are there to explore. Another difference as compared to iOS that I find is that the “must have” apps lists are pretty varied depending on who is writing the article. When it comes to iOS everyone seems to agree on the “must have” apps. One place where the app search lacks is the related apps section that comes up after you install an app. This related apps list seems pretty random to me most times.

There are still some niggles in Android though. There have been times when after going to sleep the phone does not wake up and you have to reboot it and below is an example of finishing issues. To be fair, even iOS 6 displayed a lot of finishing issues when it released. Like the Calendar text alignment and such.

Text Size

However the problem above seems to have corrected itself after I switched back to the default font size. Still, this is a bug if the text doesn’t re-flow properly and simply cuts out part of the sentence. Also, I haven’t noticed this anywhere else as of now. I see a bug report forming.

For the last 15 days or so that I have been using the Nexus 4, it has been a wonderful experience. The OS feels snappy even after putting in many apps and other data like music and videos and setting up all the sync relationships. No lag, no post purchase cognitive dissonance, no problem. The admiration that the hardware draws is an added bonus. Good job Google and LG.

2 Responses to “Android Comes of Age with the Nexus 4 and Jelly Bean”

  1. aryayush
    March 6, 2013 at 5:25 PM #

    @mostlynerd Thanks for linking to my post. 🙂

    • mostlynerd
      March 6, 2013 at 5:26 PM #

      @aryayush you are welcome

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