Are Cheap Handsets the Real Reason Why Android is Popular?

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DoctorX

i would rather die than buy an apple product. I hate them as a company. I dont support patent trolls. I feel ios is inferior to android. Dont you think much of the surge of android lately is people feeling the same way?

That being said, I love Android. I run jellybean on my nexus 7 and gingerbread on my thunderbolt. Neither were cheap at the time. I absolutely hate being told what to do with something i buy. Go fuck yourself Apple for your closed system ... and fuck you Microsoft for trying to emulate them.

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Drew7

Virgin Mobile HTC Evo V 4G~ No contract @ $35/mo gets you 300 anytime minutes and unlimited everything else (including data). Add another $15 and turn it into a WiFi hotspot for up to 8 devices. Specs: 1.2Ghz dual core processor (like the iPhone5), larger display than the iPhone5, 3D viewing without glasses, FM radio (NOT present in the iPhone5), Micro SD upgradability (NOT present in the iPhone5), Gorilla glass display (like the iPhone5), OS is Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3, any software issues reported are now fixed via a software patch upgrade, and... Drum roll, please... ON SALE NOW UNTIL 2/21/13 at Virginmobile.com for $149.99 with FREE SHIPPING. Screw the iPhone5. I did all of my research, and this phone had rave reviews. I just ordered it and can't wait for it to arrive! To coin the Magnavox sales pitch "Smart. Very Smart". ~Drew

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r3dd4wg

The people have spoken ... with their dollars.

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John A

Gee I have my S3 on the latest Synergy multi-view ROM that is amazing and what can the latest i crap 5 do

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tony2tonez

The biggest reason I believe is Apple stopped innovating. Apple changed cell phones forever with the debut of the first iphone. The rest of makers will still stuck on Flip phones trying to catch up.

Now the competition has caught, and its not because of the OS. Its the features of a phone. Everything Apple releases now, is still behind the competition in terms of features. LTE and NFC, still lack most of Apple models while this has been available for over a year on most phones.

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Insurgence

I personally think it is because it is capable of providing customers with what they want. I have found that in most cases, the people I know, do not do serious things with their phones. They tend to use them casually and then customize them to their lifestyle. I will not say whether Android or iOS does it better, because they usually flip flop with the release of new versions, but because of Androids cheap price (ie free) for developers it does allow them to customize the phone through other alternatives allowing phone makers to better customize the phone and the OS to what the customer wants. Not necessarily in a better way, but hopefully the manufacturers have some idea of what their customer base wants.

Basically I feel that because you get such a wide variety of phones with android on them you can get what you want for the price you want. It also makes it harder, except in certain flagship models like the Galaxy S series, to only want the newest greatest hardware. With iPhone it is easy to tell which one is the latest and greatest and want that too, but with android and all of the variants and naming schemes, it takes a lot of research so people will tend to gloss over most of the names and go for the prettiest and most cost effective.

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stradric

I can't speak to why everyone buys the products they do. All I know is that I like when my consumer products extend me control explicitly. I like a Menu button and a Back button on my smart phone. I don't want to play around with some desperate-to-be-minimalist omni-button and rely on software developers to properly extend me the controls I need. That nonsense just reminds me of Apple's horrendous one-button mouse.

Apple does do some things elegantly minimalist. Others, they try to shoe-horn their minimalist design philosophy into things that have complex controls and it just frustrates the hell out of me. I think Apple makes crappy software in general, and I reject their fundamental computing philosophy. That is why I avoid Apple products.

If you don't think Apple makes crappy software, try installing iTunes on Windows. You'll receive no less than 3 UAC prompts. I guess they don't know what a bootstrapper is over there in Cupertino...

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AlecSmith

What do you mean by you "don't want to play around with some desperate-to-be-minimalist omni-button"? My 6 year old brother figured it out quite fast. If a six year old doesn't have to "play around" with its one button with multiple functions than neither should you. Stop leaving petty comments hating on apple dude, you're making them sound like they fail more than they succeed.

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pinson101

It also feels like you get more for you money than with apple (same goes for their computers). I picked up the LG Optimus G for $100 with a 2-year contract. That's a quad-core @ 1.5 GHz with 2GB of RAM for $100! I just got it yesterday but it is already giving me more customization options than my iphone or windows phone ever did.

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allc0re

I think that the Android platform's success *is* partially a factor of its value. I started on Android with an HTC Aria that cost me $0.01 with-contract. I wanted a smartphone and I liked the things I heard about Android, so I gave it a try. Despite the Aria being an entry-level smartphone, it performed well and I loved the features and ability to customize it. I soon found the hacking scene and ended up putting a custom ROM on it (Cyanogenmod). At that point I loved that phone and there was no going back.

What's my point? The low-cost phone was my gateway drug. Now I'm tripping balls-deep in droid land and there is no sign of a hangover. Android's value is great, but it's features are even greater. Without the easy access to an inexpensive phone, I may have gone another contract cycle without taking the smartphone plunge and then who knows what I might have ended up with.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not an Apple-hater. I have used iPhones and I even have an iPad. The difference is that I like my iPad, while I love my Droid Razr M. My Android phone feels like an extension of myself while my iPad feels more like a prosthetic; It gets the job done, but it just isn't as real.

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afunyun

RAZR M salute :)

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kixofmyg0t

He's obviously never heard of the Samsung Galaxy S3.....which outsold the iPhone 5 by itself.

He's also never heard of a Nexus. The Nexus 4 demand is through the roof.

He's a Apple fan boy. Nothing to see here folks.

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CaptainFabulous

This. Biddle has always been an iPhanboi, and the rapid decline of the mighty Apple since the death of Jobs has all the little iPhanboi bloggers all whiny and butthurt.

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firefox91

The writer of that article somehow makes the offering of options a bad thing. iPhone has become like designer fashions. It isn't popular because it is good, just expensive.

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Jawin

For people who actually need a smartphone, Android offers a superior platform. If you want to tout security you should be using RIM, if you want to impress all your friends with the phone and case you saw in the latest episode of Glee, or are techno-ignorant and just want something that you can browse with and email on the go then buy Apple. If you actually want to do something with your set to be productive even Androids "budget" phones are better than a 4 month old phone using 24 month old tech (iphone5). And to the people who obviously know nothing about Google yet feel the need to comment anyway (yeah Im talking to you eco-system guy and lack of audio support lady) ever heard of Google play Music? just like itunes except the songs are cheaper, they have daily free tracks, allow 2 free downloads besides the ability to keep it "cloud" ,and they aren't as picky about formats or where you can stream from-to.
personally I would rather have a $50 android phone that was just manufactured (even the budget ones usually have NFC something you arent getting with your $300 iphone5), than get an iphone4 for a penny just to help them reduce overstock on old tech.

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peteyj222

i think the original author just bought apple stock, case solved.

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pastorbob

Three reasons I upgraded our two phones to the Android smart phones we bought:

1. They cost $140.00 each so were much cheaper than iPhones.

2. They were unlocked thus I was able to use them immediately with Consumer Cellular (No contract with customizable plans) by moving the SIMs and memory cards from the old phones to the new ones.

3. They have Wifi capability and default to Wireless Access Points over 4G which saves on our data usage. I know this isn't unique but it was a selling point for us.

I have not been disappointed. For $45.00 a month we have a two phone plan that provides all that we need in mobile phone service, access to all Android apps and games and plenty of features.

My brother-in-law on the other hand has three iPhones in his household and they pay over $125.00 per month for their service. They are locked into a two year contract. Granted their iPhones only cost them $0.99 each but over two years they will pay almost three times as much as we will even if you deduct the cost of the third line. They don't have any features that we don't have and don't use their phones any more than we use ours. But they swear that the iPhones are much easier (and better) to use than our Android phones. Go figure.

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acidic

having cheaper phones definately helps their marketshare. the amount of freedom/customization is unparalleled. i mean just look how lord jobs and crapple have tried in the past to dictate what users can do with their phones. even today another article came out about how they took an app from their store due to "porn" that could been seen.

http://www.dailytech.com/Apple+Gets+Its+Panties+in+a+Bunch+Over+Nude+Photos+on+500px+App/article29720.htm

they didn't do anything with instagram or any other pointless photo sharing app only this one. i can easily see crapple implementing some sort of great firewall just like china to fully dictate any and everything just like now but a much larger scale

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AFDozerman

Irrelevant comment, but in a month's time, I'll be running BB10. No more android or ios.

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tony2tonez

I am certainly considering moving over to BB10 at the end of Feb. In which I hope in a month i will hear some good reviews of the phone.

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jgottberg

I am REALLY jealous. I saw an article from the UK in which they were able to have a little hands on with the new BB10 and they guys looking at it came away extremely impressed. Blackberry designed the OS for easy port overs of Android apps so there should be a ton ready at launch. I can't find that article again, otherwise I'd drop a link.

Unfortunately for me, the company I work for no longer supports Blackberry so I will be stuck with an iPhone5 which is a far less useful "business" device... Great for the BS tho.

*Edit
I'm sure you already have stumbled on some resources but here is a review I found:

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/software/operating-systems/blackberry-10-1090522/review

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aarcane

Android has a number of benefits, as numerous people have pointed out. Low cost is a primary benefit, but high value is the obvious flip side. The ability for power users to customize their devici, and the easy to use default configuration that is both well suited to the physical formfactor and to the brain of the user operating it is another key benefit.
For me personally, it's as much the economic and political aspects of android though. Android, in general is a Free and Open Source operating system, which as an informed consumer, I know is key to security. Furthermore, That's also key to innovation.
Keeping android Free and Open allows me as a consumer to exercise my various rights and preferences. It's my device, I want to use it my way. The ability to customize my wallpaper, to adjust my icon layouts, more than just "do I have 4 rows or 5?", and other more intrinsic things, such as "How do I connect to the internet both with and through my device". Thanks to the open nature of android, I can add and remove these features as I see fit. On my old phone I was running android 4.2, I upgraded to a 4.1 phone, but I've stuck with it because for now I'm satisfied with both the performance and the feature set, but I retain the option to later switch.
Ultimately, there are a few features that I'm a bit upset have failed to make it into android. the FOSS "Strongswan for android" was, for a long time, mandatory to be built in to an android ROM and shipped therewith. It was done, ready, up to date and patched, but was never integrated into mainline android. Furthermore, I'm upset at Google for not imposing some additional licensing restrictions, such as ensuring all the software and drivers that come on a phone be FOSS as well, or eliminating carrier lock-in once and for all, like they attempted to do initially.

At the end of the day, all the features out wight the downsides. The occasional bug of course present in all smartphone OS', I haven't encountered one that bothered me and hasn't been fixed. The greatest benefit that comes with android is Freedom. You're not locked in to a carrier's walled garden, or an OS manufacturers walled garden, in fact.. there's no wall and no garden at all. The only limits to what you can do with your android device are your imagination. With any other alternative you give up all the benefits I've listed above and many others too numerous and irrelevant to me personally to bother listing.

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MaximumMike

>>Most of them are pretty chintzy, slow, and generally bad, but they're still smartphones

Sounds like an iPhone to me. Sort of like the gizmodo author, I'm scratching my head at why so many people buy iPhones. Seriously though, Apple is getting buried by the exact same strategy that buried them in the PC market. They will likely never learn. Gizmodo writers can make excuses for them all they want, but that won't change the fact of their inevitable descent into irrelevance.

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warlok180

This whole argument is totally senseless. People are going to buy whatever phone or OS best suits their purposes. Yes there are people who buy Android because it's cheaper (e.g., my brother) or buy Apple just because it's Apple or Windows because they hate Android and/or iOS.

I'm so sick of these pointless arguments and fan talk. I have an iPhone and I love it because of all the apps and the fact that I've already invested myself into the iTunes media system. I have no problem with Android because it's also a great system that offers a little more flexibility. I don't care for that flexibility but other people do so it's great that they have that option. And I have no qualms about switching to Android if a phone grabs my attention.

Most people out there just want a phone with great features. If they buy any smart phone, they're probably going to be satisfied with their choice. Unfortunately, the majority of these people won't know how to utilize every function and feature of the phone, so they just buy whatever their friends/family have or they're easily sold by the store salesman.

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avenger48

When I can buy an android phone that's better in every way than the iPhone 5 for $200ish less, why would I buy the iphone?

http://wireless.amazon.com/dp/B009Z0REFK Sony Xperia TL
http://wireless.amazon.com/dp/B0071G0KR4 Droid Razr Maxx
http://wireless.amazon.com/dp/B008SOMQFM HTC EVO LTE

All three of those have ICS and LTE. They're all from major manufacturers, they were all flagship models within the last year, and all of them are a penny with a contract. One each on Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. So yes, value is a reason, but don't go saying all (nearly) free android phones are crap, because they aren't.

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Markitzero

Android is better then the iphone or windows phone because it is open and free, you can even install apps that are not in the android market place. I have a friend with a HTC HD2 it is a windows phone that phone was recalled just because the windows mobile that was on it, it is also the most hacked phone to put Android on it.

I see windows phone and the iphone as a extremely closed OS and locked down. Both I believe that you can only buy from the market place.

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warlok180

For the average person, an open system doesn't matter. Most people don't know how to customize their phone and some who think they're going to customize their phone still don't. But, it's great that you have that option if you so choose.

You can get the same apps for free on probably Windows or Apple's app store as you do on Android.

You just have to decide what you want, but being an open system doesn't necessarily make any system better than the other. It depends really on what features and functions somebody really wants on their phone.

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chris82179

Oh come on, whoever compared Linux to Android as a reason why this opinion on Android being cheap is ridiculous. Most people don't even know what Linux is, but they do want a smartphone and they do know that its either higher priced higher quality Apple or a cheaper competitive quality android phone. No brainer here.

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MaximumMike

But.... Android is Linux.

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Jawin

I know right? I feel your pain, and laughed when I read this ...both times.

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wolfing

or even better, cheaper priced higher quality Android (Samsung Galaxy S3)

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chris82179

I don't agree with the higher quality part but whatever floats your boat.

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Biceps

I have an iPhone for work and an android (Galaxy note II) for personal use. The iPhone has great bettery life. Aside from that, it is a distant second to the Samsung Galxy Note II in every catagory.

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warlok180

Well at least you've got the experience with both. I'm happy with my iPhone 5 but I've been curious about the new Notes or what the Galaxy 4 will bring this year.

However, to be honest, I could care less. I'm thinking they're just a freaking phone and I'd rather spend my money building a more powerful PC.

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TheRyGuy

Windows Phone 8 will hopefully be on the rise...I'm loving my Lumia 920!

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DoctorX

bought one... took it back 3 weeks later and got a razer M. Been happy since. (it is my son's until he screws up... then it will be mine).

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trevywankenobi

I have an HTC 8x and love it. I get so many compliments on it and many people say they wish they had one. I do hope they become more popular as that mean better support and more apps

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housry23

I've been using Android since Donut(1.6) and it's come a long way. I repair smartphones as a side gig to my 9-5 and have tried using an iPhone as my daily driver. Even Jailbroken, I couldn't stand it. There are some amazing things you can do with Android without rooting. Take a look at http://mycolorscreen.com/ and let me know if you can make your iOS device look like that. The last few versions of iOS have been adding features that Android has had for years and the Apple fans think that their iPhone is somehow superior because of these features and that Apple "invented" them. Last week I saw an Android vs iPhone debate and the iPhone fan said his phone was better because it had panoramic photos. My Galaxy Nexus had that in 2011! Anyway, since Jellybean came out, Android is the superior OS. Can you get a cheap Android and have a bad experience? Yes. This is what turns most people off from Android. They're willing to spend the dough for a I device, but go and buy the cheapest Android and complain that it's not smooth and hard to operate. Well, try the Galaxy s3 or Note 2 and tell me that. Or even buy the Nexus 4(if they ever stock them) and let me know what you think. Here's a story on Gizmodo that's on the other side of the fence on this one http://gizmodo.com/5973073/an-iphone-lovers-confession-i-switched-to-the-nexus-4-completely

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davey062

HAHA! That IPhone lovers confession article reminds me of the 1984 Macintosh Commercial except it's the other way around now...

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GSLeon3

FOrget how you can make an Android device look for a minute. Aesthetics are 100% subjective, so that really is not a good metric for comparing value.

However, take a look at this video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ3krff1JCE
The Note 2 also has all of these features & a few more. Tell me, are there any features that you see that you would find useful? Are there any features you see that would increase your productivity? Increase efficiency? Are any of these features things you would like to be able to do? Can you do this on the iPhone?

Aside from all of those great features that Samsung has added or expanded upon, Android has core features & functions that just make it a more appropriate choice for many people. Personally, I need a customized SIP for work, to make me more productive & to help me provide superior service to clients when I am on the go. I have to VPN & RDP into a few custom legacy programs which require the use of combinations of function keys. That is not possible on the iPhone. Furthermore, not only is it possible via an app download with Android, but Android also offered the resources & tools necessary for me to develop a custom SIP that meets 100% of my needs. That is pretty awesome, especially when you consider that I am a Mechanical Engineer, not a developer, not even a person with any formal development or coding experience or training. It is a SIP that nobody else in the world would probably find useful & all it cost me was a few hours of reading, something I enjoy, an hour of coding & compiling & a couple hours of asking questions on development forums. In approximately 9 hours, all evening/weekend time, I had a feature that allows me to do something no other person in my company can do when on the go. I can respond immediately to inquiries from anywhere. No calling & waiting for inside office support to get back from lunch, no waiting till I get to a PC, just instant answers for clients, right when they need them, & that is a priceless, immensely invaluable tool.

So, it is not about price, not for folks that really need a smartphone. It is about function & we all have different needs there as well. As for my device requirements, as pretty or useful some folks may think th iPhone, for me it is just another feature phone, which is probably fine for many users out there. Most folks probably don't need anything more than a feature phone.

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warlok180

Well said.

I agree that most people that buy a smart phone just buy it for the features because it's the cool thing to have. You can't go wrong with either Android or iOS or even Windows. It just depends on what they need.

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majorsuave

Android owes its popularity to being everything at once (pun intended at you Windows 8).

It powers such a wide range of devices (Media players, tablets, laptops, phones, watches, home phones, car computers, tvs, glasses, consoles...) that it had to eventually become ubiquitous.

Cheap is one part, but there is easy, evolving, friendly, open, upgradeable (Sd Cards, batteries, HDMI, media reader...)

I bought Android phones because the OS is open, I can expand storage easily and, most importantly, I like to be able to drag and drop stuff from and to any PC (Windows or Linux) without the need to install crappy software.

One thing comes out clearly:

**** Some Gizmodo interns/freelancers/writers suffer from an inferiority complex when it comes to the world outside of Apple's influence.

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Eoraptor

Let's see here... because it's not elitist claptrap built on two year old hardware and sold as though it's the bleeding edge not only of technology but of cool as well; it's cheap?

Pull the other one.

Android is popular because it's inexpensive, ubiquitous, and infinitely customizable. Not only are there three major separate app stores, but you can also just write and install your own app without the approval of Cuppertino. We have choices of dozens of different hardware styles ranging from a 3 inch "gifted phone" straight up to Einsteins like HTC Droid DNA and LG Optimus G Pro, with or without keyboards, etc... Apple's next trick? the same phone you bought last year, only with glossier white and promises of "better luck next year" if you wanted actual cutting edge functionality.

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DeltaFIVEengineer

Maybe it has something to do with the geeks at the stores pushing uneducated people into Android devices and sealing the deal with a price tag of free?

I also think the Linux analogy is also not even close to being correct. If Linux had launched a fully functional OS with an intuitive GUI alongside Windows and offered it for free (which ultimately would be reflected in the price of a PC at the time) it probably would have been more popular. However, it's still not consumer friendly after multiple iterations so that dream may never come to fruition.

Oh, and Linux didn't have the financial backing and resources of Google to push it forward.

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Formedras

Linux is only layman-unfriendly when you wanna do dangerous shit that can break the whole system. Ever tried Ubuntu or Mint? They're friendlier than the ghost. (Well, Ubuntu was until the Go interface.) Same with Fedora and other desktop distros, once you get them installed. (And you jump through the exact same hoops installing Windows as Linux. It's just that almost nobody sells computers with Linux pre-installed.)

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MaximumMike

But... Android is Linux.
(this is not a double post)

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DoctorX

Exactly... The kernel is Linux. Android is basically Linux with some tweaks for mobile phone. If you take this a little farther... Linux is the most widely used OS in the world due to mobile and embedded systems. That fancy new flatscreen tv you have? it runs linux. So all you Linux haters... shut the fuck up until you actually know the facts.

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djrebelion

If Google added better audio support then apple would be losing all over. I think that is probably the only thing Apple has over them. As far as prices go I think you get what you pay for when you get an Android. If you spend 99 dollars at the Metro Store be prepared to not really like your phone that much. Get a google S3 unlock it and put it on the carrier of your choice and you will be happy. Jailbreaking sucks!!!! Apple is not going to be able to compete much longer if they continue to not play nice. Apple products are like beautiful dumb women. Cool to play with for a minute but then you want something with a little more substance to go along with that beauty.

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Morete

"If Google added better audio support then apple would be losing all over."

Exactly. I just got a GNII. NFC and Bluetooth will connect to external speaker but no sound comes out. Other people have tried connecting to the speaker with the L710 and IP4S and sound comes out fine. $650 phone with Bluetooth 4.0 and I shouldn't have an issue or have to download a custom ROM to get this to work. Yeah, the GNII is going back this weekend to AT&T.

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DoctorX

my android with dsp mananger sounds better than any other phone. iphone has fucking awful sound. I cannot see why people like it.

Your problem is ATT

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