Skip to main content

The Death of the Nexus Phones

OK - for people following the goings on in the Android phone world, this is old news but Google has come out with their Pixel phones and have discontinued their Nexus phones.  This is more than just a name change.  The Nexus line had two phones, a midrange phone and a high end phone.  The Pixel line has two phones, a high end phone and a high end phone with a bigger screen.  For those of us not willing to spend $650 on a phone, we've just been priced out.

So why is it a big deal?  Can't I just get a midrange phone from somebody else?  That depends.  To me, a smart phone is a mini-computer.  It runs programs, accesses my private information (banks, emails, contacts, etc.), surfs the internet, etc.  Really, it's not much different than a desktop PC - just smaller.  So, would you buy a PC if you knew it wasn't going to get updated?  No security patches to prevent viruses, no upgrades to the operating system (in this case, Android), to bug fixes, nothing.  I wouldn't.  However, a lot of Android phone vendors are exactly like that.  If I buy a phone made by HTC, Asus, Motorola, Alcatel, OnePlus, etc. will it get security patches?  Upgrades?  Maybe.  That's it, just maybe.  Nexus phones get monthly security updates and get upgraded to the latest version of Android.  Pixel phones get the same treatment.  Do you know who else gets that?  iPhones.  Nice!

That was my initial thought, so I did some research.  Does anybody make Android phones at decent prices that get patches and upgrades?  Sort of.  Three vendors have come out and pledged that they will release security updates for their phones.

  • Samsung
  • LG
  • Blackberry
CORRECTION: Since I published this, Nokia has come out and said their Android phones will get updates.

That's it.  Any other vendor and you have no guarantees.  At least, not that I know of.

I have to admit, I was surprised to see Blackberry on that list but their DTEK60 looks like a pretty good phone.  I was impressed by how they make security a big part of their feature list and will be seriously checking them out when it's time to get my next phone.

LG is also a good brand.  My Nexus 5x is made by LG and I've been pretty happy with it.  I am definitely keeping my eye on them although their high end phones are pretty pricey.  I may have to look more mid-grade.

Finally there's Samsung.  I think I must just love the underdog because I've never really considered getting a Samsung phone.  They're the biggest name in Android phones but I've never really paid that much attention to them.  Perhaps I need to reconsider...

All in all, there are more options out there for well supported phones than I initially thought and I should have quite a few options when I'm ready to go on my next phone.

Of course there's always Apple but... no, I just can't.  Too expensive, too arrogant, too trendy, too controlling.  Nope, I just can't do it.


Popular posts from this blog

Insteon: Controller vs Responder

This entry is going to be more of a technical article.  If you're not planning on setting up scenes in an Insteon environment, this isn't for you.  If you are or like me, have been running into some confusion about what should be set up as a controller, what should be a responder, and what should be both.  Here's what I learned.

I've been using Insteon switches for a couple of years now and had set up a few scenes.  When adding a switch to a scene, you have the option of adding it as a controller, a responder, or both.  Not knowing the difference and wanting to cover my bases, I set all of my scenes to both.  Since my scenes were all timing type scenes (e.g. turn on night lights at sunset) it worked fine.  Then I added an 8 button keypad and started programming the buttons to control other lights.  The program for this, of course, is a scene.  Once again, I set every switch and button as both a controller and a responder.  Then I created a scene, specifically for my E…


I just finished reading The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. It's a biographical novel of Michelangelo (you know, the famous sculptor/artist whose statue of David and the paintings in the Cistine Chapel are super famous) that gives a very interesting view of his life. It seems that while Michelangelo had a very productive life, it wasn't a very happy one.

One of the first things that I noticed about Stone's portrayel of Michelangelo is that he was obsessed with creating sculptures and a true perfectionist. For a large portion of his life (into his 60s it seems) his every action was calculated toward a goal of sculpting marble - either getting a commission or improving his talent (or both). Not only did he want to sculpt, he wanted his pieces to be as real as possible.

His obsession with carving perfect sculptures drove him to do endless studies of the human form. He even spent months sneaking into a morgue to dissect bodies so he could figure out how the body real…

Sonos Control with the Amazon Echo - How I did it

I've had my Amazon Echo for a year or so and one thing that I've wanted ever since I purchased it, is to be able to use voice commands to control my Sonos speakers.  I waited patiently (OK  not patiently) for Sonos skill to appear on the Echo but it still hasn't come.  I was encouraged when Sonos announced it was going to focus more on voice but still nothing.  Isn't there any way to control my Sonos with my Echo?

Yes - sort of.

WARNING: This post is not for the faint of heart because the solution is not trivial.

So, I found a project on github that uses another project on github combined with a custom skill on
the Echo via a web service hosted by AWS Lambda.  OK, that was the easy part.  I knew that going in.  That's why, initially, I waited.  There must be an elegant solution out there.  I searched and waited and searched again and waited again.  Finally I decided to give it a try.  If it worked it would be really cool.  If it didn't, well I'm no worse o…