This year’s rumors surrounding Google releasing a premium device and abandoning its Nexus line turned out to be true, much to the dismay of Android fans everywhere. Nexus devices were a great way to get the stock Android experience and latest updates all without breaking the bank. The Google Pixel starts at $649 and goes up to $869 for a Pixel XL 128GB version. That’s nearly double what the base Nexus 6P cost at launch.
Because Google is focusing on premium devices that command a premium price, there’s a void in the $400 stock Android market right now. OnePlus and ZTE both released devices in this category this year that are going head to head with each other. The OnePlus 3 offers a near stock Android experience with a few tweaks found in OxygenOS, while ZTE offers a Stock Android skin on their ZTE Axon 7.
Both the OnePlus 3 and the ZTE Axon 7 are amazing devices in the $400 category, with the Axon 7’s display, battery life, and audio slightly edging out the OnePlus 3’s better camera and superior software. If ZTE can address these issues with its next phone, presumably the Axon 8, then it could definitely be poised to be a stock Android competitor in the future.
ZTE has been listening to its community this year and they’ve opened a poll on their website to ask why you prefer stock Android devices. They’re considering filling the niche that the end of the Nexus line left for people who want stock Android devices with fast updates. While ZTE traditionally hasn’t done very well in the update department with its handsets, the Axon 7 breaks that mold as ZTE has released security updates each month and plans for Nougat to be released by January.
The ZTE community manager in charge of the poll says these results will be presented to their R&D team to determine if a stock Android device should be in the cards for the company, based on customer support. It’s nice to see manufacturers jumping in to fill the gap Google left behind with Nexus devices and if ZTE can continue to deliver amazing hardware while shaping up their software they could quickly become a go-to brand for the $400 device category.