For the last few days my Twitter feed has been awash with comments about the new Google Pixel XL 2 (or the Pixel 2 XL, I forget!). All of a sudden Android writers have split into two camps. Those that criticised the poor quality screen, and those that lept to its defence. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle, but this screen debacle is only the tip of a very worrying trend creeping into manufactures.
Almost the whole industry seem to have adopted Facebook’s mantra of ”move fast and break things”. Quality has taken a back seat to producing a product at least once a year, shipping it almost to the day of the last version. Google appear to have pushed out a phone with sub par parts, when in reality what they should have done is hold on a little longer and produce a quality handset. Unfortunately though this rush is not just portrayed by Google
Even the once highly held ‘Apple quality’ badge is starting to slip. FaceID and the notch seen in the iPhone X have a more than passing feel of a rushed production cycle. Many Apple users have been very vocal about the need for the company to really deliver a great new design this year - and we are left with compromises. The main worry is that these oversights will also be present in production quality, because Cupertino is also dropping the ball with its code.
Apples software has been on a downward trend for a while, suffering what appears to be the rathe of impatience even more. iOS11 has been highly criticised as the most buggy release ever, and High Sierra is not far behind! Luckily these kinds of issues can be fixed and pushed out reasonably easily. However using sub par components tends to get found out pretty quickly - just ask OnePlus.
Is there a real need to throw out a new handset every year? The iterations from iPhone 6s to 8 haven’t brought any massive leaps, so the argument could be made that this is a self imposing cycle. The desire for Apple to produce more and more growth, and take in more and more revenue is only going to end one way. Either the cycle breaks, or the products do.
Now is the time for OEMS to take longer to produce hardware that is worth the upgrade. Handset prices have pushed upwards in the last couple of years with no meaningful reason to spend so much money. If build quality is the same at £300 and £900 then strong questions need to be asked.