I had originally convinced myself that I should wait until next year to upgrade but silly me – I went window shopping which turned into actually shopping after having given the iPhone XS Max but what I did was give the Samsung S9 Plus 256GB for a week (I could return it if I wasn’t happy) – I was open to Pixel 3 but given the hoops one would have to jump through just to get it along with the ‘you’re on your own’ approach to warranty support (something I’m not happy to live with on a NZ$1800 device). With this blog entry it is more looking at the journey and considerations – thinking out aloud put into blog format.
Over the last month or so I’ve been following some high profile reviewers of the last couple of weeks given the launch of the Pixel 3 and the disproportionate outrage that the said notch seemed to attract. When the Pixel 3 was launched, I was frustrated by the fact that it wasn’t available in New Zealand but what was more frustrating was the abysmal quality of the reviews where the focus was either on the notch or the camera as if nothing else mattered on the device which left me, the viewer, with more questions than I had answers. Before you ask, these were actually reviews that I was looking at – not unboxing videos but putting that aside for a moment, it is difficult to find good video reviews of products these days particularly when it comes to reviewers who fixate over certain aspects – both of positive and negative.
When comes to the Pixel 3 I was disappointed because I had expected that maybe the third year of having built the Pixel that maybe it would arrive in New Zealand but it did but that being said I was going to purchase a Pixel 3 via the online Google store until I saw the specifications. For starters it includes 4GB memory, which, in the case of iOS would be more than sufficient because the applications running on iOS are running in native code where as in the world of Android the applications are running on still have the overhead of the Android Runtime. Yes, it has improved hugely from way back in the day when it was interpreted then they moved to Just In Time (JIT) then added Ahead Of Time (AOT) which improved performance and efficiency at the expense of longer installation times and with the launch of Android 9 (aka ‘Pie’) they have introduced the following (link):
Android 9 brings performance and efficiency improvements to all apps through the ART runtime. We’ve expanded ART’s use of execution profiles to optimize apps and reduce the in-memory footprint of compiled app code. ART now uses profile information for on-device rewriting of DEX files, with reductions up to 11% across a range of popular apps. We expect these to correlate closely with reductions in system DEX memory usage and faster startup times for your apps.
But even so, there is a price to be paid for supporting many different SoC’s (Qualcomm, HiSilicon, Exynos, MediaTek) so it is necessary to abstract. Reminds me of the discussions regarding latency, throughput and scalability on Solaris – if you increase scalability to improve throughput then latency increases and responsiveness decreases. If you make something more responsive then you sacrifice throughput in the process – something that was the underlying decision when it came to designing APFS where the design of it was on latency at the expense of throughput hence it wouldn’t be an ideal file system for a massive server where as ZFS was designed to be run on a massive server with huge amounts of memory where the focus was on massive throughput at the expense of memory usage. So when you design systems you make decisions – sacrifice something to achieve something that you might consider more important – in the case of Android it is giving up squeezing peak performance and efficiency for the sake of greater compatibility across different SoCs that utilise Android.
Getting back to Pixel 3 and Google in general, the big problem that I have is that Safari no longer has the power, flexibility and range extensions where as Chrome has all that which opens me to using Chrome instead. With the latest release of Chrome 70 the experience is a lot smoother – the look and feel integrates into macOS a whole lot better along with the look and feel of Google’s own applications. With the improvement of Chrome has lead to my embracing of Chrome and in turn Google services which involves setting up a domain and then signing up for G Suite subscription – the benefit of that has been the ability to consolidate around a single provider where I can have multiple aliases which I use for different purposes so it keeps my main email address free of spam and I can manage the inflow of emails from various sources.
With that move onto Google in services has also changed what I use for my mobile phone, I have moved to an Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Lilac Purple (256GB) for my primary phone (it came with a free watch which I’m going to sell off since I’m not interesting in wearing a watch) and I’ve also bought the Xiaomi Mi Box S with 4K HDR Android TV Streaming Media Player and Google Assistant Remote which comes in around NZ$93 (US$59.95) from Walmart – given that it comes with a wall wart that works with both 110/120V and 220/230V I ordered it which will hopefully mean that it’ll arrive not next week but the week after next week if everything goes according to plan.