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.
I ran with that configuration for a week and as much as I tried to give it a chance there were some major downsides with the biggest being the absence of iMessage and the integration that exists between my iMac and MacBook Pro to my mobile phone. For someone like me, I love the ability to make telephone calls when I’m on either computer and send text messages from the Message application which isn’t available when using a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. In a perfect world Samsung would use the standard phone, messaging and contacts application but they insist on re-inventing the wheel and channeling its user base to the Samsung Cloud service (the reason for its existence is still mystery to this day given how half assed it is given the limited functionality and devices that can synchronise with it).
The bigger problem is that everything is linked together so it isn’t as though you can drop in Google Contacts and Messaging because when you invoke the Phone application (that cannot be replaced with Google’s Phone application) it invokes the Samsung version of the application. Lets assume I could replace the Samsung software whole say then I could message friends via Chrome using the Google Messaging but I’d still be stuck not being able to make/receive telephone calls and it would also lack the integration between activation codes coming through on SMS and Safari being able to pick it up on Messages so that I can autofill those details into the browser.
There is the bigger issue of updates, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is stuck at Android 8.0 even though Android 8.0 was released 21 August 2017 months ago, Android 8.1 was released 5 December 2017, a full 5 months before the phone was released and yet it shipped with Android 8.0 with Android 9.0 released 21 August 2018 and rumour has it that if it is released then it won’t be until early next year at the earliest. It is almost like Samsung is a child that quickly gets bored and reluctantly does the least amount humanly possible at maintaining the existing product in favour of focusing on the next big exciting thing – the new product that is to be launched.