The Pixel 3 XL may be the first phone from Google I don't want

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“Stock” Android is what I want, but not like this.

People who know me also know that I’m a fan of Android the way Google builds it on its own phones. Anyone can build Android and is free to add or take away whatever parts they like, but the small additions that Google adds make Android something unique and awesome.

But later this year, I may not want to use a phone from Google.

It’s not the software’s fault — I think Android Pie is the best mobile operating system you can use today even if it has the worst name of anything, anywhere. No, I’m feeling this because of what I know in my heart and what I’ve seen in regard to the Pixel 3 XL. So far, none of which has me feeling very good about it.

I hated gestures on my Palm Pre and they were far better than Android Pie’s offerings.

The idea that the Pixel 3 and beyond will rely on navigation through gestures isn’t crazy. Google might not have come out and said it plainly, but it’s obvious that the company wants to use gesture-based navigation in lieu of any sort of buttons in Android Pie. If that means there will be no way to bring buttons onto the display, it’s a horrible and thoughtless decision. I’m currently going through physical therapy and each week I see folks who would definitely not want to rely on small delicate motions of their appendages to use a smartphone. I’m thankful that I could use one but still have zero desire. I hated gestures on my Pre. I hated the gestures on every one of the Symbian phones I had. I’m not a gesture kind of guy.

And then there is the notch.

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Notches on a display are stupid and lazy. They are a stop-gap because a company hasn’t figured out a way to do what it wants to do while providing an unspoiled display area. The notch on some phones may be functional — they often house sensors and cameras — but I don’t care. I think they are disruptive and make using my phone a worse experience by being there. I’m sorry, but the notch is not fine and I don’t want to get used to it. (It’s OK, Hayato, you’re still a helluva guy.)

The only thing worse than a notch is someone who tells me to stop complaining about them.

When Vivo is able to build a smartphone without a notch and still have a wall-to-wall display (which is equally stupid in my opinion) and companies like Apple and LG do not, something is wrong. I would rather have a place to place my hands that’s not part of the screen when I’m holding a phone, but if you insist on selling me something that’s all display up front, don’t cut part of it out because you couldn’t figure things out. I wouldn’t tolerate a notch at the top of my television or computer monitor and I’m not going to settle for one on my phone.

My only hope is that this fad of selling phones with full-frontal displays that aren’t really all display quickly dies before every company starts doing it. I’ll happily use my BlackBerry KEY2 throughout much of 2019 while I await the KEY3, but when it comes to “stock” Android I’ll use my Pixel 2 if the Pixel 3 ships with no software buttons and big ugly places where the display is missing.

Is it wrong to hope that Samsung makes another Google Play Edition phone?

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

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  • Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
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