Google Now Has an App to Tell You Which Android Phone to Buy

Which Phone

The great thing about Android is that there are so many choices. The bad thing about Android is that there are so many choices. In the iPhone world, you decide the size of the phone, then the color, then the storage. But there aren't that many decisions to make (unlike the 54 combinations of the Apple Watch!) Android has literally thousands of different handsets from dozens of different manufacturers. The decision process can be overwhelming.

Google thinks they have a solution, with a web-based app dubbed Which Phone. You answer some questions about how you would use your phone and it spits out a recommendation. Some of the choices are Photography, Music, Staying Fit, Web Browsing, Texting, Maps, Social Media, Gaming—even Talking! Then you answer the frequency of that activity. After a few questions are answered, the website lets you see what it thinks are your matches. It's like Match.com for smartphones! Although, they discriminate against Apple of course :)

I was surprised by my results, the first time I tried it. All the recommendations were for phablets of 5.5 to 5.7 inches in size. That's not for me, even if it was an Apple iPhone 6 Plus. I did not specify photography, yet the recommendations touted that more than any of the activities I had chosen. The one question that makes a bit of a difference is if you care about style. I tried again and made "Expressing My Style" a big priority and it recommended the Motorola Moto X, which lets you customize just about everything from wood, leather, or metal to the colors. But the other phones it recommended only came in three colors.

So they need to work out the kinks and ask a bit more about your preferences. The site didn't ask if I was prone to dropping my phone or getting it wet, which is surprising because Android makers do have some waterproof and rugged models. It didn't ask about my vision, which could have led it to a larger screen; it just went big on its own. It certainly didn't ask about price. What if I'm security conscious and want a fingerprint reader? And none of the questions were about third-party apps, other than asking if I liked gaming. What if I like to discover new apps? Maybe Google thinks I should go with iOS since most new apps show up there first? 

This is not the case of a solution in search of a problem; this is a real problem. There are too many Android choices to make any easy decision. I'm just not sure this tool is robust enough to replace a good salesperson. Of course, you could just ask Siri which phone to get. I doubt she'd recommend the ones Google does!

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.