Note: I originally started this piece as an in-depth look at Android for audiophiles. I wanted to do the research and educate people so they didn't have to spend their time combing the entire Internet. I figured the article would be a great resource for getting the best sound out of an Android device. After several days of research, talking to experts, even talking to Google, this article turned in a little different direction. There are major problems with Android audio. I ran into them. I tried to provide details and some workarounds, amid my frustration. - CC
I purchased my first iPhone on June 9, 2008. It was the 3G model. Back then, I didn't really use it for audio because the world was a different place. That phone was maxed-out at 16GB of storage, there were no major streaming music services, analog audio output was less than good, and there were zero devices capable of extracting digital audio from an iPhone. As future iPhone versions were released with more storage, streaming services appeared with lossless offline downloads, and external DACs capable of turning an iPhone into a pretty good audio device became available, I switched from my 160 GB iPod Classic and began to depend on my iPhone for mobile audio playback.
On September 7, 2016 the iPhone 7 was announced. I was set to upgrade from my iPhone 6 Plus, but was very underwhelmed after watching Apple's presentation. I thought about keeping my 6 Plus until the "magical" iPhone 8 is released, but decided it was time for a change. I switched to the Google Pixel phone running Android. When switching to an Android device, it was very important to me to use an official Google phone. Google ensures its phones have the "real" Android experience, without bloatware, and will be updated to the newest version of the Android operating system as soon as it's released. On the other hand, manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola, and Huawei use such customized versions of Android, it's hard to believe they can still use the Android brand. Bloatware an lack of updates are two major issues with non-Google Android phones. Anyway, I made the switch to a 128 GB Google Pixel, and the quest for audiophile quality audio from Android started immediately. I literally hadn't received the phone yet, and I was already trying to find the right audio-related accessories and the best way to output bit perfect audio.