This story was originally published and last updated .
Putting Android and iOS side by side in the smartphone arena has never been easy. While big software differences still separate the platforms in fundamental ways, even things like hardware just don't mean the same thing when you're comparing an iPhone to an Android phone. Even for us—people who are generally familiar with both—it can be difficult at times to explain what can sound like subtle contrasts end up painting two wildly different pictures. We obviously have a clear agenda when it comes to which platform is better, even if the 2020 iPhone SE seriously wowed us. But with the Pixel 4a, Google fired back in a more effective way than I think any of us had necessarily predicted.
Research house Canalys tracked 31.9 million smartphone shipments in the U.S. for the second quarter, down 5% from last year. Diverging plotlines between the novel coronavirus pandemic and the trade war with China are putting intense pressures on the industry in terms of cost and product strategy.
With the iPhone SE making many Android users switch platforms, it was just a question of time until we'd see a response from Android manufacturers. In Europe, that might just be the OnePlus Nord. The €400 phone undercuts the €480 iPhone by €80, and its modern, sleek exterior stands in stark contrast to Apple's tried-and-true iPhone 6 look. It might just become the reset button for the Android midrange market.
Apple copying somebody to make something successful then everybody else copying Apple's success is a well-worn narrative path (independent of that narrative's truth in reality). As such, with the unveiling of the surprisingly-powerful iPhone SE today at $399, it's very reasonable to wonder: has Apple started a small-phone renaissance? Are we going to see a flood of small (less than 4.5" display) but powerful and premium Android phones enter the market?
Let's start with some phone size history. The new Apple iPhone SE is the same size as the outgoing 5S - roughly 124mm tall, 59mm wide, and 7.6mm thick. That is a very, very small phone.