Hello All, I’m deciding which smartphone will be my next. MY EXPERIENCE/BIO I got my first smartphone, a Motorola Droid X2, through Verizon in June 2011 and have had it ever since. I like the Android platform better than IOS; I like the availability of widgets for system settings on my home screen, I like Google’s services, syncability with W7, the nonproprietary connector, etc. With my Droid X2, though, I’ve come to loathe that my phone is still running Android 2.3 and that it has so many carrier apps which I can’t get rid of. I initially directed my loathing toward Motorola but I now understand it’s not only the OEM but also the carrier who plays a part in whether and when given update is pushed to the user. My understanding of the Android update process is (1) Google releases the update, (2) the OEM decides if the update is applicable to a given device, (3) the OEM maybe applies the update to that device, (4) the OEM releases that update to the carrier, (5) the carrier decides whether to apply that update to the device, (6) the carrier maybe applies the update to the device but with user functionality restrictions, (7) several months later, the user finally maybe gets the update. My understanding of the updating process being what it is, I want either a smartphone directly from Google, e.g. a Nexus 4 or Nexus X, or the closest equivalently-pure and instant/fast-updated Android phone from one of the OEM’s. What I really want in a device: • <5” display • High-resolution display • Fast CPU • No carrier apps • No carrier OS restrictions What I want but what I can compromise on: • High-fidelity audio o Something on par with a Walkman or a Cowan device o Something with a strong amplifier What I am willing to sacrifice in a device: • Removable battery • Removable SD card • Social media app customizations What I’d like in a carrier: • Fewest restrictions to the phone’s functionality • No contract required I’m also considering an iPhone or a Windows 8 phone though I know both Apple and Microsoft will want me to use their services if I get one of their phones. I can still go either Android, IOS or Windows 8, though. I welcome any recommendations and any advice.