If you are unfamiliar with the term, read my friend Harry’s article for a great piece on “the fanboy“. Now, onto the piece – which I anticipate bringing me tons of annoyed Android folks (much like my tablet rant did last year).
I started using Android last December with the HTC Droid Eris. My decision came after watching a friend really enjoy the use, a small amount of personal hands-on time, and the excitement about the platform itself. Eight months later, and other than the vision of an open platform for smartphones, I have nothing but disdain for the current Android phone landscape. I find the devices crude and clunky, the product experience weak, and the overall state of the platform in “advanced beta” at best (if enough people clamor in the comments, I’ll write another post on just that topic). Granted, I am a product purist and I have one of the weaker Android devices on the market, but I’ve had a chance to use every one of the current “state of the art” phones other than the Droid 2, and my opinions remain the same.
Yet they are selling them by the bucketful. So I can’t possibly be right on this, as 20+ million other people are defying my belief that the phones themselves are lousy and barely usable. Or can I? After lots of discussions with Android users, I’ve divided up the Android world into the following buckets:
- Android Newbies: This group is new to the Android experience, and are probably very happy with their experience, despite lots of frustrating glitches at times. Why? Most of them are upgrading from feature phones (the industry term for a non-smartphone), and this is likely their very first experience to having the magic of Interwebbing on their phones. What’s not to love? That part comes soon.
- Android Haters: Having used their Android device for weeks-to-months, they have come to notice all its shortcomings, ranging from inconsistent back button use to awkward keyboards to erratic input sensitivity, all things they failed to really notice during the 30 day window to return the phone with no commitment. Furthermore, they are likely annoyed that their phone became outdated in less than 90 days since purchase – a phenomenon not well appreciated by tens of millions of people, despite what the tech community thinks. They/we are trapped, waiting, hoping, watching…
- Android Fanboys: The folks who think Android just freakin’ rocks, man.
What’s wrong with a Fanboy? Nothing at all. I have nothing but good feelings for anyone who loves any product, platform, service, etc – it’s fun to love stuff. However, I’m more than a little concerned about (1) more newbies buying products they shouldn’t, (2) building up the “Awesomeness” of the platform to the tech industry, when it’s not really at the same caliber as it could be (and indirectly letting device makers off the hook to build better products), and most importantly – (3) my phone sucks and I’m pissed, so this is my chance to vent.
Here’s some tips how to tell the Fanboys from the rest. Take it all with a grain of salt.
- They preach about openness. The Android fanboy will tell you multiple times about how the platform is open and how that’s a great benefit to everyone. Let’s be totally blunt for a second: the average technology user cares about “open” products roughly zero. If they did, then companies like Microsoft, Apple, etc would never have become the behemoths they are. Openness is great in theory, and in very specific instances can be a huge factor, but it is not, in and of itself, a “benefit”. My “open” phone has a lousy app marketplace, requires third-party software to be regularly usable, has no inherent easy way to play media files, and actually shipped with not one, but two different native email applications (one of which actually disappeared on its own during the last software update).
- They show you widgets. “Look ma, its the weather! On my Phone!” Android devices are capable of displaying widgets, which are unquestionably one of the coolest things about Android. But there’s only a few really useful widgets, and they do not, in any way, make up for the rest of the Android experience. I have a widget called “Agenda”. When I view it, it takes up to 5 seconds to show me my agenda (during which it doesn’t say “loading agenda”, it says “NO agenda”.). Ditto for my Stocks widget, Mail widget, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love the widgets, but they alone do not a good phone make.
- They ignore the little details. My “send text message to my wife” shortcut on my home screen is very cool (shortcuts, after widgets, are a very cool element of Android). But when I click on it, it brings me to a “send message” screen, with my cursor highlighting the “To” field, resulting in me starting to write my text in the wrong place (it should be the “message” field). Not a big deal, right? There’s tons of them. Now compound that little experience to all experiences and you’ll get a better picture. It’s as if every edge possible could be the rough version. But Fanboys don’t care, they’ll trivialize these nuances or tell you they’ll be fixed in an upcoming version (more on that in a moment). Here’s the thing: it’s the little things that matter when it comes to product experience! If every single time I send a text message I have to go through an inconvenience, how on earth can this be “awesome”?
- They know the difference between Android versions and implementations. For those unaware, Android is a rapidly evolving platform, which at the surface sounds really great. But it isn’t great to most consumers who are buying phones for their use now, and who don’t want to have to think about things getting fixed in the future. I’d make the analogy to early days of Windows, except when you buy a Dell or an HP (or, shudder, a Vaio – wow, been a while since I went there!), you get a product that works consistently, with some extremely subtle nuance in specific applications. In Android, a Froyo with Sense is different than an Eclair with Blur. Yup, that was a technically accurate statement. The problem here is the very core, the baseline experience simply isn’t good enough, and Google is trying to fight the very upstream battle in mobile of getting manufacturers to not differentiate against each other. Lastly, since there’s upgrades coming all the time, it’s impossible to know if the phone you buy today will do the things Android is promised to one day do.
- They justify carrying huge phones. Have you seen the Evo or Droid X? Massive. Practically as big as my iPad (no, not really, calm down). Maybe if the platform included a great video delivery experience (translated: or any video experience) this would make sense. Instead, you get a huge brick and are left to figure out what to do with it on your own. Worst of all, the bigger phones are the “good” ones, leaving consumers with the awkward decision between buying something convenient versus a house phone. The moment a device isn’t pocket-sized, it’s competing against non-phones, but yet the Fanboys overlook this every time. And if carnies can’t hold it, I don’t want it either. And while I’m at it, can someone explain how 2-3 hours of use with a fully charged battery is considered acceptable??
- They make a big deal out of commonplace stuff. Here’s a recent review of the HTC Hero, which used no fewer than three sentences to praise the headphone jack. Yes, the headphone jack. And so you don’t have to read it, just know – it’s just a headphone jack! In the words of a fanboy: Woot!1!!
- They get excited about hot-sounding but generally impractical features. Translating voice into text messages? Sounds awesome. Now use it. This piece sums it all up nicely. In all truth, you really can build some amazing things with Android, I don’t deny that at all. But if you don’t have the basics working amazingly well, it doesn’t matter. It’s like having sprinkles on your hot fudge sauce on your ice cream on your 7 layer cake only to find out the cake is liver-flavored.
And now for the clincher
They compare against the iPhone, all the time. Greatness is defined by what you are, not by what something else is or isn’t. I wrote this entire post without referencing the iPhone (until now), as I have no interest in comparing the two (I personally have never owned an iPhone, for the record). I have no idea what Android does “better” than an iPhone, I don’t care, as it doesn’t improve my experience one bit. But Fanboys do. Fanboys can’t not bash the iPhone to make a point (here’s an article with 18 references to the iPhone alone). The iPhone being a closed system doesn’t help me decipher bizarre icons littering my experience. The iPhone dropping calls doesn’t help me accidentally hang up on callers because the logic to process touch events handles them after rendering new activities (translation: I am clicking a button on the screen, a call comes in, and the place I had just clicked was “ignore call”, and the phone decides that my click was to ignore the call, not whatever I was doing before. This is poor design). The iPhone having a death grip doesn’t make my onscreen keyboard more usable. So I’ll say it again: Greatness is defined by what you are, not by what something else is or isn’t.
Great list – this could easily also be retitled the ‘Symbian Fanboy Detector’, with few changes in the body details.
Nice post. I love the concept of the Android but I find the whole ecosystem too confusing and I don’t like any of the hardware out there. Believe it or not I’m still a feature phone user looking to migrate but I don’t know what I want and I’m not moving to AT&T for the iPhone (which I don’t really think is THAT great anyway, although I absolutely love my iPad.)
My choice… may move to Blackberry because it seems simple and reliable (not the Storm or Torch… I mean the Blackberry) or I may take the plunge on a Palm because I like the HW design.
There’s a class of “Fandroid” you are leaving out.
The “accidental Fanboy”… these are people who have almost no clue what kind of phone OS they use.
All iPhone users know they own an iPhone. 100%. But I know several people who don’t know their “Verizon phone” is running Android. The widely misunderstood market share numbers that are trumpeted by the fanboys are very flimsy.
I’d argue that close to 50% of Android users fall into this category. This is why you’ll never see lines around the block for a new release. As a brand, Android is non-existent.
For you sir I take off my hat. Great article filled with truth!
But I sure hope the fandroid don’t find out or you’ll have a serious problem at your hands. Ever gotten an Evo 4G thrown at your head? Those damned things hit like bricks.
Great article. One thing you missed is that a LOT of us fanboys can and do work to make android better. Enjoy your pod.
2 out of 3 dissenters (thus far) seem to think I have an iPhone… guess fanboys pay a lot of attention to detail, eh?
Look, not everyone can get an iPhone (cost/service being the main reasons) and this is better than a blackberry or Pre (poor Palm). How about tech pragmatist? I guess that doesn’t fit into your narrow worldview, but give it some thought.
Yes, Grampa, you’re right. The Beatles are too loud, their hair’s too long, and you can’t understand the words. Can’t imagine what all these kids see in them. Don’t worry, I’ll put Guy Lombardo back on for you.
I found this via a Louis Gray share.
It may be helpful to divide your concerns between those which have to do with the Android software platform itself, and those that have to do with the hardware vendors who are putting Android on their devices. Some (but not all) of your concerns would be addressed if a hardware manufacturer took the time to create a superior phone design. Even good hardware would not address your concerns about Android itself, but maybe Oracle will take care of that. 🙂
(Some disclosures are in order. I am a former Motorola employee, although I was not on the cell phone side of the house. While employed by Motorola, I used a Motorola Q with Windows Mobile. My current phone is an LG env3.)
I’m so happy I got to read this “everything sucks and if you think different than me, you are part of the sucking” Apple fanboy-esque story. You know, because the world is black and white, and you are better than me.
You have SOME valid points, but they are buried in a mixture of unfair generalizations, insults and exaggerations. But you are mad because you bought a Droid Eris, I get it.
Truth be told, I deleted around 80 lines if this comment, because I suddenly realized that I didn’t care that much anyway.
Good luck on finding a phone (if you haven’t bought an iPhone already).
PS: You suck.
Look, ma, the weather. On the other side of the window.
Good summation – Have not found an android-based phone I’d buy and the new ones require hands the size of the Hulks. Surprised the droidies haven’t inundated the comments yet. That’ll come.
The Handy iPhone Fanboy Detector
1. They preach about closedness, as if that’s good thing. Remember that story a few weeks back about a malicious Android app that was supposedly sending data secretly to China? Guess how many Apple blogs wrote about that just to trash Android for its openness? Just about every single one. Then a few days later, it was revealed this story was basically 100% false. Guess how many Apple blogs took the time to write a story correcting this mistake? Zero.
2. They show you the apps. “More than any other platform!” As if that’s any indication of a superior platform.
3. They ignore the things Android does better. Notifications, widgets, *way* more customization, etc. They play these features off as if they’re no big deal. But of course, if Apple implemented them on the iPhone, it would be the second coming of Christ.
4. They can somehow justify that one phone on one carrier made by one company is wonderful. Heaven forbid someone wants a larger iPhone or an iPhone on Verizon or an iPhone made by someone else that has features Apple refuses to make – hardware keyboard, larger screen, etc.
5. They make a big deal out of commonplace stuff. High resolution screens and a camera flash. Android phones have had this stuff forever, of course iPhone users didn’t care about them because of point 3 above, but now the iPhone has them and it’s suddenly the most amazing stuff of all time.
6. They get excited about hot-sounding but generally impractical features. An antenna on the outside – I watched the keynote and people went insane because they thought it was so amazing. That didn’t work out so well, did it? And what about FaceTime? I’ve read some decent reviews of it but most people seem to feel it’s pretty lame, especially since it requires wifi. Of course, this didn’t stop every Apple fan in the world from blogging about it before it came out.
And the real clincher: They won’t stop talking about how bad Android is. They used to think it was so bad, it had no chance. Now that Android is outselling the iPhone by at least 2x the number of units, they grasp at straws to come up with any excuse why this would be. Just hit up any Apple or iPhone blog and chances are good there’s at least one story a day regarding something negative about Android.
“Verizon has 2 for 1 sales, but the second units never get used.”
“Well gee, it took them long enough – they’re on all 4 carriers!”
“People only buy Android phones if they can’t use AT&T”
“People don’t know what Android is”
Greatness is defined by products that are great. iPhone and Android are both great platforms. Let’s all just stop comparing, enjoy our phones, and more importantly, enjoy life. It’s just a damn phone.
All smartphones have issues. I run a highly modified Hero and love it. I’d like an iPhone but they’re WAY too expensive and that’s a point you miss. Many people simply cannot afford an iPhone. So, to a certain extent one gets what one pays for; yes I did have to modify my Hero to give me a good experience but it was trivial to carry out and the phone is now excellent.
Most of the problems that you allude to are the result of the carriers overlaying Android with their own interfaces (e.g. HTC with Sense) in order to lock users in and this is the cause of the fragmentation between Android versions. If the carriers didn’t do this then every Android user would have the same experience and be on the same software version – this is how Apple control their customer’s experience and I wish Google would do the same.
So please, direct your ire at the carriers who stuff Android with crapware, not at Android itself.
Interesting article. Indeed, when I hear about these massive Android sales figures I think… oh you poor bastards.
I’ve had my HTC Desire for 3 months now. Parts of it are nice and an improvement over the iPhone in raw capability, but the annoyances are massive, and the ecosystem like a trailer park occupied by alcoholics. There mere act of syncing my media to the phone fills me with dread.
Would I switch back to iPhone? Possibly. If there is an iOS update in the future that addresses the iPhones ‘OMG STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND LOOK AT MOI’ modal alert system, then I think I’ll switch back.
‘Beta’ is a good label. Android devs need to stop adding more features and polish what they have now to a high shine.
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Bloody oath yes. I’m currently in the process of getting my phone back to a working state, after updating to an official 2.1 release that works worse than the community release that I’ve been using for the past three months. I love all the claims on updatability, but as updates practically nuke your phone I can’t see consumers giving a damn after their first update. Never mind that you have to root your phone to properly backup your phone.
Seems to me that the author specifically noted that he does not have an iPhone. Maybe it would be best to do more than read the headline and then spew a comment asap.
“Greatness is defined by what you are, not by what something else is or isn’t.” sums it up nicely.
Much as I love my HTC desire, I agree with you that android feels more like an advanced beta than a polished product. Maybe Google should just slap one of their (many) beta stickers on it!
I almost feel like I need to go into rehab and claim I’m an Android Fanboy (although I own many many apple products)..
I owned the iPhones from the start and got bored with them at the 3gs point. They did nothing new and phones like my Nexus One did a hell of a lot more and had a new platform to play around with..
Shame on me for loving Andriod and giving another platform a change hey..
Oh. A handy list made by some Apple fanboy to discredit talk about openness as “fanboyism”.
And the added bonus is that one can easily detect Apple Fanboys (such as yourself) by looking for posts like that.
Very handy indeed.
PS: You don’t have to own an iPhone to be a Fanboy. I don’t think I’ve seen that rule anywhere. Hell, I’m one on occasion.
“as big as my iPad (no, not really, calm down)”
Not really that big, or no you haven’t really got an iPad? (What would you do on it, tablets are rubbish at everything…)
I appreciate you have a great attention to detail.
You could download eclipse, android SDK and join the community to trouble shoot the issues you’ve highlighted.
I believe this is the strength of the platform, that users themselves identify what is important to fix or develop and can end up helping to fix problems or design new features.
There you go: http://source.android.com/source/report-bugs.html
Being a Linux user for years now, I was expecting android to be a lot less stable and have a lot less features. I agree it is not perfect, but as an OS it is quite powerful having the source code available is all thumb up.
As for the end consumer, it would be good if they would be more proactive. I’m sure one can only gain from the experience of engaging in open source development.
Jeremy, thanks for your post!, sometimes it seems like the tech world can criticize every single flaw (and there are many) on the iPhone but somehow pointing out Android flaws is seen like heresy.
I was an iPhone 3G user but decided to switch to Android mainly because i didn’t like the way Apple was managing the App Store. Tried HTC Hero and Nexus One as my main phones and played with the Evo and the Droid at work.
I agree with you in every single point in this article.
Im tech-oriented so Im not afraid of trying new things even if they are not polished enough, but Android feels still like a beta and I became very frustrated with it for constant UI design problems, the lack of a decent market experience and that feeling of having an outdated phone pretty much every month. With each new release, hardware or software, the consensus is to say “THIS is finally the Android we were looking for” and, honestly, it never is and it gets old pretty quickly.
Long story short, a couple of weeks I went back to iOS and bought the iPhone 4 (no antenna problem so far, I live in NYC). As I said, Apple’s is still a work in progress as well and lacks a lot of good ideas that are being correctly implemented in Android (notifications and the ability to work as a WiFi hotspot, for example), but somehow feels much more polished and I realized that the choice and openness in Android its mostly a mirage or has no real practical advantage in real life. I might switch again in the future, i don’t know, but i’m less inclined to do it now that i’ve tried.
Which surprises me the most is that Apple fanboys now look reasonable and calm compared to some of the Android fanboys (a quick reading through these comments proves my point, IMHO). It might be me but i feel like in the last few months fandroids have grown more rabid and bitter. Its just a freaking phone, so i don’t see why you need to answer “Yes, Grampa, you?re right. The Beatles are too loud…” to a complete honest and perfect valid opinion.
Good job, its really refreshing to read posts like this.
Almost as realistic as an Android fanboi writing about iOS!
It’s almost like insecurity drives the Android fanboy to rip on the iPhone lately. I’ve never seen such rabid (literally) comments, and I’m not sure if they are trying to convince me that their phone is great, or if they are trying to convince themselves?
I think you are missing one group, which is the early adopters. I left my iPhone for a Droid X. Is it as finished of a product? No, but I knew that going into it. So do I expect bugs, a not as good music player, etc? Yes. But as the mobile OS is changing at a rapid pace. I’m a gadget guy who’s had horrible experiences with AT&T. I don’t like Blackberry O/S and Windows Mobile, ahem, blows. So for me, it was a simple choice of jumping on a technology that seems to be evolving more than the others on a better network.
I am an Android user (not a fanboy by any means) and I have to admit this is a tremendous article!!
While I like my phone a lot, there are a ton of rough edges and for that reason I will be switching platforms in the fall.
I read your intro paragraph and did not even bother to read the rest of the article. I guess you just don’t get “it”. Enjoy your simplicity.
27 comments, no “constructive” retorts, mostly folks accusing me of being an iPhone fanboy. yawn…
Love it! You cover my concerns exactly. Android’s not at all ready to compare with the iPhone. It will get there, but it’s not ready. You can tell the fanboys because they think it is.
Android = tech geeks/developers/cutting edge
iPhone = hipsters/kids who want games/artists/”unique & trendy” people/mindless masses
BlackBerry = message maniacs/traditional business users/people who want more than feature phone
WinMo/Symbian/WebOS = Come again?
I’ll start by saying I’m an Android Fan Boy. I worked at T-Mobile Prior to the release of the G1 and was able to get my hands on a pre-release version of it running an OS version <1. To Date I've owned the G1, MT3G, MY Slide and the Nexus One. The Nexus One is currently my everyday phone and has been since it first was released.
I've had the opportunity to use all performance Tiers of Android along with seeing the development of the platform itself. Being in the cell phone world I've also used pretty much every smart phone that has been released in the last 4 years.
I have to agree with you about areas of the platform that are less than par but the fact remains the any smartphone OS has plenty of short falls. Google is always working on correcting issues with Android.
For the record here is my opinion as a long time Android users with a large amount of time on Tier 1 Android devices.
They preach about openness:
BS in my opinion there is a lot about Android that is not open so it should never be used as an argument on the side of Android. I have to agree with you on this point.
They show you widgets:
I disagree with you on this point. There are a lot of really great widgets for Android that I used everyday. BUT if you have a slower lower tier Android phone that ruins the widget experience. Currently on my Nexus I have the following widgets I use everyday: NY Times Widgets for Worldnews, Technology, Science and Politics. Twitter Widget and Facebook Widget, Time+Weather Widget, Calender, Music, Controls such as Wifi, GPS, Silent ect. Plus a few others that I used all the time and they come in very handy. So I consider this a MAJOR plus for the OS.
They know the difference between Android versions and implementations:
Obviously not everyone knows nor cares about the different versions. However, I follow them closes due to Android still be somewhat new. Every new version of Android that is release fixed a lot of the issues you speak of. You, being stuck with the Eris, are using a bottom Tier Android phone that is stuck in the past leaving you no reason to follow OS updates.
They justify carrying huge phones:
The biggest Android phone is the Evo with a 4.3" screen which is not to big to fit in a pocket. Maybe if your 5'1" and wear skinny jeans than you have an issues. But for the majority of people it works out fine. It provides you with a more robust internet and video experience without the need for a 'Pad' or a laptop.
They make a big deal out of commonplace stuff:
The review you provide for this argument is either A.) Pretty old (Cant tell because the date is very bizarre). When the Hero first came out having a headphone jack was a pretty big deal. B.) It was created by and idiot writing useless articles for SEO purposes. So keep on trying
They get excited about hot-sounding but generally impractical features:
The voice to text feature on the newer Android phones (specifically ones with noise cancellation) is about has useful as it gets. Google's voice to text algorithms are hands down the best around. If you talk normally into the phone it will know excatly what you say 9 times out of 10. That is unless you scream into your phone like some people do in which case it never works. This is a feature I used everyday while I'm driving or to lazy to type.
Mobile hotspot feature is also hot-sounding and VERY practical. Same goes for many other Android features.
@Barry – thats a great response, thanks for taking the time to write it.
@Everyone else – see above.
I am an Android fanboy. And if you want constructive retorts here you go:
– We don’t really preach about openness, we preach about choice. The choice of downloading that crappy app that someone just made but adds functionality that you will never get on a closed system like IOS. And no the general public doesn’t care about openness in those terms but they do care about not being completely controlled by one company and that is what openness brings. Your phone doesn’t require third party software to be usable(I assume you are talking about task managers which is part of your problem with battery life), it will play just about any media file you put in it and if you don’t like the default media players download one from the market(choice), and the two different email applications were HTC’s choice and the other one is gone now because it wasn’t needed and if you want you can just download one off the market if you feel you do need it(Damn choice again).
-You said you love widgets well good. Just because yours don’t work don’t blame Android. Either download ones that work or my assumption is that your taskiller you have running is killing your widgets all the time so when you go to them they have to reload. User error would be the problem here.
-Your example of the text message shortcut is also not an Android problem. I tried doing on my Nexus One and it opens to the message field not the To: field. I assume again that this is an HTC shortcut problem so again blame them or download an alternative from the market. Although you are right that there are small details that need to be improved in the UI and hopefully the next update will fix most of these like rumors report that it will. I do not really notice these details myself, either because I am using a custom rom or because I have fixed them in settings, either way they are minor.
– Yes we do know the differences between Android implementations and we don’t like that there are differences but that fact isn’t going to change too soon because device manufacturers can’t differentiate there products too much on hardware so they try and do it with software. We don’t like it but we accept it as an annoyance that comes with having the ability to choose different hardware configurations depending on your preference. Hopefully with Android’s next update the manufacturers will have less incentive to change the core UI and they will move there Tweaks to separate apps instead of baking it into the core OS.
– We do not all carry big phones. Actually most fanboys prefer to carry a Nexus One which is only close to the same size as an Iphone. It is true that the newest phones have been bigger but they really aren’t that big and the extra screen real estate is nice. I would challenge you to use one of these bigger devices for a week to get used to the size and then come back and comment on it because once you get used to the size you realize it’s not a huge difference. But again you have choice and manufacturers will continue to come out with phones of all sizes.
– What other commonplace stuff do we make a big deal about. If anything this is our criticism of Iphone users because they make a big deal about getting folders and being able to change the background in version 4. I was trying to figure out when that article you linked to was written but it is confusing, anyway the Hero is an old phone. It was the third Android phone out and the first 2 didn’t have the headphone jack which was an annoying, stupid design decision so it was a big deal 2 yeas ago.
– We do get excited about features like that because voice commands is a really hard thing to do and Google is doing a fairly good job at it. And voice commands is a very practical feature for instance when driving.
– We compare to the Iphone because that is what the rest of the world does. We rather not but that is usually the easiest way to get the point across.
Any real Android fanboy won’t tell you that the Android is perfect because we know that it does still need improvement but at the rate that Android has been developing those problems won’t be around long and then there will be new problems that will continue to be worked on. Android fanboys love Android but they will tell you that if you don’t want to deal with choice and want everything to work exactly the same all the time for years to come go get an Iphone because Android requires you to make choices and not be mindless just like when you use any computer. That is why you everyone in the comments is calling you an Iphone fanboy(even though it does state you have never owned one) because from your article it sounds like you are made for the Iphone.
@Jeromy Thanks Mate, I really appreciate the fact you take the time to read the comments people leave.
@Andy well said my friend. You got out everything I didn’t have the time to say and then some.
I saw a great quote today about Android phones vs other smartphones …”Your future is our past”
Bottom line is no smartphones are perfect but Google has taken the time to introduce cutting edge features that have changed the face of the smart phone world. While those features are not always perfect, they represent the fact that Android is and will continue to be on the cutting edge.
I found this page using the “Handy Linkbait Headline Detector” Very effective.
As with most writing of this type about iPhone, Android, Apple, MS, google, etc, it’s filled with half truths, generalizations, and just plain wrong information.
In other words, perfect linkbait material.
I really like this article. I also enjoy the fact that valid points so quickly = venom without thought. If people don’t consider shortcomings improvement isn’t made. As much as I love my Android,my Mom just wants her phone to do whatever she wants it to do quickly & without issues. It is good to be reminded of other perspectives on occcaision. Being self centered by nature we often fail to remember that. The whole fanboy thing brings to mind the political climate. The similarities in comments are sort of funny really. One side has there perspective & no problem defending it vehemently; often baiting the other in the process. Rinse repeat, neither party can completely agree on everything creating a group of folks that are dis-satified with both of them who decide to make a whole new party. The whole new party manages to attract a huge spectrum of people who think they feel the same way. The third party unified in their dislike for the statuss quo gains huge momentum at the start. Then as the folks involved start to communicate with each other they begin to realise their goals are often different. I could go on, but its not as fun as I originally thought it would be to draw this comparison & I really originally just wanted a bookmark to refer to later. I enjoy it when I see something that provokes thought.(obviously mine can get pretty jumbled,Just say NO kids) So I really just want to say thank you for doing so to the article, thanks for the laughs with the chart & thanks to everyone that commented for either bringing up a valid observation,or giving some of us an other chuckle at your failed attempt to either read or troll whichever the case may be. Cheers! (PS,apologies for typos or punctuation, can’t be arsed to correct it from this tiny device & its the only access = have at this time.
I am a self proclaimed Android Fanboy, and I approve of much of this post. I agree with the part about the “Android Newbies” and I don’t really think Android is the best choice for them. They buy them because they are popular right now, and coming from a feature phone, the fit just isn’t there. I agree with the fact that Android could be considered “beta”. The OS is very new, and is still growing. Sure there are shortcomings, every true Android lover will admit that, but in the short time since Android was established, there have been some huge successes and acheivements. I also owned the Droid Eris, and must agree that it is not a good device to judge Android on, but glad that the OP got to test some better devices.
I also agree with the bigger isn’t always better idea. I personally would never want to own and Evo or Droid X. They’re just too dang big! But that is for me, and many people like a 6lb mini computer in their pocket, albeit a specially made giant pocket. As for widgets, I don’t care who ya are, they are cool…AND, there are more than a couple useful ones! Also, the new Google Voice Search works much better than any other voice command app I have ever seen. I can add text to a note, send a full text message, and search for a key term with about a 90% accuracy rating. Maybe there is a learning curve, but it really works well now.
Now I saved the best for last. Where Android truly shines is with the more tech savvy, hacker/tinkerer/computer type people. The people that enjoy figuring things out, and enjoy testing out new things. You know. the “Power Users”. For this purpose, I will use that term for to describe the more technical, modding/hacking, more serious Android users. For us power users, Android phones are a godsend. Openness– it is a big deal, and it is that cool for us. We don’t want application review processes. We don’t want app excluded because it “uses the hardware volume button in a way not intended(to take a picture), and it might confuse the user. Yes, I just compared Android to the iPhone. Why? Because the iPhone is our polar opposite. It is everything we are against. The iPhone is GREAT for certain people– people that like their device to work one way, a specific way, and an only way. They want everything to work as expected, with no variables thrown in. They don’t want options, they want a phone that is consistent, dependable, and works all the time. The iPhone is good for them. But we are a different breed of users, and we want the opposite. We want control. To be able to do whatever we want with our personal property. Sure, we expect a few hiccups, errors, reboot, and force closes, but we accept that, especially as Android is in its infancy.
So, if you look at Android users similar to myself, while Android may not be perfect, it is the closest we have. We want an open device, that we have total control over and can do whatever we see fit. We will take our porn apps cluttering up the already cluttered market, if that means we get wireless tether apps, LED flashlight apps, apps that flash different ROMs, and apps that backup ALL of our phone. Whatever you have, throw it in the market, someone may be able to use it. The iPhone, to us, is like buying a brand new 60 inch high def extremely awesome TV, but only being able to watch PBS, Fox News, and the BBC. Sure it looks nice, but we don’t want pretty, we want bad a**!
I just saw a poll that showed about 50% of users reading said they rooted their Android device. Now this was on Reddit, so no it may not be the best numbers to look at. Same with the pollsat popular Android forums, but this is the group of people I am talking about. Us people that are ready to put some time and effort into making their phone “theirs”. Rooting and Romming, hacking and modding. We are the more experienced users, and willing to find a “patch” for any shortcomings. So for us, Android is great. We can do what we want with our devices. We watch as Android grows in leaps and bounds, and we welcome all the new innovative features. For the average phone user, they really shouldn’t buy Android as they will never take full advantage of it. Android devices aren’t meant for people that just want to send texts and check the time. They are made to be used and used hard. Like a racecar strapped onto a rocket 😛 That’s when you see the benefit of Android.
I use an HTC Incredible rooted with unrEVOked Forever, running Froyo via CyanogenMod 6 RC 3, and I absolutely love it. I have full control and no company is telling me how to use my device. I do whatever I want with it. I use it every day, and I use it a lot. I’ve put the time in, and now, the possibilites are really seemingly limitless on what I can do with it. Really, some of the things Android devices can do, and can do well, make people on other platforms drop their jaw. For me, Android is definitely king, and the only OS I will use right now. So yes, if you’re looking for a cool looking new phone to play tetris on and power text, Android ain’t it. But if you want a high powered screaming fast mini supercomputer that you can customize to do just about anything, and your not afraid to get dirty and do some tinkering, welcome to Android. Once you take a high powered Android device, root it, flash some ROMs, and grab a few of the essential apps, you won’t want to go back. And it wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t say Apple is a tyrannical, draconian, overly restrictive company that enjoys telling you how to use your phone that you paid for, and releases old technology and calls it innovative and revolutionary, then buy an iPhone. For some, that will work, but for me it is unnacceptable! I really do see lots of people like the bear wanting an iPhone 4 in the “iPhone 4 vs Evo” video lol. Anyway, I’m off to discover even more new and awesome ways to use my HTC Incredible 🙂
I think your article can be applied to any product and has its merits. You do mention “importantly – (3) my phone sucks and I’m pissed, so this is my chance to vent.” Try a different phone. The first Droid and Nexus One is pure Android with no blur or sense on top. Give one of them an honest try. Much better than the issues with the Eris. Then it is comparing Motorola device versus an HTC device along with judging Android on its own.
Hilarious… All those Android loving technogeeks that used to call iPhone users “fanboys” have ousted the title for themselves. I bet they hate that.
I am not an Android fanatic. I moved to Android (Droid) from a Palm, and it was not a simple transition. Still I enjoy what Android can do. I find I am pleased 98% of the time, and mildly frustrated the rest. Still I intensively use the phone day-to-day end enjoy it tremendously. It may sometimes be rough around the edges, but it is a fun and powerful system. It’s easy to be critical, but Android continues to impress me.
I think Barry has about summed it up. However I still feel that a few more pence is required.
Ever heard of a Windows mobile fanboy? Nope? I was one though; because I realised (back in 2004) that it was the technology leader. Fast forward 6 years and I have switched to Android (maybe 3 months ago). Don’t get me wrong, there are glaring issues. Like: no installable codecs, a gmail app (which I never use and can’t uninstall) and normal mail app and a few HTC born oddities here and there.
But here’s the crunch. I believe the video problem will be solved (they are already getting TCPMP ported over using the NDK), getting rid of HTC is a root away and getting rid of the Google crapware is another ROM away (e.g. OpenMoko).
I have not heard of anything but iOS being used on iPhones, but both WinMo and Android (to a larger extent) phones have had a few alternative distros on them (i had eclair and busybox on my old WinMo phone). A few symbians also had some Linux based systems on them (that Nokia project). That is what openness is (even if we need to hack it with our HTCs).
Take it from a WinMo fanboy who ventured into the dark, it is the future. At least for the foreseeable future.
-written using my clumsy desire keyboard.
There is one simple test for Fandroids: just mention Apple.
If ten seconds later, the person is ranting about walled gardens, spittle is flying from their mouth, and they are swearing about how evil Steve Jobs is and how stupid every Apple user is, they are a Fandroid.
I know a fair number of plain Android users; they don’t really care. They might love navigation and voice search or know that the marketplace is lousy, but they just trudge on with a decent smartphone. But the Fandroids? Oh boy, do they come out and do they angry fast.
Wow, you really nailed it.
> They compare against the iPhone, all the time
This is absolutely the worst thing about Android, bar none. It’s like a roommate that gets your haircut, starts wearing your clothes, is always comparing themselves to you, and then starts saying bad things about you to other people. It’s very, very creepy.
> Yet they are selling [Android handsets] by the bucketful.
But the handset makers are not making any money, which is why they cannot improve the devices. Motorola, who made your phone, did not profit from it. They have not turned a profit since they adopted Android. Verizon is giving Motorola phones away 2-for-1.
In the mobile phone industry, here are the top 3 profit takers:
– Apple: 50%
– Nokia: 25%
– RIM: 15%
Yes, that is 90% of the profits in the entire mobile handset market going to just 3 vendors, none of whom make Android devices, and all of whom have their own unique platform. That 10% that is left over has to be divided up between Motorola, HTC, LG, Sony, and Samsung. Yes, they’re shipping a lot of devices, but for how long? LG shipped 100 million phones last quarter, but they lost $1 per phone doing it.
So who is going to fund Android devices getting better? Where is that money going to come from? Same problem you see in Android apps: high volume, low quality, nobody making any money.
I always wonder what opinions a person would form if someone had to buy a product they’d never heard of, use it for a month, and they couldn’t talk to anyone about it for that month. In isolation how would our opinions change?
Even though it’s a rant, I guess it’s nice to see someone who isn’t afraid of expressing their opinion. When I first finished reading your article I was a little annoyed and thought ‘Wow, this is quite an exaggeration… someone really needs a different phone.’ But that’s ok, b/c you definitely brought out some good points. You weren’t being totally petty and saying something like ‘Eric Schmidt needs to jump off a cliff!!! I can’t explain why but he should!!’ (or in the case of some Apple haters, “Steve Jobs sucks and should eat pooooop!!!’).
Anyway, I have an Evo. It’s my first smartphone and I’m pretty sure I found out everything good & bad about it well within the first 30 days… more like w/in the first week I had formed an opinion that hasn’t really changed. Before I bought it I had heard all the criticism of it being so huge, but my friend had an HD2 (same chassis), and that didn’t seem too big to me. I’m 5’3”, have fairly girly hands and have had no problem. It fits in my pockets & tiny purse perfectly while still giving a fantastic experience on the web, videos & GPS navigation. The size was actually a large plus for me b/c it has 4G and I’m a YouTube fanatic, so I knew it would be a better experience that any other phone at the time. Actually, if there’s one thing I could change it would be the tiny sliver of a power button on the top. But I think this is a great example of choice. They have tiny phones w/Android and behemoth phones. Each fits a different person’s needs.
As far as the OS goes, I have definitely found some drawbacks but *for me* the good things far outweigh the bad. I haven’t experienced the kind of usability issues you addressed, my guess it that it’s due to Motorola or the older Android version. I definitely think the best thing about Android is the customization. Handcent is far superior to the stock messaging; there are a lot of great media players which can fit a variety of needs.
But there are a lot of people who don’t care or want customization. They want something that works out of the box and everything is already chosen for you. Which is TOTALLY fine, I don’t blame you. It takes time, which people may not want to spend. If that’s the case, Android just might not be the best fit for you. On that note, it also takes time to figure out which Android phone you want b/c of the growing varieties. This requires looking at specs, maybe videos, going to the phone store, etc. Whereas w/most other phone OSs, it’s quite a bit simpler.
I really haven’t seen the problems in upgrading that other people have commented on. I mean if your phone is rooted, then yeah you’ll have some problems.
And I don’t know where you’re getting 2-3 hours of battery life from, I don’t know what you’re doing to your phone, lol. Maybe if you’re playing YouTube the whole time…
I have one half-objection to your comment about people talking about how the problems will be fixed in the next version. As far as I know, many problems HAVE been fixed in the newer versions. At least a lot of things that people complain about in the 1.x versions are not present on 2.x releases. *shrug* But yeah, I agree that in that aspect, Google seems to treat the OS like a stable Beta release. But I also like Beta releases, so again… different priorities. 🙂
For “Maybe if the platform included a great video delivery experience (translated: or any video experience) this would make sense.” I think it *does* include that… at least for me. I mean, if it doesn’t I guess you’ll need to define “great video delivery experience.”You mean like… you want it to come w/movies on it or something…?
“since there’s upgrades coming all the time, it’s impossible to know if the phone you buy today will do the things Android is promised to one day do.” I think people buy phones that work now, not based on future prospects…
I definitely think that different phones are good fits for different people and you should evaluate that phone for YOURSELF, not on how it compares to another phone. For instance, I read a post on a girl who designs icons occasionally & has an iPhone. Apparently the app store has very rigid guidelines on how your icon can look, that way it will be uniform to the rest of the app icons. This girl was APPALLED at the lack of uniformity of the icons in the Android marketplace. She basically thought it was a crime against humanity. That person needs an iPhone, lol. Personally, I could care less how uniform the icons are. (Though the Astrid icon is really cute♪)
And for you, it seems that Android is not a good fit. Based on your rants, you may or may not like an iPhone, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you really enjoyed Blackberry. The OS is solid and they’ve had time to really tune the UX. Especially w/the new OS that is bringing in more social networking aspects.
A comment earlier mentioned that the Android branding was pathetic b/c some people don’t even know they’re using an Android phone. Since when did a phone HAVE to be a status symbol? If they like it, it works, why does it matter whether it’s Android or not? I dunno, I kinda like that about Android b/c if gives less people a chance to be assholes and wave their phone in people’s face and be like “Ooooh look at my new expensive shiny phooone!! Aren’t you jealous!?” Some branding is good, but why do you have to make sure that everyone in the world knows what kind of phone you have? For instance, the way Apple brands makes me a little nauseous…. it’s SO obtrusive, so obvious that they’re showing it as a status symbol. You get within 50′ and the logo is staring at you from somewhere on that device.
I do think it’s a little silly that people are so obsessed w/comparing Android to the iPhone, but what do you expect when they’re just following the companies lead. (look at the Droid’s marketing campaign) Yes, they are the closest competitors, but they’re completely different animals and you should look at both in their own right. I can’t beleive how many people blindly bashed you & the iPhone in the earlier comments even though you barely brought it up.
For me, it comes down to this. I can use the tools & browse the internet just like on my computer. In addition, I can do things like take the source code for the rendering engine from the ripple background that HTC created, put in whatever background I want, install it on my phone (by enabling the ‘use non-market apps’) and not expect corporate retaliation. Sounds good to me. 🙂
Aggh… sorry for such a long comment. I ramble. -_-
P.S. My most helpful widgets are world clock, control panel & countdown timer to when I leave for Japan~~~.
I think it is hard to judge a phone based without using comparisons and it is important to be even sided when comparing. I guess I am an Android Fanboy, but I also am going to buy an iPhone4. I recommend iPhones to the people that I think would want them, and androids to the people who would want an android phone.
It sounds to me as though you are the type of person who should have bought a iphone if it was in your price range, or a standard feature phone, possibly a blackberry or palm.
I feel like users could be classified like this:
Wants the latest hardware or doesn’t want to spend much on a phone
Wants full control of their device
Wants the newest applications
Wants to install and test out various applications rather than using the built infeatures
Want to spend $x on a phone
Want a nice stable user interface
Happy with itunes
Doesn’t like to have control over various subfeatures of the phone
You obviously want the stable user interface with good default applications. You obviously don’t want to test new applications or subfeatures like adding swipe as your keyboard, rooting etc etc. I think this was a poorly conceived article written by someone who obviously has made an ill-informed decision. It would be great if people could write articles which actually have merit, nonbiased, even sided and don’t automatically insight fanboy replies.
Great article. Thank you!! I’ve been waiting to see someone write something like this – leave out the iPhone references. “Greatness is defined by what you are, not by what something else is or isn’t.” SO TRUE.
I wish it were easier to find actual reviews of smartphones (quality reviews) that don’t spend half their words comparing themselves to the others (iPhone, Blackberry, and Android ALL).
I’m happy there are several available OS options because I want to have choices. I don’t consider myself a fanboy, but an informed consumer. Or, at least, a consumer who is actively looking for more information about what’s out there. I want to be able to say “this works best for my lifestyle right now and maybe in the future something else will work better.” I’m not looking for something that does one thing better than an iPhone or an Android device or a Blackberry. I want the best overall package/experience for my situation.
“the logic to process touch events handles them after rendering new activitie”
This is because you have a slow phone. I have an HTC EVO and have never once ran into an issue like this. Breazing over your article it seems all your complaints are related to issues with your phone’s specific performance.
Android isn’t a single phone, it’s a spectrum and thats the real issue. They don’t have a minimum requirements like Windows Phone 7 will which ensures that the experience is as flawless on the bare minimum specs as it is on the super duper awesome specs (becasue the bare minimum specs are indeed super duper awesome). the Iphone has 1 piece of hardware so it doesnt ahve this issue.
Tip: get a better phone.
I love my Palm V!
Great article.. The rabid comments and fanboy abuse are the best QED you could have to sum it up.
Its really great article and i have a great time reading all the comments.
Im an android user, im not a fanboy but some of my friends call me militan.
Its pretty hard to explain about all the words coz im pretty bad shape myself w english. But one thing for sure, i really enjoy my Desire and will
Love it more and more everyday. Ive been rooting my Desire, using different kind of ROM to improve the work of my phone. Ive been using this and that apps for my daily used and got no complaints with Force Closed or what so ever…it bcome my best friend.
Other things that makes me happy that i have a bunch of friends whose hv the same interest with this Android. Even some of them is become developer and making usefull application even tough need to be fix here and there. Still…they proved something that with android…they can make their skill for ppl to used. And we all happy with the progress. 🙂
Same like some ppl comments here, the important thing is im able to control what i want with my phone…and thats a good thing. Everybody have their own personalities, so…this phone is represent who i am and what i want it to be in control in my hands.
Im happy that i got to know Android in my life.
I want to buy iPhone4 but what can i say? I cant afford it…:)
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Amazingly accurate description of Android fanboys.