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No, Android doesn’t stink

May 5, 2014

The Android bashers over at TheStreet.com are at it again. This time they are claiming that Android stinks and that Apple is going to prove it when the iPhone 6 is released. This of course is quite silly, and I’ll point out why in this column.

What did Android do to TheStreet?
Given the Android-hate coming from TheStreet I have to wonder what exactly Android did to them to make them hate it so much? Sheesh. Talk about some serious fanboy blather, or maybe the writer owns Apple stock or something like that? Either way it’s tough to take TheStreet seriously when they publish stuff like this.

If you took what TheStreet is saying at face value, you’d think that Android was a dying platform with users abandoning it left and right. I can only come to the conclusion that the writer of the article is still living deep within Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field despite the fact that Jobs is no longer running Apple.

As I noted last month, Apple’s iOS is coming for Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system. If you despise Apple or are short the stock, this chart should concern you.

Without even introducing a phone with the feature that apparently keeps a considerable number of smartphone users away from Apple, iOS is gaining on Android. And this isn’t a recent phenomenon. It’s been building since 2012. What do you think will happen when Apple doesn’t just give people what they reportedly want, but does it the right way?

It’s further decline and an eventual, if not immediate drop to number two for Android.

More at TheStreet

Android Stinks

No, Android doesn’t stink but TheStreet’s fanboy blather sure does.

Image credit: TheStreet

Who speaks for Android and iPhone users?
The writer uses “social buzz” as an example of how much more people like their iPhones than their Android phones. But this is completely anecdotal. There are millions and millions of Android users out there in the world, did the author talk to all of them so that they could share their social experiences with him? No, he certainly did not so why pretend to speak for them?

The article is also unfair to iPhone users. Sure, some Apple customers can be quite passionate about Apple’s products. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. But not all of them are, some people just buy iPhones because they need a phone and they liked what the iPhone has to offer. These users don’t worship at the Temple of Apple, they just use the iPhone and otherwise don’t care much about Apple itself.

Plenty of passionate Android users
He goes on to show pictures of people lining up for the iPhone 5s launch and he uses this as an example of the devotion of Apple users. Well so what? The people forming lines outside of stores are no doubt a distinct minority of iPhone users. Does anybody really think that everybody who owns an iPhone bought it after standing in line? Most people probably bought them online or went to the Apple store after the launch drama died down.

I have no doubt that there are plenty of Android users that love their phones as well. But you’ll never hear about that because they don’t necessarily throng together when a new Android phone launches. And it’s important to note that new Android phones come to market more often than iPhones. So it’s not like there’s one big launch the way that there is with an iPhone, there are many different Android manufacturers.

You can easily find examples of passionate Android users online in many discussion forums and article threads. They love their Android phones and tablets, and they are quite vocal about expressing their feelings. Yet because they don’t line up outside of a store they are completely discounted in articles like the one published by TheStreet. It’s as if these passionate Android users don’t even exist.

Understanding why people choose Android
The writer goes on to list three reasons people buy Android phones:

You really don’t care. You just need a phone.

You can’t afford an iPhone (and/or perceive it as cost-prohibitive).

You hate Apple.

To suggest that the reasons listed above are why people buy Android phone is utterly absurd. Talk about oversimplifying something based on your own biased perceptions! I’m somewhat amazed that that’s how someone could perceive Android as a platform.

Apparently he simply never bothered to explore the idea that some people prefer Android because it offers a lot more freedom than the iPhone. Not everyone wants to live within Apple’s walled garden, nor do they want to do without memory cards or the absolute control that Android offers to its users.

Unless they go through the headache of jailbreaking, iPhone users are stuck with whatever Apple gives them. Android users can do whatever they want with their phones and I suspect that that freedom is one of the biggest reasons why people opt for Android phones instead of iPhones.

Android Silver
One thing that the writer did not mention at all was Google’s Android Silver effort. Android Silver is Google’s attempt at bringing more coherent standards to Android devices. It may end up providing a more iPhone-like experience to Android users. But of course TheStreet isn’t going to mention this because it doesn’t fit into the “Android stinks” narrative that they are pushing.

As I noted in an earlier article, I have no doubt the iPhone 6 will be a very popular phone. But it’s not going to destroy Android and Android doesn’t stink. Android and iOS devices will both remain viable choices for anyone who wants to use them.

But something definitely does stink around here, and it’s TheStreet’s mindless Android bashing.

What’s your take on this? Tell me in the comments below.


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20 Responses to No, Android doesn’t stink

  1. John P on May 8, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    What about those that went Android because Apple was originally only on AT&T? I have nothing against Apple but when I was looking for a new phone I did not want to go to AT&T I had them and left them as the service was awful. Now 4 years and several phones later I am still on Android it may be better or it may not I don’t know but I do know I have many hours of time invested in learning Android and a lot of money tied up in apps why would I throw that away to start over again?
    I don’t hate Apple I went with Android because it was the best option available at the time on Sprint.

  2. jdleblanc on May 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    The only thing that is making the mad, is that it’s not a fruit or a MS$

  3. golodh on May 7, 2014 at 7:13 am

    I’m afraid that “The Street’s” reasons for buying an Android phone are pretty much spot on. Be fair: Android is the second-best option compared to iPhone in terms of polish.

    So yes: you buy an Android phone because all the cost-effective LG’s and Samsung’s are Android phones and they all work. So if you just need a new phone … (and don’t care overmuch about polish or are budget-constrained) you buy an Android. Oh yes, and if (for whatever reason) you’ve decided you’d rather forego Apple’s walled gardens … you buy an Android.

    Contrarywise: if the price doesn’t bother you but a slick user-experience is what you seek (and you don’t mind walled gardens) … you’ll probably want an iPhone. Sounds a reasonable summary of people’s perceptions to me, right?

    Err … what’s that got to do with supposedly “hating Android”? Noting that one type of phone is preferable to another type under certain criteria is hardly evidence of bias.

    Unfortunately this is a recurring phenomenon with Linux-based software. Performance is (usually) excellent, but the user-interface (usually) lacks polish (or it downright stinks).

    • Scott on May 8, 2014 at 12:50 am

      And what you perceive as slick, others see as a joke.

      • golodh on May 9, 2014 at 10:54 am

        Maybe … maybe not. But that’s got nothing whatsoever to do with “hating Android”, does it? And exactly who are those “others”, and how many of them are there anyway?

        Turn it anywhich way you want, Apple got the design of the physical gizmo, the UI and the end-user experience right to suit the majority of end-users. The reason that Android is such a big competitor isn’t because it offers a superior user-experience.

        Android is such a strong competitor because it’s way cheaper, it works, and it’s much less of a walled garden. As accurately stated in the “Street” magazine article.

        • Scott on May 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm

          Which is a long way of saying Apple sucks at marketing their uber-awesome ideas.

  4. more choices on May 7, 2014 at 12:37 am

    Neither iOS nor Android are good enough for me. The problem is there are very few choices. I have an Android phone and Android tablets and am surprised they work at all.

    Android is basically Java. I think Java is the wrong way to do anything and makes a big mess out of any OS used. I don’t use programs that require Java on my computers. Both Sun/Oracle and Google made big mistakes with Java as far as I am concerened. The sole-source nature of Apple is also a big negative for my pocketbook. So I am now unhappy with both. There is still Chrome and Windows and a few more except I don’t really use my tablets or smart phone features anyway so will stay with my PCs and notebooks for now.

    I won’t buy another phone or tablet for a long time. Maybe there will be better choices in the future.

  5. Albin on May 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Kit Kat stinks, for crippling the microSD interface, and it it becomes the de facto standard for Android’s high end phones I’ll be looking for another OS. Bloomberg this morning interviewed a Sprint exec pushing a new “Harmon Kardon” HTC phone (around $680) that will play lossless audio and upgrade MP3 performance, relying on microSD access for enthusiast music libraries. Nobody is going to build a phone with 128gb of internal storage. Kit Kat is evil, and Google had better shape up for its replacement.

    • dragonmouth on May 6, 2014 at 11:49 pm

      “Nobody is going to build a phone with 128gb of internal storage”

      You sound like this quote attributed to Bill Gates “”640K ought to be enough for anybody””

      • Scott on May 8, 2014 at 12:45 am

        Yep. I insisted on a full megabyte of RAM in my first computer, and the salesman kept telling me I would never need that much memory. It’s too bad such lessons must be learned again and again by succeeding generations.

  6. feds on May 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    as dragonmouth pointed out he is not a tech, his bio says his field is urban studies and he worked for many years in radios so while his technical preparation is clearly poor reading at his article, he probably knows much more about social approach. So is he really an Android hater? I’d say not, he doesn’t bash Android as a professional ifan, he doesn’t leverage the actual weak points of Android, he just says it stinks while saying in the same phrase that it works and it’s good enough (no ifan would ever say something like that). I’d say he is just optimizing how to write an article to attract as much readers as possible and considering that I’m here commenting on an article about his article I guess his strategy kind of works…

  7. Josh on May 6, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Lining up to buy things is a function of shortages. In the months before my girlfriend left the Soviet Union in the 70s she spent every afternoon after school lining up to buy a roll of toilet paper because toilet paper was rationed in the Soviet Union and they didn’t have any information about the outside world so they assumed that it might not even be available in the West. Lining up for toilet paper is inconceivable for an American who just assumes that the supermatket shelves are filled with a large assortment of competing brands and that they can by any kind they like any time they like. I suggest that iPhone users are like Soviet citizens, their only choice is between the current model and the old model and they get a new release only once a year, they also aren’t aware of all of the choices that are available to free world phone users (i.e. Android users). Android users are like American toilet paper buyers, there is no need to line up because there are so many choices that are always available.

    • Ryan on June 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      iPhone is like the Soviets/Android is like toilet paper??? o_O That is by far the most clumsy and floundering analogy I have ever read on the Internets. Never mind your opening line sounding like a libertarian advertisement off the Ludwig von Mises Institute website. -_- I wonder how you’ll fit that in with the fuel rationing in the U.S. in the 70s?

  8. William Houser on May 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    The biggest problem I have is that comparing the two smartphones is often not fair. One can go to Wal-mart, and buy a $50 Android phone that will pretty much work the way a cheap phone is expected. You cannot buy a cheap iphone. You have to be careful about comparing. Go spend the kind of money on an Android phone that you would on an Iphone, then compare.

    • Scott on May 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      My wife works for Xerox in their Verizon call center in Lacey, Washington. She talks to customers all day wanting to upgrade their phones and helps them compare the iPhone 5 with the Samsung Galaxy S5. By the time she is done, most of them opt for the Samsung.

      But this is not a comparison of iOS with Android; it is a comparison of one hardware device with another and has nothing to do with the OS loaded on the phone. If you want to compare the two fairly, you must consider both the hardware and the software. The Samsung offers a bigger screen, greater resolution camera, more memory–which is expandable, and interchangeable batteries. Android offers an open app store where most useful apps are free and a variety of ways to customize how the interface functions and looks.

      But the biggest reason Android is not going away and iOS/iPhone users are in a dream world when they claim Apple will take over the world is the same as when the original Macintosh was introduced and its fans turned their noses up at MS-DOS-based computers. Mac OS only worked on Macs, and Macs were only sold by Apple. DOS computers worked on nearly everything else and were sold by everyone else. It didn’t matter that Mac OS had a superior user interface to DOS and that Apple controlled every aspect of the software and hardware. DOS and IBM clones were good enough for most people.

      The same is true of Android, and iOS doesn’t even have the advantage of a superior user interface here. Google is repeating Microsoft’s success with DOS and Windows with its Android OS. And Apple is repeating its own missteps with the Mac in its iPhone.

  9. Brent R Brian on May 6, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Android does not pay TheStreet advertising fees.

  10. Paul P on May 6, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Well I don’t care for either very much but I chose Android over Apple any time.

    For me, I don’t care about the fancy. What I want is a really open platform where privacy, user-control and security is priority. I know that Android is partly open source and I also know about CyanogenMod (which I may try eventually).

    Currently I’m hoping for FirefoxOS and I think it will get some market shares. Not so sure where TizenOS goes but it may be interesting as it’s overseen by the Linux Foundation.

  11. Brian Masinick on May 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Yet another series of notes about stuff that is barely on the radar for most people that I know. Only those of us who regularly follow tech media publications will even hear as much as a yawn about this.

    The truth today is that iOS and Android currently dominate the mobile media landscape. Only an industry altering event – and I’ve not heard any such thing recently – is likely to even dent that market, and even then, it’s likely to take a year or two – if then – to even take place. I’d estimate that even a fairly major shift is likely to take at least two years, but possibly up to five years, to seriously dent either the iOS or Android market, though at some point, if there is a serious shift, five years could result in a very different look. Right now, I do not see any such event on the immediate horizon.

    • dragonmouth on May 5, 2014 at 11:58 pm

      You and Jim are forgetting one minor, little detail. This opinion is not coming from tech press, it is coming from a Wall Street analyst. As far as Wall Street is concerned, Apple is the apple of their eye. (pun definitely intended)

  12. Brian Masinick on May 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    When stuff like this comes out, I simply look around me to the people who have phones of one type or another, consider what type of person they are and what phone they have, then I can make a better judgement.

    I have long recognized that I am not anywhere near any kind of “typical phone user” or “typical computer user”, for that matter. When it comes to phones, even not particularly technical types frequently had some kind of cell phone, and in some cases, a PDA, or personal data assistant, before I had either.

    As far as smart phone users go, I notice, based on friends I have or people I frequently see, that a slight majority of them tend to have some kind of Apple-based device, either an iPad, Nano device, or iPhone. Quite a few of the older people I know do not use a “smart phone” at all; they use a fairly small cell phone, the flip kind that can easily fit in one hand, and when closed, can even be covered by one hand. At the same time, a surprising number of people now have some kind of Android-based device. Probably half of them, at least, had no long term knowledge or previous familiarity with an Android device, either until they saw a commercial or they went to their local wireless phone store. A few of them knew both the iPhone and the Android devices and made their choices between them.

    These rough observations on my part seem to mimic the rough numbers seen in the sales charts. Right now I do not see any huge trends in any particular direction. There have been a few new models introduced that have temporary sway on market numbers; other than that, nothing earth shattering. Just as many people won’t even blink or comment when some new phone becomes available. Only a few people will indicate any interest or plans for a particular model. The rest only even mention it or make a change, either when their previous phone contract expires, their phone gets old, they need another one or a family member needs one.

    It’s only people who regularly read technology pieces that have much more than a rare comment about these matters. So except in these circles, this kind of thing does not even register as news, and it certainly does not make any difference whatsoever. The only place it matters is in advertising, media publications, and in a small minority of cases where a person is looking for something new and checks out the media news on particular devices that are available. I doubt that will have any significant impact on either Apple or Android sales in the short term. Major technology shifts are the only thing likely to create more than a blip or a change in the percentages of what is going on now. A more likely scenario will be flat sales until current equipment starts to wear out.

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