When Fanboy Meets Fact – Android Community Maturity

Posted on Apr 4 2011 - 1:10pm by Kyle

It is in our nature as human beings to defend our…opinions. Whether or not our love for something has truly blinded our ability to tear it down and look at it’s gears that lie beneath it’s beauty, well, remains to be decided by one or another acclaimed Universities’ Neurological / Psychological team.  One thing is certain, though; fanboy/fangirl mentality has swept the mobile technology society, and it has done so in a way that is so disturbing, at times, that we fail to realize we can actually contribute to helping the creators and maintainers of our favorite mobile operating systems by unravelling our cynicism from their tightly wound and tangled branches and taking a deeper look at pros and cons rather than pros and “other things it does that this other platform doesn’t do”.  Sure, your mobile OS  might do some things differently, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it does everything else better.

Lets take, for instance, some of the scrutiny people receive on various forms of social networking. It almost seems like if you do not have an opinion that is 100 percent, glass completely full positive about an operating system, you will get made fun of, talked about, “flamed”, or worse – banned on some of the other less reputable forums.  By reputable I don’t mean they don’t have lots of followers and users, I mean their administration is mediocre at best.

My qualm? The fact that this seems more and more prevalent within the Android community. Such a fast growing, beautifully shaping mobile operating system is being systematically destroyed by fast-to-act overnight developers and teenagers, young adults and adults who take their fanboy mentality to the next level. Having an opinion, feeling strongly about it and going to great lengths to defend said opinion  is absolutely fine, and at times, a remarkable display of confidence and courage – it’s when you’re threatening to punch someone over a dispute about what Android lacks that disturbs some of us in the mobile media profession.

Lets face it – Android itself is a powerful FOUNDATION – and that needs to be said. All too often people confuse fundamental with complementary –  and it’s beginning to get to the point that soon consumers will be completely mislead. Fundamental: Android boasts great multitasking management, live wallpapers, google sync, a stand alone launcher, and for the most part direct social media integration. Complementary: TouchWiz, Sense UI, Moto/Ninjablur – these are user interface overlays. These are not google’s creations – they are the respective cell phone companies creations. That being said, ADW, Launcherpro, and rosie (sense) are home screen replacement/launcher replacement applications, and these work off of the fundamentals of Android. So when someone says they would rather use the Iphone style selection, because the user interface is very easy to use, that’s okay. When you buy an Iphone, you know what experience you are getting right out of the box – it never changes, and is rarely altered. On the other hand there are so many Android devices out there that one can’t really make an educated claim about the actual platform without at least trying two or more phones! Think about it.

(For Example: As a consumer, you want a powerful phone but you don’t want to download homescreen replacements and flash a bunch of ROM’s. You might think Android is terrible after you purchased your Droid X, because it’s ugly, ninjablur is sluggish, and motorola widgets are terrible. THAT is how the average person reflects the Android experience. Our community needs to remember that. They then purchase a Galaxy S phone and are blown away, but sometimes don’t even know it’s Android because the difference is so dramatic! Consider these scenarios, because they are fact, and frequent).

No need to call any person an Iphone fanboy and curse them out, children. It’s called emotional intelligence – obtain some. Sure, you can recommend before they get rid of their phone they try ADW launcher, and when they say ” It’s faster, but still doesn’t have that smooth feel and ease of use to it” don’t shun them off. Simply leave it alone. A simple ” Sorry you can’t get with android! Maybe there will be  an alternative launcher or ROM so you can continue to use the Android platform ” would suffice. Shortly after, if their phone is supported, you can recommend MIUI to them. Get where I’m going? I mean lets be honest, if it weren’t for the hundreds of themers and themes out there, and AOSP ROM’s like Cyanogen and Liberty, Android would be pretty damn ugly. I’d take the Iphone prettiness over the stock Android look any day. (Unless of course my phone is running the MattedBlues theme).

What i’m trying to say, in a nutshell, is give people a chance to voice their opinion. Yes, Android is definitely an awesome platform. So is iOS. Even Windows Phone 7 is starting to shape up nicely, and lets be honest – that user interface is damn sexy, especially if you’re a minimalist. Next time, think before you’re quick to knock someone else’s thought – it might have some serious insight behind it. We are always quick to accept our perfection, and hesitant to realize our faults. Maybe we should take a step back and look at things from every angle – because in order to move forward, we have to admit our mistakes. Android does a lot of things right, but it does a lot wrong, as well; and until our community as a whole is able to accept that and give positive and constructive negative feedback, we will not transcend to the next level.

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  • Anonymous

    Speaking of realising our faults, perhaps it’s time the Droid guy ceased spamming twitter with links to the same story 10-30 times a week, and even changing the headline of the tweet in order to get more clicks.

    It’s pretty blatant click baiting and it is very unwelcome.

    And yes, we’ve heard the argument that you started on twitter, but these days you’re a blog that also has a twitter feed. Please adjust your behaviour accordingly.

  • http://simwit.a6studios.com Andrew Chandler

    I agree. I have things I like about all of the major mobile platforms. I am interested to see where things go. I think that if you look closely, you will see that Android may someday be more like iOS and WP7 whether we all like it or not. As geeks we tend to take criticism of our favorite devices personally, and sometimes it’s difficult to take the emotion out of the comment, but give people a chance to voice their opinions, and ignore those who do not add to the discussion.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed.

  • Hughes Chad11

    I don’t speak for thedroidguy.com, so I can’t do anything about that, DeeJayD. I’m just a writer.

  • http://digg.com/users/OmegaWolf Silver Fang

    MS mobile OSes all suck. That will never change no matter how sexy they may become. Apple is too controlling over the iPhone and what apps can be loaded on their App Store.

  • http://profiles.google.com/snedwardq Paul Snedden

    I’ve been saying for a while that plain/vanilla Android is horrible – I’m an HTC Sense user, this is what it should be about. Sense is gorgeous and a pleasure to use. I’ve also dabbled with TouchWiz on the Galaxy S (I convinced a friend to buy one so I could play with it haha). Again, a great UI over the top of Android.