Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 16th Oct 2013 09:48 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

I think many who extol Android's flexibility fall into the tinkerer category, including some tech bloggers. They love all the ways they can customize their phones, not because they're seeking some perfect setup, but because they can swap in a new launcher every week. That's fun for them; but they've made the mistake of not understanding how their motivation differs from the rest of us.

A whopping 70%-80% of the world's smartphone owners have opted for Android over iOS. You could easily argue that 3-4 years ago, when Android was brand new, that it was for early adopters and tinkerers. To still trot out this ridiculous characterisation now that Android is on the vast majority of smartphones sold is borderline insanity.

Choice is not Android's problem. People who assume out of a misplaced arrogance that they represent the average consumer are the problem.

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It's cheap
by darknexus on Wed 16th Oct 2013 10:34 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

That's why it's been adopted so broadly. Nothing more, nothing less. Android phones, depending on the model, are some of the cheapest smart phones a person can purchase right now. The experience on such a cheap device is, as one would expect, lacking and I think in the long run this is going to hurt Android. The problem isn't so much choice as it is bad experience with many of those choices.
Warning: anecdotal and possibly US-centric situation ahead. None of my friends or family are likely to ever buy an Android phone again. This isn't because of Android itself, but the fact that they went for the cheapest phone they could get and the experience, as it would be on a cheap PC, is sub-par. A few of my family have cheap Android phones, the rest have iPhones. The only thing those with the cheap Android phones seem to notice is how many times we don't have to reboot our phone, or how reliable our navigation apps are vs Google Maps on those cheap phones. Guess what? They all say they've "learned their lesson buying cheap Android crap." It doesn't matter what I say or how I explain it, Android's reputation is mud with them. This is happening with a lot of other people I know as well. That doesn't even begin to cover the update situation, which matters far more to your average user than does a custom launcher. New features are something they understand, and they also understand that they're not getting them while other people are.
The vast majority of Android phones on the market right now suck. That's the only way to put it. The hardware is crap, and the experience and OEM bloat is downright awful.They're inexpensive and that's the only thing going for them. There are good ones of course, but unless your carrier's running a special you're not going to get them cheaper than last year's iPhone (which by the way still gets updates and works perfectly well). They're not cheaper on contract, and the high end phones like the Galaxy S4 cost as much as an iPhone anyway if you want one unsubsidized.

Reply Score: 7

RE: It's cheap
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 16th Oct 2013 10:43 UTC in reply to "It's cheap"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

That's why it's been adopted so broadly. Nothing more, nothing less. Android phones, depending on the model, are some of the cheapest smart phones a person can purchase right now.


The most popular Android phones are expensive flagships. That makes no sense.

None of my friends or family are likely to ever buy an Android phone again.


Virtually everyone I know with an Android phone has a high-end one. I've never even seen any of the low-end devices you speak of.

Then again, Samsung has a 75% market share in The Netherlands, driven almost exclusively by the Galaxy SII/III/4.

Reply Score: 11

RE[2]: It's cheap
by Nelson on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:01 UTC in reply to "RE: It's cheap"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Here in the states these cheapo phones are everywhere. Android 2.3 phones that are basically thrown at people, I wouldn't be surprised if they're included in cereal boxes.

Which by itself wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't such a terrible experience. The devices themselves are the definition of bad compromises and the OS on them is a terrible, terrible experience.

Its probably an even mix though, I see a lot of high end phones (though subsidized pricing always skews this stateside) and low end phones, and some more reasonable phones which aren't too bad.

Then of course its pretty much an iPhone fest over here too.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: It's cheap
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's cheap"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Here in the states these cheapo phones are everywhere. Android 2.3 phones that are basically thrown at people, I wouldn't be surprised if they're included in cereal boxes.


I just realised something - with 20% of the US living in - by Dutch standards - extreme poverty, the prevalence of these cheap phones in the US actually makes sense.

Reply Score: 10

RE[4]: It's cheap
by darknexus on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It's cheap"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I just realised something - with 20% of the US living in - by Dutch standards - extreme poverty, the prevalence of these cheap phones in the US actually makes sense.

Except that it doesn't. Have you seen what a smart phone plan costs over here, and how little you actually get for what you pay? The phone is, by far, the lesser of the expenses and yet people are eager to buy cheapo crap phones and yet pay for the most expensive voice and data plan they can get. You do realize that those plans, even for a single individual, can easily top US $100 per month before taxes don't you? This price can be cut considerably going with an MVNO (which is what I did), but that requires a lot more research and effort on the customers' part if you want a smart phone rather than a dumb phone.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: It's cheap
by Drumhellar on Wed 16th Oct 2013 16:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: It's cheap"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

It's not difficult at all to find a good plan that costs significantly less than $100 for service. I pay $63 (with taxes), and have far more data than I normally use, including tethering. MetroPCS is even cheaper. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all have their own cheaper pay-as-you-go brands.

Thom is quite right. The US sells a lot of $99 unsubsidized Android phones because we have a lot of poor people.

The number of people living below the poverty line in the US is nearly triple the total population of the Netherlands. The market for super-cheap Android phones is quite large over here.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: It's cheap
by Lennie on Wed 16th Oct 2013 17:27 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: It's cheap"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

What surprised me most is these numbers the first time I saw them:

http://www.fdic.gov/householdsurvey/

Which is the percentage of households who don't use a bank when dealing with money.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: It's cheap
by ricegf on Thu 17th Oct 2013 21:53 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: It's cheap"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

According to the report, about 8.2% of families in America are "unbanked" and use options such as pre-paid debit cards or cash instead, considering them more convenient, less costly, and more flexible than dealing with a bank. Non-bank transactions are also often anonymous, similar to pre-paid cell phones, often valued by the roughly 10 million undocumented workers and some libertarians who prefer to live off-grid.

As to cell plan costs, the standard single-person plan on T-Mobile (my carrier) is $50 a month for unlimited voice, text, and data when you provide your own phone. My family includes 4 smartphones with unlimited everything for $127 a month total - just over $30 each - including the endless list of taxes and fees.

Trying to figure out where the above $100+ claims originate, I tried to run an iPhone 5s single-person plan on Verizon, but it kept changing my pre-pay-for-phone order to a $40/month phone charge and $40/month plan charge for unlimited voice/text and 500 MB data, resulting in an $80/month estimated bill sans taxes and fees.

I'm suspicious that the "Americans pay more than $100 a month!" claims include financing for top of the line phones, compared to European plans that I understand typically don't. The $40-$50 per single plan and $30 per person in a family plan is still a bit higher than the 20€ quoted above - but remember we're a bit more spread out here than over there. Well, a lot more than a bit, actually. ;-)

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: It's cheap
by terrakotta on Wed 16th Oct 2013 20:04 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: It's cheap"
terrakotta Member since:
2010-04-21

You call 63$/month reasonable?

How about 20€ (27$) a month preepaid (tax included), this on the mobile operator with the best coverage of the country. So you still have got some 36$ a month you can spend on your phone. Calculate a change once in two years that makes for a whopping 864$ to spend on a phone you can choose yourself. If the phone is still fullfilling your needs you can even opt to go for a new one when it suits you best, once in three-four years.

These coupled sales are usually not good for prices because they hide the real price of a product into the price of a product which is culturally accepted to be expensive. I am glad it used to be forbidden here. Some MVNO operators now try to offer coupled options, they are not really taking off, I wonder why... maybe the rip-off is too in your face?

Downside is of course that because operators need to get money out of their network rather than out of their forced phone sales, new network technologies tend to be adopted more slowly.

On-topic.
The choice spoken of in the article counts for both android and iOS. Too many apps doing the same thing. Windows Phone is trying another approch but we can all see how well that one is going. Apparently people like having all these apps installed that drain more battery while achieving exactly the same.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: It's cheap
by darknexus on Wed 16th Oct 2013 20:23 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: It's cheap"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

How about 20€ (27$) a month preepaid (tax included), this on the mobile operator with the best coverage of the country. So you still have got some 36$ a month you can spend on your phone. Calculate a change once in two years that makes for a whopping 864$ to spend on a phone you can choose yourself.

Honest question, what do you get for those 20 euros? People do love to talk about how cheap cel phone plans are in other parts of the world and to some extent they are right, but I've also been told how amazing a 29 euro plan was that had about 200 minutes and 50 mb of data (which even our $30 plans top on some MVNOs). So what kind of plan are you referring to, and what is included with it? That's always important if you're going to bring up plan costs.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: It's cheap
by Morgan on Wed 16th Oct 2013 21:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: It's cheap"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

This pretty much exactly describes where we are at. We aren't quite poverty level if you combine our incomes, but we're certainly not "well off". I left Sprint for Straight Talk and was given an HTC One S by my best friend when he upgraded a few months ago. I pay $45/month for unlimited everything and I have a huge selection of phones at my disposal if something happens to this one.

My wife is still on Sprint, with a Kyocera Rise that was free but we pay $100/month for her line (again, unlimited everything). When her contract is up we will probably move her to the same phone on Virgin Mobile, as she is more than happy with the phone as it is.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: It's cheap
by Nelson on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It's cheap"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Major factor for sure, I guess a reasonable conclusion is that Android means different things for different people at different price points.

For some the openness is a lure, for others its the spec ware, for others its that they genuinely like the ecosystem, etc. If it commands such a large market presence then surely its popular for a variety of reasons.

Cheap is certainly one, and even if its not the most popular reason, it is certainly a sizeable one I'd bet

Edited 2013-10-16 11:35 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: It's cheap
by Lurking_Grue on Wed 16th Oct 2013 18:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's cheap"
Lurking_Grue Member since:
2013-03-15

Here in the states I see the reverse, mostly I run across flagship phones.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: It's cheap
by MyNameIsNot4Letter on Thu 17th Oct 2013 08:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It's cheap"
MyNameIsNot4Letter Member since:
2011-01-09

As a developer, looking at the stats, no one is running cheap phones. Considering my games are free, and the top phones playing the games are still top-of-the-line smartphones.

So you might think these users are cheap, but that doesn't matter. My games are free, and they still don't show up anywhere in the stats.

I think many people buying cheap phones don't really use them much as smartphones. But that could also be because they give a horrible experience.

/Uni

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: It's cheap
by ichi on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:13 UTC in reply to "RE: It's cheap"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Virtually everyone I know with an Android phone has a high-end one. I've never even seen any of the low-end devices you speak of.

Then again, Samsung has a 75% market share in The Netherlands, driven almost exclusively by the Galaxy SII/III/4.


Same over here, I guess it depends on the country.

I don't know what's Samsung's marketshare in Spain but Android as a whole accounts for over 90%.

It's weird though, considering the financial crisis and our high unemployment rate, that pretty much everyone seems to be carrying a flagship device (usually a Galaxy, and always subsidized by carriers).

If price alone was a decisive factor Nokia has some pretty cheap phones with decent advertisement for carriers' subsidized models, and yet WP's marketshare is close to cero.

Reply Score: 8

RE[3]: It's cheap
by Lennie on Wed 16th Oct 2013 17:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's cheap"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

It because it is subsidized by the carriers, people might not have a lot of money, but paying a much smaller amount every month seems possible.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: It's cheap
by ddc_ on Wed 16th Oct 2013 12:42 UTC in reply to "RE: It's cheap"
ddc_ Member since:
2006-12-05

Virtually everyone I know with an Android phone has a high-end one. I've never even seen any of the low-end devices you speak of.

I use HTC Desire S ("saga"), which is not exactly the flagship device (though not exectly low-end either). I run CyanogenMod, and I am fully satisfied. My relative (female with CS education) also uses saga, but her phone still runs stock firmware. She's also satisfied. My father switched from iPhone 3G to low-end Lenovo model, and he finds the latter superrior. (And I can barely stand Lenovo's firmware.) And I'm yet to see an Android user satisfied with iPhone after switching to it. In fact I've never seen anybody satisfied with iPhone after using Android.

User experience is individual. The fact that people I know switch to Android doesn't mean that everybody does so, as well as any others' friends exactly represent market trends.

Edited 2013-10-16 12:46 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: It's cheap
by Tony Swash on Wed 16th Oct 2013 13:20 UTC in reply to "RE: It's cheap"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

"That's why it's been adopted so broadly. Nothing more, nothing less. Android phones, depending on the model, are some of the cheapest smart phones a person can purchase right now.


The most popular Android phones are expensive flagships. That makes no sense.

None of my friends or family are likely to ever buy an Android phone again.


Virtually everyone I know with an Android phone has a high-end one. I've never even seen any of the low-end devices you speak of.

Then again, Samsung has a 75% market share in The Netherlands, driven almost exclusively by the Galaxy SII/III/4.
"


In terms of global sales the vast Asian markets are a very significant proportion of the Android market. Those sales are usually listed as 'Other' in Android sales by vendor tables. The 'Other' category is often the largest.

This is a good example:

http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/screen-shot-201...

Note that the Galaxy range only seems to account for about a half of the Samsung phone sales total.

Not many of those 'Other' phones are high end. What is happening is that low cost Android phones are replacing dumb phones. Because quite a few of those new smart phone owners are not actually seeking to upgrade to a smart phone to use it as a computing or app platform (they just want to replace an old phone, get a bigger better screen, etc) there is relatively low level platform engagement amongst many of these up-graders.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: It's cheap
by ichi on Wed 16th Oct 2013 13:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's cheap"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Not many of those 'Other' phones are high end.


I don't know, China is getting a new crop of smartphones that kinda trounce the concept of high end being expensive.

Eg. Xiaomi has been releasing phones that top those of Samsung both in performance and design for half the price off contract. According Xiaomi their latest phone sold 100k devices in 90 seconds at launch... which is not that much compared to the numbers of the big players but then it was launched only in China.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: It's cheap
by Lennie on Wed 16th Oct 2013 17:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It's cheap"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I looked it up, the press release I found said 83 seconds, so even faster. :-)

Forget I mentioned it, that might be an other model:

http://asia.cnet.com/xiaomi-sells-100000-miphone-3-units-in-83-seco...

Edited 2013-10-16 17:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: It's cheap
by unclefester on Sat 19th Oct 2013 09:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It's cheap"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

I don't know, China is getting a new crop of smartphones that kinda trounce the concept of high end being expensive.


There are some very capable Android phones for <<$200 now (dual core, 4.5" screens etc).

By mid 2015 I expect that "mid range" phones will be <$100, "high end" phones will be $150-250 and "flagship" phones will be $300-$400. By 2017-18 the most expensive Android phones will probably be ~$200*.

* A current $30 feature phone would have been considered a $1000+ flagship model a decade ago.

Edited 2013-10-19 10:05 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: It's cheap
by Deviate_X on Wed 16th Oct 2013 15:16 UTC in reply to "RE: It's cheap"
Deviate_X Member since:
2005-07-11

"That's why it's been adopted so broadly. Nothing more, nothing less. Android phones, depending on the model, are some of the cheapest smart phones a person can purchase right now.


The most popular Android phones are expensive flagships. That makes no sense.

....

Then again, Samsung has a 75% market share in The Netherlands, driven almost exclusively by the Galaxy SII/III/4.
"


Here's some data from appbrain on the subject, i could not tell you which phones are bad or good. But you can see that the S4 is just 8% of the entire Android market. Other flagship Android phones (HTC One) aren't even appearing list.

http://www.appbrain.com/stats/top-android-phones

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: It's cheap
by arcterex on Wed 16th Oct 2013 18:51 UTC in reply to "RE: It's cheap"
arcterex Member since:
2007-08-14

Just because the people *you* know use high end androids doesn't mean anything (no offense). From what I understand from talking to my android using (and advocating) friends about fragmentation of the OS versions (something like 30% of android is still on 2.2 IIRC), the reason for this is tons of cheap phones sold in india/china/etc that are as close to feature phones as you can get. In north america I think we have a far different view of iOS vs Android and what our friends and family uses.

On one hand the "Fandroids" will boast that they have bigger numbers, 70% of the market, a bazillion activations a day, etc.

On the other hand when you bring up OS fragmentation, they (and in this case I am meaning my two raving android fanboy friends), they handwave away the 30% running an ancient OS because those are just throwaway phones who's owners would never buy apps anyway.

FYI the original discussion was about OS fragmentation and the burden it gives developers of android apps vs ios apps where the adoption rate of new OSs is very fast and the distribution of iOS versions in the market is MUCH more skewed to newer versions, and therefor it's easier for iOS developers to use the new shiny APIs to do interesting things.

Just a thought.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: It's cheap
by WereCatf on Wed 16th Oct 2013 19:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's cheap"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Just because the people *you* know use high end androids doesn't mean anything (no offense).


From what I understand from talking to my android using (and advocating) friends


You do realize that you're dismissing his anecdotal evidence and then you just go on and offer your own anecdotal evidence instead?

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: It's cheap
by fabrica64 on Sun 20th Oct 2013 02:55 UTC in reply to "RE: It's cheap"
fabrica64 Member since:
2013-09-19

Thom
"People who assume out of a misplaced arrogance that they represent the average consumer are the problem."
Seems you are talking about yourself...
Outside US and Europe (and even in US and Europe) people choose Android mostly because it's on cheap smartphones
The fact your friends are all using top Android smartphone is just, as you said, "misplaced arrogance"

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: It's cheap
by bassbeast on Sun 20th Oct 2013 12:38 UTC in reply to "RE: It's cheap"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Sorry but the other guy is right which is why the latest charts still have Gingerbread holding at 1/3 of the install base,its because GB will run fast on weaker hardware.

Hell I'll be the first to admit that even though I've been on Windows since the early 90s I went Android and it came down to cost. I tend to be hard on phones and when my contract expired I wanted something that wouldn't make me bummed if I broke it and one of the prepaid carriers here in the states had Android GB phones at just $25 a pop without any contracts to deal with. The bitch for Google is these GB phones? Are actually quite nice to use, the phone is responsive, pages load quickly and comparing it to the Galaxy III a friend has mine seem to load apps and pages quicker than hers.

At the end of the day price will be the deciding factor for a LOT of folks and when you can get dual core Android phones for less than $100 here without contract? Well its really not a hard choice to make.

Reply Score: 2

RE: It's cheap
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 16th Oct 2013 15:33 UTC in reply to "It's cheap"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

While there are some android phones that are crappy, I don't think that will make that much of a difference long term. You can get iphones for just as cheap, yet people still choose the androids. I just checked att's website: 99 cents for a iphone 4s on contract. There isn't a cheaper android option.

Reply Score: 4

RE: It's cheap
by WorknMan on Wed 16th Oct 2013 16:42 UTC in reply to "It's cheap"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

The only thing those with the cheap Android phones seem to notice is how many times we don't have to reboot our phone, or how reliable our navigation apps are vs Google Maps on those cheap phones.


It's funny you mention that. I've had an iPhone 5s since Friday (got it for work) and have already had it randomly reboot on me once, plus I had to manually reboot it because of an app store crash (just opened to a white screen).

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Wed 16th Oct 2013 10:45 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

Android phones are open and tinkerable and it enjoys large sales, but that's in spite of the openness not because of it. Retail push and cost is why they sell. Consumers do not buy things, consumers are sold things.

The only strength the openness really provides is the flexibility for OEMs and carriers to differentiate their lineups, at the cost of user experience generally.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Nelson
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:09 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Is there actually any proof of this? A phone is expensive, usually accompanied by a long-term contractual commitment - I have never seen anyone just buy whatever a phone sales clerk shoves in their face.

It might be that this is normal in the US - where people generally have little choice regarding carrier and such - but in large parts of Europe, people are free to mix and match phones and carriers, and lo and behold, in the area with more choice (Europe) Android is actually way, way more popular than in the place with less choice (the US).

This indicates to me that the more freedom consumers have to choose the phone/carrier they want, the more likely they are to pick Android.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Jbso on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Jbso Member since:
2013-01-05

I think most people, unlike tech writers, don't care about openness per se, which is why people often say no one cares if Android is more open - that's not how most people would phrase it. People care about specific benefits of openness, but it may be a different thing for each person - some want removeable batteries, some want microSDs, some giant screens, some want a stylus, etc. If you pick out any one feature, you can say it's niche and hardly anyone cares about, but altogether they make a big market.

Apple, on the other hand, is targeted at the largest single slice of the market, but ultimately, that's a minority (albeit a very profitable one).

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

I agree here. Carriers are an important facet, even if other channels are emphasized abroad. Its really the same deal on the whole.

But ill admit cost is probably not THE reason Android is popular, but it is certainly a contributing factor.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by cdude on Thu 17th Oct 2013 13:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

http://www.uswitch.com/mobiles/news/2013/05/ios_could_offer_android...

The central part in that is the "bad experience". Problem is that using that as argument to block means you also prevent better experience then stock. As if stock is already optimal what it isn't. Neither on Android or iOS. There are always ways to improve whats why new versions come out all the time. And its not only tech writers upgrading to the new versions as soon as possible.

Someone could argue that the demand to faster adapt new iOS versions vs Android is also partly cause with iOS you depend on that to improve stock whereas with Android you can upgrade, change, extend without upgrading your whole OS. With that point of view its just now, with all the hardly needed performance improvements in JB, that there is a real argument to switch from Android 2.x to 4.x.

At least for me the performance and stability improvements are by far the biggest reason to go with latest JB. Without them I would not see why its needed.

Edited 2013-10-17 13:16 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by darknexus on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Is there actually any proof of this? A phone is expensive, usually accompanied by a long-term contractual commitment - I have never seen anyone just buy whatever a phone sales clerk shoves in their face.

Thom, if you want proof of this, visit the US again go to any major carriers' store and stay there for a few hours. You'll have all the proof you'll ever need. I'd advise only doing this if you're bored though, as there are far more entertaining things to do here than watch the worst of our consumer culture in action. ;)
It might be that this is normal in the US - where people generally have little choice regarding carrier and such

True, we've only four major networks (two CDMA and two GSM) but we have more MVNOs than you might imagine and their rates are generally good. The problem is, to find the right one you have to do a crap load of research. Most of them don't have stores (though a few have kiosks in malls or department stores), so you first have to know they exist and then have to read their terms of service. This second bit is more important than you might imagine, as we've several MVNOs here that have absolutely crazy terms that will, for example, allow them to immediately terminate your account without recourse if you do anything other than browse the web through their "portal." Basically what you need to do here if you want good phone service at a decent rate is:
* Do not live in a rural area
* Check the coverage maps for the four major networks to see what your best MVNO options will be
* Hope it's one of the two GSM carriers so your phone choices will be more broad
* Research what MVNOs use the network you've chosen
* Dig into each MVNO's rate plans and, can't be stressed enough, terms of service (usually a completely online process)
* Decide which phone you want if you don't want to, or can't, use the one you have and purchase it unsubsidized (did I mention locking is still practiced here?)
* Place your order with your given MVNO
* wait for your sim card (if applicable) to be shipped to you
* activate it
* Finally, use your new phone.
You can get a huge value for your money increase if you do this but it can be a tiring process with more initial cost. Also, note that even if you choose an MVNO that uses the same network as the carrier your phone is locked to, you will still either have to get your phone unlocked or else get a new phone as the SIM branding will not match. You can't take your AT&T-locked Galaxy S4, for example, and put in a BlackWireless sim card even though BlackWireless runs on AT&T's network.

- but in large parts of Europe, people are free to mix and match phones and carriers, and lo and behold, in the area with more choice (Europe) Android is actually way, way more popular than in the place with less choice (the US).

This one we can blame on Apple's refusal to understand international markets. I'd like to see what would happen if Apple ever straightened out their international pricing. It's not so much that we don't have choice but that the iPhone is not prohibitively expensive here as it is in Europe. The 16 gB iPhone 5S and a Galaxy S4, in the states, cost the same if you want to buy one unsubsidized at $649 US, so it makes the playing field a little more equal if someone wants a high-end phone.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by getaceres on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
getaceres Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't know where you live but in Spain, for most of the people I know, the process is this:

1. I want a new phone
2. I change carrier so they offer me cheap smartphones
3. I want it free/at most this much
4. Carrier offers at most 2 or 3 different choices for the price (and with an engagement of 2 years but most people only look at the price of the phone). Most of the times, a mid range from Samsung, Sony and probably HTC or LG.
5. User chooses Samsung because they know the brand or ask geek friend for choice.
6. User chooses phone and complains that it's slow/freezes/works like crap. Blame Android.

On the other side we have:

1. I want the new iPhone
2. I change carrier to get a discount
3. I don't mind paying 200€ plus a 50€/month contract for two years or 0€ plus a 80€/month contract.
4. I got a new iPhone for free, bitches!.

Only geeks consider phone choices on the high end zone, for the rest is just the "I want a cheap phone" or "I want the last iPhone" choice.

Edited 2013-10-16 11:57 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by ichi on Wed 16th Oct 2013 12:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

I don't know where you live but in Spain, for most of the people I know, the process is this:

1. I want a new phone
2. I change carrier so they offer me cheap smartphones
3. I want it free/at most this much
4. Carrier offers at most 2 or 3 different choices for the price (and with an engagement of 2 years but most people only look at the price of the phone). Most of the times, a mid range from Samsung, Sony and probably HTC or LG.
5. User chooses Samsung because they know the brand or ask geek friend for choice.
6. User chooses phone and complains that it's slow/freezes/works like crap. Blame Android.

On the other side we have:

1. I want the new iPhone
2. I change carrier to get a discount
3. I don't mind paying 200€ plus a 50€/month contract for two years or 0€ plus a 80€/month contract.
4. I got a new iPhone for free, bitches!.

Only geeks consider phone choices on the high end zone, for the rest is just the "I want a cheap phone" or "I want the last iPhone" choice.


Actually rather than changing carrier what most people do is feinting. Depending on what other carrier you were feinting the change to your current carrier would call you offering either a new phone or a better contract.

Carriers' policies have been changing recently so that doesn't always work now, but you still can easily get a Galaxy S4 for 0€ with a 45€/month contract or an iPhone5 for 0€ with a 48€/month contract by actually changing your carrier.

There's a culture here of buying now what you might or might not be able to pay later, so it's easy to see how most people would go for flagships with a 0€ upfront price.

Edited 2013-10-16 12:41 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by tkeith on Wed 16th Oct 2013 13:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Is there actually any proof of this? A phone is expensive, usually accompanied by a long-term contractual commitment - I have never seen anyone just buy whatever a phone sales clerk shoves in their face.

It might be that this is normal in the US - where people generally have little choice regarding carrier and such - but in large parts of Europe, people are free to mix and match phones and carriers, and lo and behold, in the area with more choice (Europe) Android is actually way, way more popular than in the place with less choice (the US).

This indicates to me that the more freedom consumers have to choose the phone/carrier they want, the more likely they are to pick Android.


Anecdotaly yes, that's pretty common in America. Maybe not 100% the salesperson, advertising has a big effect. People want a strong brand, something their friends will recognize so they can show off. Samsung gets this, HTC does not.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by olejon on Wed 16th Oct 2013 20:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
olejon Member since:
2012-08-12

As a Norwegian, I have really never understood the close connection between carrier and cell phone in many countries. How have the carriers been able to manipulate the people to think that they must buy their phone subsidized? People don't buy other products in the same price range subsidized. Do they buy their TV from their cable company subsidized? No. Do they buy their toaster subsidized from their electric company? No.

Here in Norway you can always choose to buy the phone for the full price, and even if you choose a subsidized one, you can always change carrier (you must of course pay what you owe). I have never bought a subsidized phone. No carrier bloat on my phone, can insert whatever sim card I want, for example when living abroad, can change contract/carrier whenever I want, etc. Disabling tethering as some carriers do in other countries is unheard of.

When living in Spain I was suprised, that I mostly saw flagship Android phones, considering the economic crisis, as mentioned by someone earlier in this thread. Here in Norway almost all Android phones I see are flagships.

Rise up against your carriers, and reduce them to the dumb data pipes they are. There's no reason they should own your hardware and manipulate your software.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by mkone on Wed 16th Oct 2013 23:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

As a Norwegian, I have really never understood the close connection between carrier and cell phone in many countries. How have the carriers been able to manipulate the people to think that they must buy their phone subsidized? People don't buy other products in the same price range subsidized. Do they buy their TV from their cable company subsidized? No. Do they buy their toaster subsidized from their electric company? No.


It's simple really.

Carriers can provide interest free loans to buy a phone. And there really isn't any economic benefit to getting your cellular service separately. You won't get the cellular service cheaper. Perversely, because you are more likely to jump between carriers, you are worth less as a customer, so they charge you more.

I recently lost a phone (an iPhone) and when I was looking into getting one on contract vs buying one direct from Apple, I realised that:
- A provider was willing to effectively sell the phone to me at the same price as Apple, and
- They are willing to give me lower tariffs than they would if I got a sim only contract.

I think the reasoning is actually quite simple - when you get from a mobile service provider, they get a profit from selling you the phone, and some profit from providing you the service.

Buy your phone separately, and the second tends to be higher.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by woegjiub on Thu 17th Oct 2013 00:53 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

Australia is somewhere between the two in terms of possibilities, but people still flock to the carriers.

I can get 1GB data with unlimited SMS and 500 minutes of calls from my ISP for $20AUD/Mo, as an optus reseller.

There are other optus resellers who offer plans just as cheaply, but people still seem to flock to the major carriers.
The same plan on Telstra or Optus costs 3 times as much, but add $10 for handset repayments and insurance, and people pick it over dropping $100-500 on an uninsured fragile device.

Then, you get the (large numbers of) people who are still using prepaid for some inexplicable reason. I honestly get people buying $10 of credit multiple times within the same month at work, when a $10/$20 plan would give them $200 worth of prepaid value.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by darknexus on Thu 17th Oct 2013 01:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

It's simple really.

Carriers can provide interest free loans to buy a phone. And there really isn't any economic benefit to getting your cellular service separately.

Actually, there is but you have to shop around for a good MVNO as I've described above. I pay far less now than I did on contract with a major carrier, and far less than I would now if I wanted to go back to a contract. Granted it's still far more than what some European countries' residents will pay for an even better plan, but it's a good rate for the states. Funnily enough, my MVNO service is far more reliable than my contracted service ever was, even though they both run off the same major network and my contract was with said major network directly.
There is one other thing to consider where the US is concerned. We have two major GSM networks and two major CDMA networks. Our CDMA uses internal sims, and the carriers can pretty much dictate that market since most manufacturers won't sell unlocked CDMA devices in this market as it's not worth it. Now, to the GSM situation: AT&T and T-Mobile, our two GSM-based networks, do not use the same WCDMA frequencies for HSPA+, though they do share some LTE frequencies. T-Mobile follows the European standard frequencies while AT&T does not. Not all phones sold are equipped to handle all frequencies, so people will go to the carrier because if they buy the phone from the carrier it will be guaranteed to work properly. Note that all GSM phones will work for voice calls and 2g/edge on both networks, just not necessarily 3g or LTE. Not really a problem for most parts of Europe.
edit: Provide clarification.

Edited 2013-10-17 01:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by oskeladden on Thu 17th Oct 2013 09:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
oskeladden Member since:
2009-08-05

As a Norwegian, I have really never understood the close connection between carrier and cell phone in many countries. How have the carriers been able to manipulate the people to think that they must buy their phone subsidized? People don't buy other products in the same price range subsidized. Do they buy their TV from their cable company subsidized? No. Do they buy their toaster subsidized from their electric company? No.


That's because Norwegians are very rich, even by European standards. In the bit of Northern England where I currently live, people would leap at the chance of buying a fridge subsidised by their electric company, if such deals were available. The fact that carriers give you, in effect, a loan at a very low rate of interest to buy a phone makes high-quality phones available to people who'd otherwise not have been able to afford anything more sophisticated than a Nokia 100.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by Alfman on Thu 17th Oct 2013 13:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

oskeladden,

"That's because Norwegians are very rich, even by European standards. In the bit of Northern England where I currently live, people would leap at the chance of buying a fridge subsidised by their electric company, if such deals were available."

Don't your appliance vendors offer installment plans?

Bundling appliances to service providers is a terrible idea IMHO. Think about what it would mean to buy appliances under contract for a moment: your family wants one fridge, but your utilities company wants to sell you another. Also, the subsidies cannot be free, everyone will pay for them under the guise of higher electricity rates.

In the US this has always been the status quo for mobiles, but consider if they were separated we wouldn't have any nonsense with carrier locked phones nor proprietary vendor modifications, etc. You'd be able to get whatever phone you wanted with whatever plan you wanted, which isn't always possible under a subsidized phone plan. On top of all this phone service would likely be much cheaper since the carriers would be competing on service alone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by olejon on Thu 17th Oct 2013 16:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
olejon Member since:
2012-08-12

You do have a point. I do however question if people should buy products in this price range if they can't afford to pay the full price. Houses and cars on the other hand... People buy tablets and laptops that are not subsidized, and I never see anyone complaining about not being able to lock themselves to a carrier to get the device cheaper.

As I mentioned, when living in Spain, I saw many flagships, and most of those come with a 2 year contract (not even legal in Norway AFAIK). In a country in crisis (it's not the only one, and more will come), I wonder how many end up not being able to pay it. But smartphones have a high priority these days, so many people probably end up selling their laptop instead.

Here in Norway you almost always end up paying more in total if you buy it subsidized.

And imagine tech sites without all that Verizon bla bla bla, AT&T bla bla bla, my plan, my contract, my family plan bla bla bla, etc ;-) So many discussions end up like that, just take a look at this one. And then there's of course the endless complaining about carriers not updating their devices.

Edited 2013-10-17 16:28 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Wed 16th Oct 2013 22:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Is there actually any proof of this?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Nelson
by dsmogor on Wed 16th Oct 2013 19:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Openness also allows to fix OEM / Google misshaps to a large extent. Popularity of launchers, keyboards and SMS tools among play ranks is testament to that.
Fixability is spartphone defining quality that both IOS and WP fail to live up to.
It give users sense of reasurement upon their investment.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by bbap
by Bringbackanonposting on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:35 UTC
Bringbackanonposting
Member since:
2005-11-16

That article must appeal to someone.
As an android user I disagree with most of it's points. I use android and KDE for their flexibility, however, I don't change many default settings or continuously tinker. I like to have the ability to fix something that bothers me. This is why osx and iOS fails me. Use whatever you like. I care little. I like choice.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by bbap
by dvhh on Wed 16th Oct 2013 12:58 UTC in reply to "Comment by bbap"
dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20

I still think that this kind of article are click bait,
Of course Android users would mostly disagree that choice is an issue and iPhone user would insist that a well streamlined user experience is what matters most. And both side would be right.
But it seems to me that these arguments are more for justifying their purchase than advising future buyers.
In my point of view the argument for phones/tablet (mostly iOS vs ) sound like debating which is best between Burger King and Mac Donald.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by bbap
by darknexus on Wed 16th Oct 2013 13:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by bbap"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

In my point of view the argument for phones/tablet (mostly iOS vs ) sound like debating which is best between Burger King and Mac Donald.

Neither. Jack In The Box ftw, if you really must go for fast food.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by bbap
by l3v1 on Wed 16th Oct 2013 15:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by bbap"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

In-N-Out.

BTW, talking about burger chains would make much more sense than about how some people think choice is a problem ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by bbap
by dukes on Wed 16th Oct 2013 16:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by bbap"
dukes Member since:
2005-07-06

I still think that this kind of article are click bait,
Of course Android users would mostly disagree that choice is an issue and iPhone user would insist that a well streamlined user experience is what matters most. And both side would be right.
But it seems to me that these arguments are more for justifying their purchase than advising future buyers.
In my point of view the argument for phones/tablet (mostly iOS vs ) sound like debating which is best between Burger King and Mac Donald.


I agree, it is click bait. I would say that a problem with Android isn't "choice". It's too much choice. There is a TED.com article on this which hits the nail on the head.

http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice.ht...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by bbap
by WereCatf on Wed 16th Oct 2013 17:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by bbap"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I would say that a problem with Android isn't "choice". It's too much choice.


I don't quite get this claim. It's no different from TVs, cars, bikes, computers and so on, they all have a bajillion different choices and yet only Android-phones are singled out. Why is it "too much" of choice when it comes to cellphones, but nowhere else? I certainly have never heard anyone complain about there being too many phones to choose from, they just go for whichever looks the most appealing to them.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Comment by bbap
by darknexus on Wed 16th Oct 2013 20:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by bbap"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I don't quite get this claim. It's no different from TVs, cars, bikes, computers and so on, they all have a bajillion different choices and yet only Android-phones are singled out. Why is it "too much" of choice when it comes to cellphones, but nowhere else? I certainly have never heard anyone complain about there being too many phones to choose from, they just go for whichever looks the most appealing to them.

And here come the inevitably flawed car analogies. Here's the essential difference: cars and/or bikes all have to conform to a baseline standard. The steering wheel turns the wheels, This is the throttle and this the breaks, the throttle increases the flow of gas and the breaks stop the wheels, etc. This is why car analogies don't work for technology. There are no such baselines by which we can compare one phone, for example to another phone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by bbap
by WereCatf on Wed 16th Oct 2013 20:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by bbap"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

And here come the inevitably flawed car analogies. Here's the essential difference: cars and/or bikes all have to conform to a baseline standard. The steering wheel turns the wheels, This is the throttle and this the breaks, the throttle increases the flow of gas and the breaks stop the wheels, etc. This is why car analogies don't work for technology. There are no such baselines by which we can compare one phone, for example to another phone.


Actually, I still don't see the difference. There is a baseline standard to phones, too: you need to be able to make and receive phone-calls and do messaging.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Comment by bbap
by jared_wilkes on Wed 16th Oct 2013 22:31 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by bbap"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

I wouldn't describe either of those as myy primary needs from a smartphone.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by bbap
by Nelson on Wed 16th Oct 2013 21:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by bbap"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

I think it boils down to an expectation. People expect their mobile devices to behave a certain way. Predictable performance, good user experience, good battery life (well..).

You compromise on those expectations a bit with too much openness. There are no rigid hardware guidelines so the quality of applications suffer as a result. There are phones loaded to the brim with carrier shitware so the experience suffers. OEMs get to drag their feet on updates so security suffers and the investment the consumer made is wasted.

Its arguable how much of an impact those have on the purchasing decisions vs how much of a difference the lack of friction in the channel makes. Google makes Android easy to sell, but not necessarily universally enjoyable to use.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by bbap
by dukes on Wed 16th Oct 2013 22:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by bbap"
dukes Member since:
2005-07-06

"I would say that a problem with Android isn't "choice". It's too much choice.


I don't quite get this claim. It's no different from TVs, cars, bikes, computers and so on, they all have a bajillion different choices and yet only Android-phones are singled out. Why is it "too much" of choice when it comes to cellphones, but nowhere else? I certainly have never heard anyone complain about there being too many phones to choose from, they just go for whichever looks the most appealing to them.
"

My comment wasn't just about cellphones. It deals with everything. I even provided a link. Guess you didn't see it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by bbap
by dvhh on Thu 17th Oct 2013 02:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by bbap"
dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20
RE[2]: Comment by bbap
by cdude on Thu 17th Oct 2013 13:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by bbap"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21


Android users would mostly disagree that choice is an issue and iPhone user would insist that a well streamlined user experience is what matters most. And both side would be right.

Because both points are not mutually exclusive. A good streamlined user experience doesn't mean you need to prevent choice and choice doesn't mean you need to ship bad defaults. Once users switch defaults the results are received better by them or they switch back.

In other words: That touchwiz is such a mess isn't because of choice or Android, its because of Samsung. But that does not matter cause you have the choice to replace touchwiz :-)

Edited 2013-10-17 13:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Wed 16th Oct 2013 14:43 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

Choice is not Android's problem.

Actually choice is a problem related to Android. The main issue now is that it's becoming "Windows" on mobile, sort of Windows of the 90s. I.e. most hardware manufacturers don't bother to release drivers for anything except Android. This creates a lot of problems for other systems, which otherwise could be a choice. Open drivers help to solve this, but the ARM world is really messed up in this regard.

Edited 2013-10-16 14:47 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by shmerl
by darknexus on Wed 16th Oct 2013 15:11 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Actually choice is a problem related to Android. The main issue now is that it's becoming "Windows" on mobile, sort of Windows of the 90s. I.e. most hardware manufacturers don't bother to release drivers for anything except Android. This creates a lot of problems for other systems, which otherwise could be a choice. Open drivers help to solve this, but the ARM world is really messed up in this regard.

Interesting. I'd not thought of it in those terms, but you've got a good point there. It's becoming the Windows of ARM in more ways than user experience.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by shmerl
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 16th Oct 2013 15:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I believe other linux based systems have options to deal with the driver situation. Ubuntu will be able to work with them, as will Mer/sailfish. Open drivers would still be better, but at least there is a work around until things like Freedreno/Lima become viable.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Wed 16th Oct 2013 20:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Yes, libhybris can help meanwhile. I was talking about the general situation. It's still just a workaround, and not a way things should be.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by shmerl
by dsmogor on Wed 16th Oct 2013 20:01 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Instead of whining other mobile linuces should step in to adopt Android driver model. Drivers for non-commodity HW will never be open to slow down copy cat competitors rev engineering efforts.

Edited 2013-10-16 20:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Wed 16th Oct 2013 20:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

You can't adopt "Android driver model". Kernel drivers aren't a problem, since it's Linux kernel. But some drivers use userspace blobs, most commonly the GPU one. That directly depends on libc, and Android's bionic is not compatible with glibc. That was the sole reason for creating libhybris library. But that's not a real solution, just a method to work around the problem.

Drivers for non-commodity HW will never be open


That's questionable. Reverse engineered drivers start to emerge (like Freedreno). So, the situation can improve.

Edited 2013-10-16 20:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by shmerl
by dsmogor on Thu 17th Oct 2013 06:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by shmerl"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

These are technical problems that are fixable.
If glibc is not compatible it can be made compatible or replaced.
As simle (hard) as that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 17th Oct 2013 06:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

No, it can't be made compatible so easily, because bionic is limited in comparison (it's missing features). If bionic will add them, they can be more compatible in theory, but they weren't interested as far as I know.

Reply Score: 1

The problem with Android is choice
by l3v1 on Wed 16th Oct 2013 15:02 UTC
l3v1
Member since:
2005-07-06

The problem with Android is choice


And the problem with idiots is that they are idiots.

I don't know what more to say to that.

Reply Score: 4

Choice is good, but no Gingerbread please
by rklrkl on Wed 16th Oct 2013 18:32 UTC
rklrkl
Member since:
2005-07-06

Choice is *always* good (but it's important that the "defaults" are good too of course), so anyone claiming otherwise immediately loses major points in any discussion.

Yes, there are low-end Android phones that are selling in droves out there and as time goes on, the specs on those are increasing to the point where the experience of a cheap Android phone isn't too bad.

However, I'm quite disgusted that Samsung are actually still selling their "Galaxy Mini" phone (the S5570, not the Mini 3 or 4) - it's a very poor device that has a small/lores screen, 600Mhz CPU, 384MB RAM, is quite sluggish (scrolling text is particularly horrible) and perhaps worst of all, is still shipping with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). A very bad Android experience indeed.

I got one free as part of the cashback for a Chromebook I bought and I sold it on immediately for 20 pounds ($30) because it was so poor. Stop selling this awful phone Samsung!

Edited 2013-10-16 18:32 UTC

Reply Score: 3

ddc_ Member since:
2006-12-05

Choice is *always* good (but it's important that the "defaults" are good too of course), so anyone claiming otherwise immediately loses major points in any discussion.

You are simplifying. Choice is good for the person who is supposed to choose; this article discusses choice as the problem for Android - the impersonation of entity providing choice.

Reply Score: 1

Pot meet kettle
by jared_wilkes on Wed 16th Oct 2013 18:35 UTC
jared_wilkes
Member since:
2011-04-25

A whopping 70%-80% of the world's smartphone owners have opted for Android over iOS. You could easily argue that 3-4 years ago, when Android was brand new, that it was for early adopters and tinkerers.


The article doesn't claim that Android remains the exclusive province of geeks and tinkerers. He's quite clearly saying that the features that the minority clamor for are impairing the experience for the unwashed masses.

Also... there you go trying to make a point using some arbitrary numbers again.

To still trot out this ridiculous characterisation now that Android is on the vast majority of smartphones sold is borderline insanity.


It appears that you've misunderstood him in a ricidulous fashion and are now making ridiculous assertions about his.

People who assume out of a misplaced arrogance that they represent the average consumer are the problem.


Yes. Yes, you are, Thom. I mean... yes, yes, they are, THom.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Pot meet kettle
by ze_jerkface on Thu 17th Oct 2013 02:19 UTC in reply to "Pot meet kettle"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22


The article doesn't claim that Android remains the exclusive province of geeks and tinkerers. He's quite clearly saying that the features that the minority clamor for are impairing the experience for the unwashed masses.


I don't think he makes a cohesive argument. First he laments the wide hardware selection and then talks about fragmentation and software development. Yes Android OS fragmentation sucks for software developers but hardware selection and API consistency are not mutually exclusive. The PC hardware market is a good example of this. Yes it would have been nice if Google didn't churn the API so much or forced more standards on carriers but that was their choice and their market is now large enough to where developers simply have to deal with it. Google went with a strategy of "first competitor to the iPhone even if half-assed" and thanks to the AT&T sweetheart deal they were able to build a market. Anyways the API churn has slowed and if developers don't like the situation then they can always go iPhone exclusive as many still do.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Pot meet kettle
by jared_wilkes on Thu 17th Oct 2013 09:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Pot meet kettle"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Nothing you said is inconsistent with the article. You seem to be merely restating what he identifies as problems but saying because Google accepts that and people have to live with it it's a good thing instead of a bad thing.

Reply Score: 2

The drip and the flooding...
by Headache on Wed 16th Oct 2013 21:09 UTC
Headache
Member since:
2013-10-16

Those who felt on their skin Android, since Eclair, Froyo e.t.c and the nearly experimental devices with a lot of buggy behavior and lags. Those who bricked their phone testing new possibilities or trying to match the "other" side, knew the truth already. Android wasn't a wildcard from the beginning, as iOS was for Apple.
User interface was bad, most times out of the box, fewer after 1 month of heavy duty.
Google took the path of flooding the market, rather than drip and customize "her" audience. Some devices were good, most of them poorly supported, usually the very next model stopped the updating of the last one (except if you were brave to mod it). This strategy actually was dictated from the fact that Google came 2nd to match not an opponent but the ULTIMATE LEADER with proven results.So loaded as much "guns" as possible "took advantage" of the linux community who knew how to play "this" game and little by little Android matured. How much or not is to be discussed, but from my point of view , even the last 2.3.6 devices are standing well for everyday use in most cases.---My present phone is 4core LG Optimus G , I have it for 3 months now and I don't have any need to mod it to do the tasks I need it to do. (Ok I am getting older and I am bored maybe)The OS is stable, some apps behaved odd, but I never managed to "freeze" it even on purpose. Notice that I am an experience user (not a developer) but I know how to overload it. So now I can't find that BIG gap between the 2 different approaches (iOS, Android) - If you ask me if I ever had an i-phone- I have a friend who does and we testing together. The old days with my HTC Magic I usually could do (80%) what he could 3 times slower and most of the times with a lot of confusion. Now I don't feel I am missing something ,except from slick and smooth, minimal iOS. Also price is an issue, and for people like me in Greece it will be the 1st for years to come.Regarding the Title , beauty has to do with choice.

The average consumer must know that he can diversify,
at least as long as Consumer decides and not Google
But choices must be taken on the Vendor's table, and not on the consumers' back. Google must hear the market and put rules on vendors, regarding quality of the service.

Reply Score: 2

It's all about Choice
by Lorin on Wed 16th Oct 2013 22:13 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

The endless choices are what Android far superior to anything else, those like the author of that article choose to characterize it as a flaw. Well, those fanboys of the other unnamed platform from the Bay area are limited and can only handle a smartphone that decides everything for you.

Reply Score: 2

RE: It's all about Choice
by jared_wilkes on Wed 16th Oct 2013 22:28 UTC in reply to "It's all about Choice"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

You do understand that this is written by an Android developer of an app that is Android exclusive (at least for now) and that he switched from iPhone to Android in March of this year, don't you? No, of course not, why let reading get in your way.

Reply Score: 4

ze_jerkface
Member since:
2012-06-22

If Android outsells the iPhone on price, then why is the S4 a top seller?

The answer is in the AT&T sweetheart deal. Millions of Americans on Verizon, Sprint and other carriers would have bought an iPhone if they had the chance but instead were forced to settle for Android. For those people paying $200 to get a flagship phone is worth the price.

So why don't they switch to the iPhone? Inertia. They know Android and at this point it isn't worth the effort to learn a new system and switch all their stuff over. Android has a good chunk of practical middle Americans that don't care about image and just what the smartphone to do its damn job. Apple can only get them through dissatisfaction with Android, which can certainly happen with the cheaper phones.

As for the article I agree with Thom that it seems dated. It's like criticizing the Big Mac for having thousand island dressing. Um that's nice, but they're #1 so.......I think it is working just fine for them.

Reply Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

In other countries Android leads even more, despite iPhone being available from the start on all local carriers.

Reply Score: 2

Phone Sales at Walmart
by Altarbo on Thu 17th Oct 2013 15:40 UTC
Altarbo
Member since:
2013-10-17

Hello,

I work part time at a Wal-Mart (in addition to cooking, education, writing, and explaining to people why I don't have free time.) About two years ago, Wal-Mart rolled out these spiffy little phone shops at the front of their buildings. Loads of people are grabbing phones there now.

Most people go for the cheapest option. There are sheisty phones like the Samsung Illusion, but that's just for prepaid plans. The cheapest smartphones (all priced at one cent) for each carrier have been:

Verizon:
LG Vortex (discontinued)
Droid RAZR M
Samsung Brightside
Lumia 822

ATT:
Rugby (discontinued)
HTC One
Sony Xperia
Lumia 920

Tmobile:
Lumia 521

Sprint:
LG Viper
LG Mach

Also, the Galaxy S III and iPhone 4s dropped down to $40 recently.

If anyone's interested, I could probably get the sales figures for the different phones.

Also, Hello, I usually just lurk here, so hi.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Fri 18th Oct 2013 15:37 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

I'd love to see a complete breakdown of what Android phones account for what % of total Android sales, at what prices each model is sold at, etc. I have no doubt the cheapest phones dominate and are the vast majority of Android phones sold.

Reply Score: 2