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.

Thread beginning with comment 574772
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
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 Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Jbso on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:28 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 Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:34 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by cdude on Thu 17th Oct 2013 13:00 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by darknexus on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:51 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by getaceres on Wed 16th Oct 2013 11:56 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 Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by ichi on Wed 16th Oct 2013 12:39 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 Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by tkeith on Wed 16th Oct 2013 13:14 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by olejon on Wed 16th Oct 2013 20:51 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 Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by mkone on Wed 16th Oct 2013 23:12 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by oskeladden on Thu 17th Oct 2013 09:09 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 Parent Score: 2

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

Is there actually any proof of this?

Reply Parent Score: 1