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Android's Fanboy Problem: Why Apple's War Brings Out the Worst in Fans

Steven Blum
8

I love reporting on the latest Android innovations and I think there are TONS of reason to be excited about where the platform is going. But the annoying fanboys who dominate the discussions online about the newest Android products are starting to drive me absolutely insane.

I'm aware of the fact that Apple is acting less-than benevolently towards their competitors, and I'm also aware of a certain pretentious element to the whole Apple crew. Brand loyalty among the Apple diehards borders on cult-like mania, it could be argued. 

But, Android's fanbase isn't any more enlightened. When certain folks are taking stupid potshots at Apple or praying for the company to fail, it can sometimes feel as if the entire Android "movement" is built on hatred towards Apple. Just looking at the top stories on r/Android, you start to get the feeling that, while Apple owners are simply excited about the latest innovation, Android owners are excited for an entirely different reason – they want the latest phone to destroy Apple, so that the company no longer exists.

All of this sentiment reached a fever pitch during the Apple v. Samsung trial. Predictably, there was plenty for an Android fan to be upset about when it came to the way the jury reached their decision. But the tone took a turn for the worse when it was suggested that Android should actually be suing Apple for such-and-such reasons, as if that was the solution to the entire patent mess: more lawsuits.

This isn't like arguing over creationism or social security or healthcare or the death penalty, folks. At the end of the day, we're talking about phones, people. Phones. There are plenty of things to be upset about in the world; this just doesn't happen to be one of them. 

Furthermore, everyone can (and should) succeed. Apple and Android are both better off with all the competition they face from each other. Same with Windows 8. All of this one-upping actually helps consumers in the end. There are things about the broken patent system to lament, sure, but competition is good. Yay!

I think we all get this, but it's still easy to get pissed off when you see that Apple is suing for unfair reasons. I understand. But sinking to their level, allowing the stupid fanboy element on the other side to justify our own ignorance and anger, is just making the whole Android scene dumber. As a rule: fanboys are bad at being objective. Maybe we should try to actually be that.

And if the reason there's so much fanboyism and dumb prejudice in the Android universe is because there isn't actually anything interesting coming out of Android right now...well...then that's the real problem. 

Here's an example of the kind of dumb fanboy comment I'm talking about:

The Apple is rotting on the tree!

Oh, you. So clever. Yeah, I see what you just did there. Compared Apple the company to Apple the organic fruit. Except Apple is not rotting; it's stock is doing just fine, and however much you may hate the company, that won't reverse its success. While I understand you'd like for the company to stop suing Android, just because they're taking advantage of a broken patent system doesn't mean they're necessarily evil or deserved of failure. It just means the system is broken. 

Of course a lot of people leave great comments and aren't narrow-minded and everything. I'm mainly just talking about a select few. To everyone else: thank you for always being insightful and never stooping to the level of the unthinking fanboy. To the people who leave 5 word replies like "Apple is going to sue over this" when Motorola or HTC or Samsung unveils a new product, you're not as original as you think you are. Just try a little harder. Just a little.  That's all I'm asking. 

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  • Dvoraak Sep 3, 2012 Link

    Wow Steven.... Bravo!
    The mania comes from both sides but I have a theory about the Apple fan's side of things. Having had every iPhone model since the 3G and frequenting web sites such as this one, it's easy to get an attitude after the 100th time being called a sheep or being told you're too stupid to handle Android. Then, if you're like me and enjoy new tech for tech's sake..... you'll catch it from all sides. If you're not all in for Windows/Android/Apple your opinion isn't worth considering. Again, well said and a breath of fresh air.

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    Maldor Sep 3, 2012 Link

    before i say anything I would like to say that I feel bad to those who think that Apple should die and never come back, Apple is part of the innovation process and serves as a way to develop more device to compete with, think about it, without Apple the idea of the tablet computer would have more of a chance to fall if it was developed by anyone else, Apple's user base is built on reliable processes that have allowed the development and creation of the tablet market.
    now, the fact remains that Apple has stolen specific features from android, and we have stolen some of their features ( or the thought of stealing those features), Android is not going to disappear like some people think it should, if Apple`s competition were to disappear, then what would force Apple to make more leaps in technology? I would like to see the iPhone with no competition, because after awhile it gets boring and that ( in my opinion) is what people like about android is because it takes many forms form the galaxy S3 to the Motorola atrix, it is everywhere and cannot be stopped as hard as you try.

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  • Steven Blum Sep 3, 2012 Link

    Thanks, both of you. Those are the kind of comments I love to read.

    Now the question I'm left with is, how do you write about Apple's lawsuits against Apple without stoking anger or resorting to cliches? I think about that a lot.

    The other thing I forgot to mention is the class aspect. I think it could be argued that some of what seems to fuel this Apple hatred is the feeling that Apple owners are elitist about their preferences, and willing to spend more money on devices that aren't so hot, spec-wise, just to show the world they can afford Apple products. Perhaps the OS you root for is still a matter of class, or trying to create a perception of being of a certain class. Maybe Android owners would like to think they care about this less? But then by railing against iPhone users for that very reason, they sink to the level of their level anyway, and the discourse becomes really narrow.

    What do you think?

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  • Dvoraak Sep 3, 2012 Link

    Seriously? I'd say the really hard-core fandroids (term for the fans who're always in Apple attack mode) are elitists in their own right. They're WAY more tech savvy than the crapple sheeple.
    I'm not sure you can write about the lawsuits without making fandroids more indignantly righteous and I wouldn't worry about it. It's Apple's PR problem. Let them deal with it. Personally, I feel that Apple has valid complaint. Samsung in particular (especially early on) designed a new iPhone that was cheaper and had more features.... but it was still just a new iPhone. That doesn't mean I completely agree with Apple's suits or the scope of them. They're never going to live down the rectangle jabs. That's their problem. I tried to make that case on an Apple site yesterday. In the end, nothing will be gained by the lawsuits but there are potential losses.... so WHY? You can imagine how well that was received. Your audience is either open minded or not but, considering the site caters to one OS in particular, you can guess the temperature in the room.

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  • Soemone Asdf Sep 4, 2012 Link

    I'm sorry, but the negative behaviour of certain companies need to be brought to light.

    Why isn't anyone adding in the DoJ E-book price fixing? Did anyone notice that they almost single-handedly made everything 30% more expensive (they were about to introduce in-app purcases that *MUST* be price-matched with any other location [like the developer's own website] -- but they'd still get a 30% cut of the app purchase)? Sure, Amazon and Google can remove their catalog from the store (as they have now), but 99% of the smaller companies are now stomaching the "priviledge" of being on the store... oh wait, no they're not... they're just passing the buck to it's customers (some of which include people who have actively chosen products not of that ecosystem due to such behaviour)

    I'm sorry, but Android, WP7, and WebOS are sufficient for me. WP7/8 has become equally locked down in terms of software, so there's the equivalent for users who want a managed experience.

    IMHO, a company that bad -- that could influence the market OUTSIDE of it's own ecosystem? That company can die in a fire.

    I hear people whining about high gas prices (who only have very few providers)... then I see then voluntarily enter into a monopoly, paying inflated prices -- and dragging me kicking and screaming with them.

    So excuse me if I post a factual correction to some sheeple, though possibly in a rude way. I'm going to do my best to paint them in a bad light.

    As for the competition bit? Android has that built in. Companies will continue to innovate with or without any other platform. Samsung has made Android beam BETTER with S Beam. HTC has the Sense customizations which make theming easier, and so on.

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  • Steven Blum Sep 4, 2012 Link

    Soemone, no need to apologize for bringing to light the negative behavior of certain companies. I'm all for an open debate about price fixing, and if you have an interesting fact to bring to the sheeple (ha), please do. Obviously, that is all great.

    What I'm annoyed by is the ad hominim attacks attacks against Apple; the almost constant bickering about Apple instead of celebrating Android and letting the platform's innovations speak for themselves.

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  • Patrick R. Sep 4, 2012 Link

    Good points Steven, however , for tech nerds, the Apple vs Android saga, and I am not only reffering to the law suits, is like the world cup, the NBA championships, Formula 1 and Super Bowl all rolled into one big event. And any competition would draw fans and haters for both sides.

    That is why when I was watching the GNote 2 video and launch, I was muttering under my breath "Beat that, Apple!" And in all honesty, I hope they do. Not because I'm interested in the iPhone 5, rather, IF the next iPhone and iOS indeed beats Samsung and JB (in terms of features and performance) then I am damn sure the G Note 3 or GS4 and Android 5.0 will blow Apple out of the water. And as consumers, how is that bad for us to have a couple of great phones to choose from?

    What irritates me is Apple trying to take the easy way out. Trying to ban Samsung devices is not competing at all, it is trying to win by default and an attempt to ram their phone down my throat. Because in all honesty, if by some miracle, android and windows phones all disappear from the face of the earth, I'd be the first in line to get an iPhone.

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  • Dvoraak Sep 4, 2012 Link

    It's easy to loathe Apple for the price fixing when you already hated them to start with. I've never heard an Apple user come down on them for it, probably because they've also chosen sides already too. It's the same for Google. I've never heard an Android user get so offended by Google trolling wifi routers but an Apple fan will jump on that all day long. Apple and Google just have different business plans for profits. Apple makes most profits on the front end and Google makes the most on the back but they will BOTH push legal limits to maximize those profits. How many run-ins has Google had with the feds over the last few years? Who is more offensive to you is based on buying choices you/we've already made. It's a pretty amazing phenomenon. I never considered hating Panasonic because I love my Sony home theater.

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