Do you remember the first bad break up in high school. You know the one where you broke it off with your first, (what you thought at the time was a long term relationship), maybe it was a couple of months, maybe a year or two but inevitably most of you had that moment. The awkward stares, and whispering in class; the passing in the hallway; maybe that moment when the other person was really sick, injured or had a traumatic moment, and it was just awkward?
I had that moment on Friday. You see, when you create your own content vs regurgitate others, you can go on just about a full vacation and no one realizes you’re gone. That’s what I’ve been doing the last week (and technically there are two more days to go but I needed some closure). Friday I took a meeting with a college student that wanted to start an Android blog. I thought I was ready to sit and talk shop for an hour or two over a burger at my favorite burger spot. For the most part the meeting went well. The guy was nice enough, I agreed that I’d help him out a little bit with advice and best practices, and he would help me out with a couple little coding issues here that need to be fixed.
We talked about Android for a while but of course the first thing this new Android blogger noticed was my white iPhone 4S. It was resting on the table next to my drink when he walked in. It was totally unintentional. “Oh so you’ve gone to iOS”, was the first thing he said. And yes, yes I have thank you.
My relationship with Apple started many many years ago. In fact, thedroidguy was always written on a mac, an iMac, several MacBooks, a couple MacBook Pro’s and towards the end a MacBook Air. The photo above was actually captured and ran on some very popular Apple blogs from Google IO 2011.
I often told people that my use of Macs went back to my school newspaper days, as it does for many journalists. But in talking with this new blogger I realized, I was wrong. My relationship with Apple computers goes back to the third grade. My Maryland public school had an awesome, all Apple II computer lab. Yup we could play educational games, learn to type, do a few basic programs, play Zork and print out 8 foot banners with our four letter names on a dot matrix printer, that if you’re lucky would finish before the bell rang (often not).
Since Apple computers were what’s hot in the schools my great suburbanite parents quickly got us an Apple II which set them back a few thousand dollars with that dual floppy drive and same dot matrix printer. I remember hearing that the Howard County library had gotten a new Apple II GS, I had to see this thing it had all the great features of an Apple II and it was in COLOR, wow.
We had just about every iteration of the original Macintosh line at home and school. Every newspaper I ever laid out was done on a mac. I owned every iteration of a powerbook, than a macbook, we had the all in one colorful computer in a greenish blue and I had the colorful macbook in an orange I believe. Yes, my entire experience on computers going back 20+ years has always been Apple.
Before thedroidguy I had the original iPhone and then a GS. I also had several models of Blackberry if it makes you feel better. Then, I wanted a change and had really liked Google and Gmail. I got exposed to the G1 pre-launch from some contacts in the wireless industry and thedroidguy was born.
It became incredibly popular. We did a great job of offering some original content but we had to regurgitate news as well, that was the nature of the beast. Through an email log, and an internal document we tallied it just a week or two ago, thedroidguy tested over 200 different Android devices. I was changing phones and devices more often than even some people change underwear.
I was always careful to distinguish the iOS fan boys from the Apple fanboys it would be hypocritical to down the Apple fanboys, but you see that’s the problem.
I was a longterm (and stil am) Apple user. Not a fan boy. Why? Because it was what I was exposed to as a kid and I never ever had the problems that many of my PC using friends had. In fact, before I went on vacation I took my macbook air in to Best Buy under Black Tie because I was having major trackpad issues. That was the first time in 25 years of using and owning Apple computer products that I had EVER had an issue of any kind. Let me say that again, July 2012 was the first time in 25 years of using and owning Apple computer products that I had EVER had an issue of any kind.
I’ve never thrown an Apple product away because it was broken. I never upgraded because I really needed to. It was always because I saved money to upgrade when I wanted to. That retina display Macbook Pro is looking sexy as hell but alas the battery is not removable nor EPEAT compliant and I love my Mac computers but not $2500 worth.
So back to Android.
I would shout things my love of Android from the rooftop. I wore an Android beanie to every public facing event since October 2010 where I was representing thedroidguy. The beanie made it easy for folks like Ralph DeLaVega and Dan Hesse to say “Hey Droidguy” when they saw me at a convention.
I was the one sitting there listening to every word Steve Jobs or Tim Cook said in regards to new iOS features, saying “Yup we have that already” In fact when the 4S came out, with it’s Siri (Talk to text, Vlingo Nuance), Notifications, and still lack of turn by turn navigation, was released I was posting as fast as I could type.
But then as Nibletz started to grow, things started to change. It was like that pre-breakup period. Where you know something isn’t right and you don’t want to answer the phone or the door, or “talk” because you know the inevitable is coming.
As Thedroidguy I always, always, always carried three phones and a tablet (or two). I never thought anything of it. In fact it was cool to have three of the latest Android phones to show off and evangelize about. Sometimes, no wait most of the time, I had an Android phone in “pre-release”. On more than one occasion I would walk into a carrier store and ask for an accessory for a phone I had on my belt, in my hand or in my pocket that wasn’t even out yet.
Playing with the newest Android toys was a great benefit to being thedroidguy. I loved unboxings and I loved doing reviews.
In January, that “pre-break” period hit. I did CES with two phones and multiple batteries. I had the phones to use back at the office if I wanted to but I no longer felt the need to carry three devices. Half because of nibletz and half because of this “pre-break” period with me and Android, at CES 2012 Brent and I spent more time in Eureka Park and checking out the Phillips booth than any Android manufacturers booth. The love was fading… fast.
Why, for the most part (and we’ll cover this later), Android was awesome, many people were using it, it was adopting fast, but to get the overall experience of the top tier and newest features in both software and hardware that I wanted I needed to carry three phones, not one phone. Not only that but emphatically I would need to do a battery pull, a factory data reset or some other jury rigged trick to get the phone back to normal. Android as a whole was great, Android as one device, at least to me, was a prosumer nightmare. I didn’t root, I didn’t have time for that. I’ve got things to do and a business to run I don’t have hours on hours to tinker in my parents basement.
At South By Southwest I noticed there was a little problem. I couldn’t check out all of these cool new apps on one device because I didn’t have an iPhone. The Android versions of some of the apps were superior on one Android device and not the next. I still wore the Android beanie with pride and wrote every day on a Galaxy Note (which was probably the last cool Android device I used daily). Except I needed to charge it more than use it, luckily I had a power bag with enough batteries to light up a runway.
My cofounders had been begging me to ditch the other site and work full-time on this and at SXSW that’s what I started doing. I switched completely. See I only need (or should I say take) 4-5 hours of sleep. So I would spend the bulk of my workday on the android site and two hours or so on nibletz. Starting at SXSW it was all nibletz all the time and I could regurgitate news fifteen minutes before bed.
Something had to be done and I didn’t want to see the brand die. So I sold it to a content syndicate in New York. They actually seem to be doing very well with it. They don’t source at all though which drives me nuts.
When we got back from south by I bought the iPhone 4S. I also bought a “the new iPad”.
So here’s why. It’s not a big F-U to Android they have a lot of great technology in Android that is still earlier than iOS. With that technology comes flaws and caveats though that only the loyalist of Android users can tolerate.
I went back to iOS because it just WORKS.
Period. That’s it. Sure my iPhone is only 3G but my iPad is 4G so that makes things just peachy, and battery life on both devices is spectacular. I mean phenomenal compared to what I’m used to.
Case in point, my cofounder Cameron drove back from Memphis to Philly a few weeks ago and reported using 16,000mah worth of battery over three devices. Do you know how insane that sounds to an average user. I’m not knocking Cameron at all because a year before that I would have done the same thing and thought it was quite normal.
I customize my lock screen with pictures of my kid and my wallpaper with cool pictures I’ve taken. My apps are organized the way I want them and they always open when I want them to and close when I want them to.They never freeze up, I’ve never had to reboot, I can’t battery pull because the battery is locked in the phone, but I’ve never had to, ever.
So back to that blogger, he had a great theory as to why Steve Jobs hated Android so much. The theory also speaks to why Android gets features before iOS. You see Apple makes 5 and 10 year plans, not just the next device. Many of these things that are coming out for Android are probably ideas for future iPhones. Perhaps Eric Schmidt sold Steve down the river and said why wait, we will do it now.
So I’m not exactly saying that iOS features are better when they come out then Google features. Sometimes they’re not. In fact this new siri like feature in Jelly Bean is a heck of a lot better than original Siri. Of course Siri is going to be upgraded and the Android fan boys are going to say that Apple copied. And perhaps they did. There’s a lot of that going on these days.
My final thoughts…
There are a lot of people who have smartphones now. Smartphones make up 2/3 of the new phones being purchased in the US alone in 2012. There are three types of smartphone users
– People who WANT access to their email, web and apps on their mobile device
– People who having access to their email, web and apps on their mobile device makes life easier
– People who MUST have access to their email, web and apps on their mobile device.
Whether you want to argue with me or not, I am in category three. I live and die by this website. We’re totally sneaker strapped right now and eating depend on this site (and before this site the other site). I need to be able to access the site, my content flow, my other writers, and everything else having to do with the site, startups and content everywhere and all the time.
Being committed to staying on the road through September 2013 means that during a travel week 90% of the content is created and uploaded on a mobile device.
For that I need durability, reliability and battery life. 4G/LTE, turn by turn navigation and widgets on my home screen are more than a fair trade off.
So was it too early, I guess not because a lot of my old readers who’ve come to the new site deserved this post.
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