I’m not talking about me, as I’m on my second Android phone (First was an HTC Hero, current is HTC Evo), but I know several people who have told me they are fed up with Android and are looking at either an Iphone or in some rare cases Windows Phone. One thing I’ve noticed about all of these people is that their current Android phones are typically cheaper hardware that have sub 800 MGHz processors. Or the Skinning on Android that manufacturer used caused the phone to be unstable.
I actually saw a user get so fed up with how their Samsung Galaxy (which does have better hardware internals) because it would freeze and crash a lot. That user finally went out and paid full price for an Iphone 4S. Other cases were similar saying the phone is too buggy or has become too slow.
I’ll be honest, even my Evo can get slow and weird; if an App has memory leaked. A great example is Zynga’s Words with Friends which is really good at slowing a phone down to a crawl. Too be fair the iOS version isn’t much better, as it’s prone to crash often. So in some cases it’s isn’t the poor phone’s fault. I’ve made this argument before, smart phones share a lot in common with their PC big brothers. Better and faster internals will go a far way in those 2 year contract lock ins; but so will better software.
Samsung’s Touchwiz and Motorola’s Blur skin are great examples of where Skinning as not only caused Fragmentation issues but also performance issues. Even HTC Sense, which is arguably the best done skin still can cause a significant battery drain over the stock Android UI.
So what do you tell an Android user where their phone has left a bad taste in their mouth swearing off Android all together. “No, no, it’s not Android it’s just bad software, or your hardware is out of date” Doesn’t that just border on being an Android apologist? It’s not like Apple doesn’t suffer a similar strife by still offering the Iphone 3GS. But it seems that Iphone users like most apple users understand that Apple really doesn’t offer much support for Hardware that is 3 years old, and they are willing to shell out for next generation of stuff. And in Windows Phone’s case (like Apple) they have now taken a harder stance on Minimum hardware spec. I’d also say that Microsoft and Apple have stricter guidelines on Software, but there are still some glaring exceptions (cough, cough, Zynga).
A year ago, I was talking about how I had seen more Android phones at my work then I did Iphones, today it seems like the wind is shifting back to the Cupertino wiz kid device. In large part I think this because the Iphone is available on the 3 providers. Part of the appeal Android had was that it the only option next to sickly looking Blackberry and Windows Mobile, this just isn’t true in today’s market.
I’m not saying that I believe iOS is superior, or that Android sucks. I use both of the mobile OSes daily, but I am seeing a trend in my work that users are looking for a mobile experience that just works, and when their old wasn’t perfect or it just didn’t always work right they are far more willing to make a change at the end of their 2 year sentence.