Brand Loyalty vs. Tech Ignorance

Let’s talk about it.

Brand loyalty generally makes me think of Apple users.  Most of them know they like Apple products and will continue to buy Apple products.  Brand loyalty (so long as Apple doesn’t screw up really badly).  Brand loyalists are generally labeled fanboys or fanbois.

Tech ignorance.  Let’s talk about it, because it runs ***rampant*** on the Android side.  I know some of you are thinking, “What?  Android is for the geeks.  The power users.  The…”

Let’s be honest, here.  The geeks and power users know they must root Android phones (or jailbreak iPhones) before they can do what they really want to do.  Power users are not the target group in this article.

Imagine you walk into Best Buy and buy a brand new, state of the art Dell.  You get it home.  It’s nice and shiny.  Almost looks like they copied Apple again in their design, but it only cost you $500, so you don’t care.  Fire it up and it’s running Windows…. 98SE.  You read that right.  Windows 98SE.  Wouldn’t you be livid?  Even the most tech un-savvy person at this point knows Windows 7 (or perhaps Vista) is the current thing that should be running.  Complaining on tech forums doesn’t help much because the tech crowd walks you through the steps of formatting your drive and reinstalling Windows 7 so you can be up-to-date.

Whew.  That’s a lot of work for a general, run-of-the-mill, new-computer buying experience.  It happens almost daily with Android phones.  Many new phones and tablets are being sold as new with Android OS 2.x on them.  Some of the *really* cheap ones may even come with Android 1.x.  Just so we’re clear, Android is up to 4.1, but you — yes, you! — can get a brand new shiny Android phone running state-of-the-art Android 2.x.

Similarly to my Windows description above, Android tech forums have tons of nerds willing to walk you through “rooting your phone” and adding a “custom ROM” for the “pure Android experience.” 

Otherwise, you can update to the latest Android when…. Right.  Verizon/AT&T have nothing to do with that, so they won’t help you.  HTC or Samsung (or whomever else) — you know, the company who makes your handset — tells you they have phones that run 4.1, but it’s not supported on your BRAND NEW PHONE.

Does anyone else see the problem here?  I was told by a friend that Apple does planned obsolescence by releasing a new phone every year.  Apple does planned obsolescence?  I feel the meaning of obsolescence is lost (or perhaps just re-defined here).  Apple, up until now, has done its best to have its new OS every year work on the iPhone 3GS, a phone that’s 3 years old.  I think the latest OS, iOS6, may even install with some tidbits, though it seems like the iPhone 4 is now the new bottom of the barrel (with a $0 price for 2-year contracts).

Let’s summarize that last paragraph.  Apple supports a 3-year old phone as best it can by allowing as much of its latest OS’s features on it as it can, but Android manufacturers won’t let you go from the stock 2.x OS (on a BRAND NEW PHONE) to 4.1.  Android manufacturers also release new phones every month.  Seems easy to see who truly plans obsolescence, does it not?

Tech ignorance is what these Android manufacturers rely on.  New PCs with Windows 98.  New Android phones with Android 2.x.  You don’t know what it means.  You don’t care what it means.  You just want a phone where you can touch the screen and it usually responds.  Oh… and it has Facebook.  Android phone that’s “just like iPhone” and Facebook.  Tech ignorance.

I’ll stick with my brand loyalty any day.  Apple may not be perfect, but even they allow their “tech ignorant users” the ability to update the OS on their (up to) 3 year old iPhones, something older Android phones can’t and/or won’t do.

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