On iPhone vs. Android

I was in the middle of writing an epic post about the decidedly first world problem of choosing between the Apple iPhone and an Android-based smartphone being that both will be soon be available from Verizon. But while putting together this piece that was destined to be so long it was sure to go unread, I came to a realization that made me scrap it all: Who cares – It’s just a damn phone.

The answer, of course, is that there are plenty of people who really REALLY care. To them, choosing a phone is like choosing a religion, except more important because they use it every day. These are the fanboys – the (overwhelmingly) guys who invest so much in their choice of phone/computer/video game system that any criticism on said piece of plastic is taken as a personal attack.

Here’s a perfect example of this psychological condition – in fact, it’s what prompted me to delete my original post. Last Friday, Nilay Patel of Engadget published a couple of pieces about the discovery of several dozen Java source code files that had been copied and published along with the Android source code. This is a concern because Oracle, the owner of the Java programming language, is suing Google over patent infringement related to the Android OS. I consider Nilay to be both a good writer and journalist, but he also happens to be a lawyer with an expertise in intellectual property rights, so I trust his opinion on this matter more than any other technology writer.

So, with that context, here’s the message Patel posted to Twitter the next day:

Android fanboys calling for me to be either fired or disbarred or both is definitely a new level of hatred.

Really, people? Your self-worth is so tied-up in the software running your phone that you believe a respected journalist/lawyer should be fired and have his law license revoked because he offered an educated legal opinion that managed to offended you? I find this mind boggling. So even though my post was a pragmatic comparison of iPhone/iOS and Android, I decided not to spend another minute analyzing the topic and hit the delete button instead. I don’t want to contribute to the problem.

And so, I’ll end with this: I’ll be getting an iPhone. Not the iPhone 4 that comes out in a few weeks, but the iPhone 5 that is universally expected to arrive this summer. Yes, there are some downsides, but I think it’s the best solution for me and don’t think I’ll regret the choice.

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