It’s always interesting to me when somebody asks me the question, “Are you an Apple or an Android fan?” when discussing smartphones. (And to be fair to Windows Phone/10 Mobile and BlackBerry fans, I'm not leaving you out on purpose; I just cannot remember the last time I was asked about either one of those platforms - I feel you, and I'm sorry.) There’s nothing wrong with the question, and there’s nothing wrong with assuming that I’m either on one side of the fence or another; after all, a lot of people are. My answer is always simply, “I like both,” and I can reasonably expect the conversation to end there. I’ve found that most people don’t care to go beyond that in your average everyday conversation, because you haven’t picked a side for them to agree with or argue against.
That wasn’t the case for a conversation that I had at a friend’s wedding reception recently. I sat a table with people I didn’t know, but in these situations it’s good to strike up conversation so that you’re not there in awkward silence. We said hello to one another, talked about the weather that day, and inevitably discussed how the Royals are doing, as we Kansas Citians tend to do any chance that we get.
Eventually, one of the guests asked me what phone was resting by my hand. I said the Galaxy S7, and that it was a relatively new phone for me. He then asked if I had a preference towards “Apple or Android”, I gave him the same answer I always do: I like both. To my surprise, he nodded and continued the conversation, asking me if I knew about or how I felt about Project Fi. He showed me the Nexus 5X he was using on the service, and told me about how much he was enjoying the savings he made after switching from one of the “Big Four” carriers.
This then led to a discussion about other phones, and how he had primarily stayed loyal to one brand until this point. He still preferred the brand he came from, but he appreciated the savings over his brand choice - and with the limited offering of phones on Project Fi, he didn't have the luxury of choosing both. However, he had said that if Project Fi ever carried the brand he has always used, he won't hesitate to switch phones. I then told him that I’ve switched manufacturers so many times that I’ve lost count. He said most people he knew usually had preference to something. When I thought about it, that's how most people I knew operated as well. So I started thinking about what keeps a person loyal to one brand.
I can easily see how people have stuck with Apple since the beginning. The iPhone continues to be one of the most, if not the most, iconic smartphones in the industry. To take the most cliché phrase about iPhones straight from the book, the iPhone is often described as having a way of “just working”. They might not have the customization levels that Android phones have, but iOS is a solid software that, in my experience, has almost always worked well no matter what. Couple that with the fact that the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Watch products all work so well together, you have a comfortable ecosystem set up that is arguably difficult to leave.
BlackBerry is another company that I see hardcore loyalists for, albeit in much smaller numbers. Not only have they kept a firm dedication to security, which is an essential feature for many, but BlackBerry dipped its foot in mobile years before the iPhone came to fruition with pagers, PDAs, and phones. Unlike Palm, who started off the same way but dipped out years ago, the BlackBerry name is still around. They’re even making Android products now, which manages to keep them relevant. They may not have the same power and influence that they used to, but I believe it’s a healthy mix of the loyalists and their focus on security that keep them around.
I’ve heard testimonies from people who also claim that they will only buy from Samsung, HTC, and a number of other companies out there manufacturing smartphones. They were either so happy with the products and had no reason to stray, or they simply wanted to try something different, but found that they were happier sticking with what they knew they liked.
For me, the pull to try different operating systems and different flavors of Android have kept me from staying “loyal” to just one brand or platform. Over time I’ve found brands that I prefer, but even when using a phone that I’m perfectly happy with, I eventually decide to try something else anyway. I just get bored.
It’s interesting hearing about why people are loyal to a platform or brand. I enjoy hearing about the things that people like about a phone, and why it works well for them. With that in mind, dear readers, do you have a favorite brand that you’ve stuck with? Or does curiosity get the best of you, and you change phones like the wind? Let us know in the comments below!