If you want proof that Android has matured into a solid platform, don’t look to a geek like me. I’m happy to fiddle, experiment and tweak away, but tinkering doesn’t sell phones. If it’s not easy to use with great features then all the high end specs in the world won’t matter. Want proof? Just look at the experience of my fiancée, Sarah, a new Android convert.
Like I said, I like to fiddle. The first weekend I had my Droid I spent my time poking around the settings, playing with wallpapers and software, and learning every possible combination of radios and brightness for optimal battery life. I read android-focused forums, scoured reviews for app suggestions, and obsessed over a case. Basically, I geeked out on the phone.
Sarah, on the other hand, is less “dig in” and more “pick up and use”. I bought her an HTC Incredible last week, and tried to show her some tips and tricks, but she was insistent that she needed to learn it by herself. By the end of the first night, she’d changed the wallpaper and installed a few games. The next day she came home from work and showed me how her coworker (who has a Droid) suggested a few apps as well. At no point did Sarah consult a website, or Google around for instructions. If it wasn’t readily apparent how to do something, she wasn’t going to try it. Between HTC’s Sense UI and the general leaps and bounds Android has taken, Sarah was attached at the hip to her phone within 24 hours.
It’s not that Sarah isn’t tech-friendly. It’s just that for her, a smartphone or a computer is a tool, not something to lust over, study, and play with obsessively. Still, she loved the look of the Incredible, and was intrigued at the idea of owning a smartphone. When I was on AT&T I offered to buy her an iPhone if she switched carriers, and her answer would always be “Why do I need that?” She has an iPod Touch that she uses, but not nearly to its fullest. But the Incredible is her workhorse. Without visiting forums, without asking for help, she set up her email, learned about her homescreen, spent a solid half an hour unlocking and relocking the phone to watch the weather animation…and she absolutely fell in love with it.
What really amazes me is that Sarah used to constantly tease me about playing with my phone when we were out and about. Now I catch her doing it too! Android has taken my “Why do I need a smartphone? What would I use it for?” fiancée and turned her into an addict!