The painful shame of owning an Android phone

How could you?

By Jack Skeens – Shutterstock

I’ve been hearing about this for years.

Whenever I go to phone stores and speak to salespeople, I ask them about their phone choices.

With extraordinary regularity, many tell me they have iPhones because of their friends and family.

“If everyone has an iPhone, only an Android makes it messy,” a phone store clerk told me.

Being part of a texting group is a modern necessity. families need it; friends need it It’s the quickest way to say nothing in particular to a lot of people. It’s the quickest way to spread a meme that half of them have already seen.

How else can you demonstrate your latest Memoji skills to an enthralled audience?

But now Google is quite upset about it. Or, depending on your perspective, finally.

The company seems to be realizing that iMessage is a curiously successful way of connecting people to the iPhone world.

Here was Google SVP of Just About Everything, Hiroshi Lockheimer swarmed on Twitter just last week: “Apple’s iMessage lock-in is a documented strategy. The use of peer pressure and bullying as a means of selling products is disingenuous for a company that has humanity and justice at the core of its marketing. There are standards today to fix this.”


See Also: Google Says Apple Is Holding Smartphone Users Back With Its iMessage Approach.


What could have caused him to do this? A Wall Street Journal Article documents what so many have observed for a long time – Android users being shamed for being Android users.

“Teenagers fear the green text bubble,” revealed the article’s headline. They fear being the weird teenager because all teenagers want to be just like every other teenager.

Even the official Android Twitter account bared his feelings: “iMessage should not benefit from bullying. SMS should bring us together and the solution exists. Let’s fix this as an industry.” (Google’s solution is a 14-year-old technology called RCS.)

Yes, of course Android Twitter added a green and blue heart to symbolize the coming together of the blue iMessage color offered to iPhone users and the green color offered to “Android outsiders”.

Of course I want all citizens of the world to come together and love each other. And of course, I think Apple is well aware that its penchant for exclusivity is very good for business.

Also, my wife and I are in this very painful situation. She is Android and I am iPhone. We’re so pitifully ashamed that instead of suffering the blue-green divide, we ended up resorting to WhatsApp, owned by the most despicable company on earth, the one that’s now desperately trying to rhyme with its name better.

But where Lockheimer – and indeed all tech guys – lose me is when they bitch about humanity and justice.

My eyes create icicles when Google tries to get Apple to act to Cupertino’s supposedly higher standards. It’s like lying presidents who demand the truth from others.

Could this be the same Google that is being sued by so many governments for its alleged penchant for unjust monopolies?

Could this be the same Google facing three antitrust lawsuits for allegedly — and perhaps inhumanely — manipulating search queries?

This is not the same Google as reportedly discourages small businesses lobbying on their behalf because, allegedly again, antitrust legislation would remove the names of these companies from searches, right?

And wait a minute, this is the Google that flaunts human privacy to an occasionally ridiculous degree and whose CEO then shows up in Congress and declares, “Our mission is to protect your privacy.”

Is this the point to mention that RCS is not end-to-end encrypted?

I am of course inhuman and unfair. It’s not as if Google has tried to launch its own messaging products over the years. what is that you say How many? Well, 13 of them since 2011, when iMessage was launched.

Of course, Apple is run by deeply venal businessmen who know when they’re on a good note. Since Apple’s inception, the company’s entire ethos has revolved around creating a walled garden where its customers can graze in peace and benefit from Apple’s fine fertilizer.

But at least Apple has consistently tried to support the need for a little occasional privacy. (While Google is still allowed to pay Apple huge sums for Google Search on iPhones.)

However, you may have a heartfelt sympathy for Android-owning teens who can’t play certain games with their iPhone friends.

Or maybe you’re a hurt Android user ostracized by arrogant iPhone-wielding family members.

Please do not worry; Apple will give in. When they see a good business reason to do it – warm and fluffy PR is sometimes, but not often, a good reason – or when compelled by law to do so.

Just as Google might one day decide to relent (be coerced) after reading headlines like this one: “Google is manipulating browser extensions to choke out competitors, says DuckDuckGo CEO.”

That doesn’t sound too fair, does it?

That’s because tech companies — all of them — rarely are.