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Why The Smartphone Industry Needs Fanboys

iSheep and Fandroids. Same-sung, Crapple and Micro$oft. The invective thrown around when two or more internet users gather to discuss phones, computers and operating systems can get far more extreme than just basic name calling. Most people will quite correctly treat this as the rantings of those with too much time or too little intelligence on their hands.

However, both the companies involved and you as a customer need these crazy voices on the edge of reason, because you are financially and emotionally invested in the products you use.

Unlike a car, where the brand you buy need not be influenced by any other factor than what you like; a smartphone or computer purchase requires the consideration of other factors if you aren't to be left with a redundant device and a hopelessly sunk investment. Imagine if your car could only run on Ford, Fiat or Ferrari petrol. Your journey is completely reliant on petrol stations stocking your particular brand of fuel. For companies with limited market share - the specialist market - they might decide that it isn't worth the effort to do so, and if enough make this decision your car becomes unviable as a transport mechanism.

In the smartphone market apps and third party support are the fuel that drives devices. If those new apps don't come to your platform of choice eventually it starves and dies. Which is why the shouting voices of those fanboys, ridiculing each other and generating plenty of passion, are important. We may shake our heads that people aren't able to have a civil discussion, but some comments will make us nod in agreement with the argument, if not the way it is put, reinforcing or debasing our decision to choose the phone or computer we use.

Microsoft, Apple and Samsung have been orchestrating their fans, with keynotes and adverts that look to score points off each other in the war to keep their devices relevant. Those machinations serve a dual purpose, increasing loyalty in existing customers whilst pointing out the flaws in the decisions of their opponents customers. Samsung's Next Big Thing advert is the perfect example of this tactic.

The platform wars date back decades (Spectrum v C64, Amiga v ST, PC v Mac, Palm v PPC) and the truth has always been that you need to pick a side and defend that decision vociferously.

Otherwise you end up backing a horse with three legs and miss out on all the good stuff that other users are enjoying.

Just ask Windows Phone users.

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