Tech attracts passion like no other consumer product vertical. And the Android vs iPhone debate is PC vs Mac for the digital native generation. We all love our gadgets, but some people take things to extremes. Here at Macworld UK we aim to protect you from these extremes of Android fandom, and we believe that forewarned is forearmed. So here is our spotters guide to the seven types of Android fanboy you can expect to encounter on the internet. We've left it gender neutral in order to leave no-one out (but in our experience the worst behaviour is exclusively male: in Fandroidism as in life).
Take a deep breath, and dive right in. The water is cool, but full of Fandroids. (For balance, see also: The 10 types of Apple fan: which one are you?)
The 7 types of Android fanboy (and girl): Google completist (and apologist)
This person just thinks, no *knows*, that Google is changing the world in a positive way. Far from being evil, Google is revolutionising the way we source information, communicate and do business. And it's all free. FREE!
'Look, I can choose not to buy things that are advertised to me, yeah? Like I can choose not to keep pumping Apple full of profits by paying its luxury tax (you know that iPhones are made with Chinese unicorn blood, right?)'
This person is happy with Google having their user data, safe in the knowledge that it is anonymised. 'Better in Google's hands than the government's.' They have a Chromebook and a Nexus, and their actual name on their Gmail address. They Tweet about the latest Google Doodle, watch all their TV via Chromecast (and YouTube) and have never heard the phrase 'if you don't pay for the product, you are the product'.
They detest the customisation that manufacturers inflict upon Android, principally because it causes people to use non-Google apps, shop outside the Play Store and occasionally complain about Android. If they can't get a Nexus, they will install the Google Launcher to achieve a similar effect. And woe betide the phone user who doesn't know that they are using a Google product. 'It's Google Android, geddit?'
The opening of a Google Store on Tottenham Court Road has added a new tourist destination for our Google fan. But really this person wants nothing more in life than to work at Google. They devour tales of lavish canteens, roof gardens, and in-office pool tables. So much so that they have seen, and profess to like, The Intern.
And they think Google Glass is good. And an actual thing. Avoid at all costs. (See also: 20 funniest troll comments by Android fanboys.)
The 7 types of Android fanboy (and girl): Career/Korea Samsung-ites
This person's life peaked at the Galaxy S4 launch, when Samsung launched an Android phone without mentioning 'Android' or 'Google'.
You will recognise this person because they will maintain in the fact of all opposition that the iPhone ceased to be a worthwhile purchase with the launch of the 'superior' Galaxy S2. They will claim that Samsung invented the phablet with the Galaxy Note. Reasonable, you may think (forgetting Palm and Dell in the process), until they follow up by attempting to actually use the S-Pen in your presence.
If they then demonstrate one of Samsung's myriad pointless software features, you have found your Samsung-ite.
These people use Samsung laptops, TVs and tablets. They quote Geekbench figures as if they were gospel (which they are, in the sense that they bear only an allegorical relation to historical fact). A Samsug-ite will comment on the Samsung components in your Apple products, and know by how many gigahertz and cores their smartphone's processor 'beats' your iPhone.
The true test of a Samsung-ite is their reaction to TouchWiz. Any sane person understands that Samsung, like other Google OEMs, puts its own software skin on top of Android in order to drive people into its own stores, and to make them think 'Samsung' instead of 'Android'. Even Samsung has massively rolled back on recent versions of TouchWiz, but your true Samsung-ite professes to love TouchWiz. Believes it, too.
The 7 types of Android fanboy (and girl): The unbiased biased
A tricky customer. The person who posts into forums and comments threads, appearing to be reasonable. 'I prefer Android because right now it's just the best deal' they say. So far so reasonable - no-one ever accused Apple of being a bargain-hunter's company.
But you will know that you have found the unbiased biased Android fangirl or -boy when they use phrases such as 'Apple is the best for some people, just not for me', or 'I couldn't use Apple, I really need the customisation Android offers. But I know that is not the case for everyone.'
It seems reasonable. But what they are really saying is: 'Apple is for people who are - unlike me - stupid.'
You will never be able to win an argument with an unbiased biased Android fan: whatever point you make will be returned to you as an example of your own unconscious bias. But you will be able to comfort yourself with the fact that you have friends, and a life partner, and a sense of self worth that doesn't rely on you being able to win pointless arguments about consumer products.
Or maybe that is my own bias.
The 7 types of Android fanboy (and girl): Be different, yeah?
One word: 'iSheep'.
Spend long enough on the internet and you will come across many people who believe that having a device that runs the world's most used smartphone platform makes them somehow 'different'. That normal drones take the obvious path, and buy iPhones. Only outlier renegades like them use Android. Think different indeed.
There's history here, of course. For a decade or more Apple was on the outside, and people who used Macs tended to work in the creative industries. And when several years after the iPhone rebooted the smartphone industry the likes of Samsung and Asus finally made good Android phones there was some kudos in knowing how have a worthwhile smartphone that wasn't the obviously market-leading iPhone.
Now, of course, there is genuine choice in the smartphone and tablet market. And Apple is for anyone, but not everyone. That doesn't stop some Android fans seeing the iPhone's intuitive user interface and innate security as some kind of cop out. But if they call you an iSheep, simply baa contentedly and stroke your lovely woolly coat.
The 7 types of Android fanboy (and girl): The 'you're a fanboy' fanboy
AKA: the Troll. By no means exclusive to Android, the Troll is never happier than when they find someone saying something - anything - that could be construed as an opinion. They will stay awake all night in order to chastise someone who created in their mind the greatest spectacle of all: A PERSON GETTING SOMETHING WRONG ON THE INTERNET.
Take a look through the comments section of Macworld.co.uk. On every story in which we compare Apple products with those running Android, you will find the 'you're a fanboy' fanboys. Rather like saying 'you're gay' to someone happier in sexual pursuit of those of their own gender, it is a weird and pointless insult that reveals more about the insulter than the insulted. OF COURSE WE ARE APPLE FANS: THIS IS MACWORLD. I am what I am, and what I am is a Macworld contributor.
These people exists only to get a reaction. They should be known as 'toddlers' rather than 'trolls', and would be were it not for the fact that toddlers inspire love and amusement, and trolls can at best hope to generate enervation, unless they tidy their bedroom and do their homework when mum asks.
Once you recognise an Android troll they are easy to ignore, or bait. But we careful with the latter: far better a troll-ee than a troller be.
The 7 types of Android fanboy (and girl): The expert early adopter (aka: details guy)
Easy to mistake for the unbiased biased, the expert early adopter is a far more dangerous beast. This person is open about their love of Android, but believes that essentially subjective debate can be reduced to cold hard facts. That Android vs iPhone can be measured in numbers. Moreover, they believe that their credentials will make you quake before them.
Every conversation starts with a CV, that is somehow meant to cow you, you simple mortal. 'As a Google-certified network engineer of seven years, I have owned every Android phone since before Larry and Sergei were born. I am a network admin with a fleet of ONE HUNDRED MILLION ANDROID PHONES. And I have girlfriend.'
'My iPhone is fast', you might say. 'Er, no it isn't', they will argue. Quoting benchmark figures and clock speeds, and the fact that everyone *they* know who has an iPhone finds it slow.
'I like my iPhone', you will counter. 'No you don't. You can't,' they will respond. Before explaining to you exactly why Android is superior to iPhone, on their spreadsheet.
You cannot win these arguments. Indeed, the only way to win is to exit the conversation, before you forget the key lesson of Apple products: the tech doesn't matter. It's what you do with it that counts.
The 7 types of Android fanboy (and girl): EXTREME FANDROID
We've hit the jackpot. This person combines all of the above, with the exception of the unbiased biased. That would be too difficult to carry off. This dude loves Android not Google - indeed they wish that Android had 'stayed open'. Like Linux. They automatically think that everyone else is an Apple fanboy - apart from the journalists who are *obviously* being paid by Microsoft. And Apple.
They own only Android phones and tablets, as well as Android badges and tee-shirts. They may even have an Android tattoo. (These people should be approached only with caution.) They can quote all flavours of Android in historical order, and claim to know what all the upcoming flavours will be called. They understand what Google is on about when it talks about the Material Design language.
You cannot win with an EXTREME FANDROID. They only language they understand is praise of Android. So just let them gently be, reader. Let them be. (See also: 5 things Apple could learn from Google.)