The New Stupid iPhone/Android Flame War

June 30, 2010

I recently saw links to these two videos (one pro-HTC EVO, the other pro-iPhone) from several members of my Facebook network, and had a curious sense of déjà vu.

Warning: the videos contain language you may not necessarily want your children to hear.

While these vids are kind of funny to watch, I was instantly teleported back across time and space to about a decade ago to the height (at least, in my experience) of the Mac/PC flame war. Mac users were stupid because you couldn’t do anything for business or run Word. Windows users were stupid because their computers couldn’t do graphics and were soulless idiot boxes that couldn’t handle file names longer than 8.3.

This was of course before Apple had life infused back into it by Steve Jobs’ return, along with the successes of the iMac and iPod, and before Windows had some of its shine taken off by the embarrassment that was Vista. However, by now, most of those differences have largely evaporated. You can use Word on both. You can do graphics on both and you can do business applications on both, and Get a Mac advertisements (which have now been canceled) and their Windows counterparts aside, it really doesn’t matter - people use what they like and it’s OK.

So now the big flame war has been miniaturized to fit in our pocket in the form of smartphones, and it’s equally as stupid.

Here’s a crazy idea:

Buy whatever phone will make you happy. It really doesn’t matter.

What a crazy notion. It really doesn’t. In the end, I can buy whatever phone I want (full disclosure, I own an iPhone 3G and an upgrade to an iPhone 4 is most likely in the not-too-distant future) but the important part is just because I prefer the iPhone doesn’t mean you have to as well, and that choice does not make you a moron.

Some people want their megapixels, want to customize the crap out of the interface, and don’t want to be on AT&T. Fine. Go do that. Some people think the iPhone platform provides more polish and ease of use. Fine, that’s awesome too!

As a software developer, all this fragmentation in browsers and mobile devices does make my job harder, but at the end of the day I’m glad there is competition so that no platform can rest on its laurels and fail to bring me cool new features to geek out over.

So flame on if you must, but ask yourself: Does it really matter?