Oh, look, I know how that headline sounds. But, please, walk with me a little and I'll buy you an ice cream.
In this peculiarly materialistic world, brands can become the object of quite passionate detestation. I confess that there are certain brands, usually for entirely irrational reasons, that make much of my bodily hair rebel against gravity. Birkenstock, for example.
But our subject today is whether the Android brand attracts, at its core, not those who love Android, but those who hate Apple.
I ask because the Business Insider published the results of a survey it conducted that offer some prickly conclusions.
Among more than 2,000 respondents, the survey seems to have found polarization beyond all comments sections of tech blogs. The majority of these public-spirited people were Android users.
The majority of these Android users purportedly would never consider buying an iPhone, for one very simply reason: They "hate Apple."
Indeed, only 31.2 percent of these Android users would consider buying an iPhone if it "worked better with non-iPhone apps and products." While 55.7 percent ticked the box that said, "Nothing: I hate Apple."
Being somewhat survey-cynical, I am guessing that the mere existence of a box that said "hate Apple" was far too difficult for some enthusiastic people to resist. But is it possible that one of the Android brand's most compelling characteristics is its appeal to those who have an irrational (or merely rational) hate of Apple?
The Android brand is increasingly becoming "a brand." The little green short-legged robot thingy is adorning stores, ads, and even dancing in a frenzied manner in shopping malls. (Video embedded here. Please enjoy.)
There are many who are happy with their Android phones, and, if this survey is to be believed, the majority of these people will upgrade only to another Android phone. But the results of this survey throw up a difficult conundrum: if the majority of Android users won't buy Apple because of "hate," then do they secretly believe that the iPhone is actually better than their own phone, but produced by a loathsome company?
One has to be also somewhat open-eyed about who responded to this survey.
The majority of respondents apparently said that the most important things for them when choosing a smartphone were "features" and "platform." This seems remarkably left-brained and therefore remarkably inhuman. Which suggests that many of the respondents might have been tech-leaning insiders, rather than a true cross-section of the outside world.
I have a strange hunch that ease of use, simplicity of design and, yes, the cool factor might just enjoy prominent seats at the decision-making high table for many people. It's harder in a survey to explain how a product is emotionally better, rather than rationally so. It's easier to say that you just hate another brand. So it may well be that Android users believe their phones are easy to use, well-designed, and cool. But the survey may not have given them the chance to explain it.
It's also tempting to conclude that if the Android brand really lives on a pedestal of Apple-loathing, then one can only wonder how many brands have ever had lengthy success purely by virtue of not being the "hated" brand. Do, for example, people stick with Verizon merely because it's not AT&T? Or might there be some more positive notion?
Some believe that the iPhone succeeds simply because people assume it's better and so don't even try anything else. But wouldn't it be lovely to learn why Android makes people happy, rather than this quaint and, frankly, suspicious notion that most of its users are card-carrying Apple-haters?