Flappy Phil

Flappy Bird haters aren't wrong — but we're also in the minority.​

Maybe I just don't get it. I'm all for mindless, time-wasting games. I think being able to shut down most of your brain for a few minutes and push some pixels around — then stop and pick right back up where you left off — is a good thing. I just didn't think Flappy Bird was a particularly good game. To each his own, I suppose. (I veg out with Jetpack Joyride and Plants vs. Zombies 2 all the time.)

And I wasn't alone. In every Flappy Bird story we ran, commenters were on my side. (At least that's how I saw it. This was personal.) Flappy Bird — insofar as mindless, free games go — was not good.

But here's the thing, and it's something we recognized fairly early (even if I took my sweet-ass time giving in to it): Flappy Bird was (and still is) a treasure trove of traffic. Make no mistake about it — folks were searching the web for ways to beat Flappy Bird. How to "win" at Flappy Bird. And, yes, how to cheat at Flappy Bird. It was downloaded tens of millions of times on iOS and Android. We'd be stupid to not write about it. (But that doesn't mean I had to like it.)

So it's not like nobody was playing Flappy Bird. Make no mistake, we haters are in the minority. We pass on bullshit stories all the time. Flappy Bird, for better or worse, became too big to ignore. But I won't be sorry to see it go.

Expect some site down time tonight

By the way, we're taking some time out from our non-stop Flappy Bird coverage to do some pretty major site maintenance this evening. Android Central has been humming along quite nicely for some time, and we didn't want to break anything. But now we're the only Mobile Nations property on a legacy version of our content management system, and it's time to update. 

The update shouldn't change the way anything looks to you fine folks, but it sets up the back end for a host of new features, both on the web, and with APIs for the Android Central app. (For those of you begging for search in the app, this CMS update is one of the things that had to happen first.)

And it's just the start of things to come. We never get to do things as quickly as I might like, but that doesn't mean I'm not excited for what lies ahead. Thanks for your patience as we spend our Sunday evening (and Monday morning, no doubt) sprucing up the joint. And cross your fingers for us, will ya?

A few other thoughts on the week that was ...

  • We're starting into the silly season of leaks. But as we mentioned on our most recent podcast, it's important to remember that there are various stages of prototypes, fake IDs, and out and out Canary Traps. Leaks are fun, but I'm more interested in the finished product.
  • So keep that in mind as we continue to see HTC fare trickle out in the weeks ahead.
  • Speaking of HTC, they can't not have something new for Mobile World Congress, right? That'd be like showing up to prom wearing the same dress as last year.
  • That said, it wouldn't surprise me if we didn't see the mythical "M8" — the expected successor to the HTC One — until after Barcelona.
  • Speaking of MWC, keep this in the back of your head — Nokia and Android for emerging markets. Not mainstream, but not unimportant either.
  • Why is a U.S. senator wasting time on a single piece of Glassware that's not even in open beta, for a $1,500 semi-prototype wearable — for an app that's really no different than if it were on a smartphone, or in a web browser on a computer.
  • That's not to say I'm not glad folks are talking about privacy issues — I just hope we (and, especially, our legislators) remember the difference between the trees and the forest.
  • Great looks back at the HTC One and Moto G from Alex and Richard, respectively. I'll be writing up a six-month look at the Moto X this week.

And with that, it's nice outside. Time for some sun, family and food. Catch y'all on the flip side.


Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: The Flappy Bird paradox


I bet 75% of those installs were people installing it, playing, losing, throwing their phone at the wall, uninstalling, then going back and reinstalling it, and doing that 10 times.


Or, so not true it's scary... Anyway, Flappy Bird is a horrendous game. Couldn't agree more with Phil.

Are you serious? I haven't played Flappy Bird, but as I understand, it's a ripoff of the Helicopter flash game, which itself is several years old:


I'm not lying when I say I spent HOURS playing this game. If I had to rank my all time fav games, Helicopter might be in the top 10. Maybe some people just don't like the fact that it's not another shitty FPS, but in terms of time wasters, I think this ranks as one of the best ever.

Agreed, I don't get it. That was a hugely popular time wasting flash game probably more than a decade ago, why all the hate on flappy bird which is essentially the same gameplay?

I still have a couple months in my part of the country before it's nice outside. Enjoy!

Posted via Android Central App

I am kinda bummed that the Nokia Nomandy is not a higher end pure android device. Would love to try out android on a Nokia. I love the build quality and camera on my Lumia 925!

Supposed to be in the mid 60's later this week in Dallas. Lots of crap between today and Thursday though...enough already...

Meh, more features coming to the AC app? The suite of MN apps for Android almost makes me want to switch back to Android just a bit to get a taste. Damn it, stop doing this to me.

Anyway, I rage quit Flappy Bird after a few games. As far as games go I get it but I just have 0 desire to become angry at a game. That is what I have my day job for.

too bad android users won't have to worry, we can download apks ;)

Posted via a Deknoxed, Rooted, Xposed AT&T Galaxy S III.

Glad I could bring sunshine to your day

Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

It's an election year Phil. Expect a lot of stupid ideas to be thrown out there to see what sticks to the wall.

Posted via Android Central App

There were too many flappy bird posts in these couple weeks esp from AC that's why I had to mute all your posts on G+ , I guess now it's over , too much hype for that app.

I was one of those people begging for a search feature in the AC android app.

Also, I love Flappy Bird. I play it all the time when on the toilet and when in class waiting for the professor to show up

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I think there is a bigger issue more important than the Flappy Bird coverage that deserves to be discussed in the weekly editor's blog, and that's the story you wrote on the Google Doodle for gay athletes.

I doubly-question why that story was published. Just because Google does something doesn't mean that it is story-worthy guaranteed. In this instance it had nothing to do with software, hardware, carrier pricing plans, etc. If any other company does that on their website, it is not AC news.

I really think this is one story you should have passed on. Views on politics and personal beliefs of that nature do not have a bearing on smartphones whatsoever. So Google posted that doodle. Good for them, but it isn't tech news which is why I come to AC. I have other sites for political statements. In the future AC should avoid such stories.

Which leads me into my next point: the comments section was nothing short of a disaster. Of course, with a charged topic like it was, did you expect what was clearly an unmoderated thread to remain civil? Yes you put the mercy kill on it with the lock, but that was way too late. The damage had been done.

I maintain the story should not have been posted at all, but if I concede on that part for discussion's sake, then the comments section should never have been enabled to begin with. You should have seen that cesspool of vitrol developing a mile away. If you didn't, or if you condone it, then those are further issues to be addressed. It isn't the first time comments were turned off for a story (story on Batman app posted around the time word broke of Aurora, CO tragedy), so this should have had them turned off as well.

I don't care to see anyone's opinions on the Doodle itself, lest we revisit that disaster. Also, I refuse to let one instance out of thousands of positives ruin my overall AC experience, so I'm not one of those blind rage "boycott 'em" Internet tough guys. However, this situation is more important than a Flappy Bird blog entry, and I hope going forward AC focuses on tech news over political stuff, and uses better discretion (and also moderation) over its comments section.

If you're so complaint about Phil's post about that doodle, then you should be glad he didn't talk about it in this editorial.

Additionally, I suppose you're wrong on the AC's news responsibilities. Folks there keep an eye on everything (or most part) related to Google, Android, Chrome OS, etc., so why not cover this doodle? There's no way it's not related to Google or technology; your conception of tech news is highly restrictive.

Plus, it's not Phil's or AC's fault the overreaction of the readers. You can't just avoid a certain subject just because it's passive of depreciation from the readers. If Google launches a Holocaust doodle or a Martin Luther King doodle, is it wrong publish on Android Central? Of course not, and it'll be even silly to ignore it. And yes, it is technology related, like it or not.

Posted via Android Central App

Personally, I wish they'd keep it Android-only. I don't come here to read about Google or Chromebooks (unless it is Android related). If something like this is to be covered, it'll probably end up on Ars or TheVerge anyway. It really has no place here.

For the record, I don't have an opinion one way or the other about the Doodle. I just think it's off-topic here.

I agree, but we're also seeing some interoperability between Chrome OS and Android. Plus, the same kind of coverage is done by WP Central and iMore, and it's all done leaving the big room for mobile.

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You complain about the vitriol of that comments section. So, what do you do? You post about it, when it wasn't even being discussed, at all.

Instead of posting this here (where it wasn't even discussed in this Editor's piece), you could have just sent Phil an email outlining your concerns.

Phil and the other Mobile Nations folks don't work for you. So, to think that they're going to stop writing about stories that you don't agree with is beyond foolish, especially when you can just as easily avoid those stories that you wish not to see/read.

As for the comments on that article, everyone's going to have an opinion, even if it's an unpopular one. Censorship helps no one; and, I think that you're clearly missing the point of Android Central. It's a news site, first and foremost. As Google is a tech company, they write about things that Google (or other companies, for that matter) does that will affect some or all of us. And, as the Olympics and Russia are controversial topics at the moment, they wrote about it.

If you didn't agree with the story (or the comments, which were pretty intense), then you should have avoided both.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Moo Cow brings up good points. I did that (very short) post because I believe it was a nice gesture that deserved a little attention. Funny how just a few words can get folks so riled up, especially when we posted more important pieces all week — including one just minutes before.

I'm fine with folks disagreeing that we did it.

And I'm saddened at the turn the comments took overnight. I'd hoped folks might have been able to be civil, for once. I was wrong.

The comments were pretty insane, lol. That's the price of free speech, I suppose.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I am not sure if I hit "insane" on the comments myself but yeah the unfortunate price of freedom is that you have to deal with the other side being insane (I am not picking a side, both sides go to the extreme sometime)


I completely agree, brother. +9000

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Welcome to the interwebs

Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

I can't believe how many posts there has been on here about this one stupid game.

Posted via Android Central App

Didn't mean it as a criticism necessarily just seems like it came out of nowhere.

That said, 6 in 2 days is a lot.

Posted via Android Central App

More flappy bird..REALY..I am removing the AC app now and removing them from pulse..I'm done

Posted via Android Central App


Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I hadn't heard about it until the first AC post, either. But neither have I not seen it all over the place. Six references over the course of a week, for an app that *exploded* in popularity (especially when most of those references are along the lines of "WTF is up with this game becoming so popular all of a sudden?") is hardly grounds for vowing to never read a particular blog again. That's like saying that you're never going to watch a particular news channel again because you didn't like the weather forecast.

Oh enough already with this flappy crappy turd... isn't there any other news to deal with in the android universe?

Phil- I read the linked article about Senator Franken's concerns and they do not seem unreasonable at all. The explorer program for Google Glass is being expanded all the time, and it is best to nip these sorts of things in the bud before they have widespread circulation - once the apk is out there, there is no way to take it back. You yourself complain about how legislation is often reactive and several steps behind where the technology is, and that it is written by people who don't understand the issues. This does not strike me in that category at all.

I didn't say the concerns were unreasonable. 

I questioned whether a U.S. senator should be worried about a single, unreleased, closed-beta app.

I meant I don't think it is unreasonable to bring up concerns on behalf of the American public while this app is unreleased and in closed beta. You can disagree, but I would prefer that the legal parameters for this type of app are established before they are released and widely distributed.

Posted via Android Central App

Part of the problem is exactly what you touched on: reading the comments on Franken's web site, it seems like he doesn't fully understand even what he is asking. At the very least, it indicates a general lack of understand at how the internet works.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if you are in public, you have no privacy. If you put something on the internet, where anyone can find it, and they do, that is not a violation of your privacy. This whole idea of people claiming it's a violation of privacy that someone might find things that they themselves made public online is absurd.

Can't believe grown people installed that nuisance some call a 'game'

This message was brought to you by the numbers 0 and 1

Flappy rules. Bird, fish, pig,...... flappy kingdom should be our destination.

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This game was also "stolen" by people on BB10 downloading the free game straight off Google Play. The nerve!

Posted via Android Central App on my BlackBerry Z10

Lol, that was weeks ago. You can't still be bent outta shape about that post, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Yeah just to see what the fuss is about it downloaded, played it, got frustrated and deleted it. It seems good enough of a game for people who like that style of play my not my thing.

Posted via Android Central App

I got to play around with Glass in Atlanta yesterday at Google's event.

The translation feature is going to be friggggging amazing when this gets out. I mean, holy cow...the words actually morph into English on your screen! Wtf! There's nothing that just shows the translation...it actually changes whatever is in front of your view into your target language automagically...You watch the letters change.

It. Is. Incredible.

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Wow, that does sound cool!!

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I got to demo this feature myself a few weeks ago and it was nothing short of mind blowing. In the 20 minutes or so that I got to play with a pair of Glass, I can tell you that it really is just like you see in the example videos. From what I saw, Google has done an amazing job with Glass, and I look forward to just how far the technology can go.

Everyone talks about how "bad" Glass is, but I think it has the potential to be one of *the* most influential pieces of technology since the advent of the microchip. I can't wait until they're not $1500 anymore, and I can afford one :)

I'm totally ready to be a Glass-hole, Google. Beam me up!

I didn't like how you guys posted all of the flappy birds news pieces; I didn't understand why. However, after reading this article it made more sense. Flappy bird is highly searched so it would be idiotic to not do posts on it to increase traffic. After all, you guys are still a business that needs to make money. Smart move.

Posted via Android Central App

Way to make a big deal out of nothing. Strike 1

posted with a galaxy note 3. h8ers gon' h8. live2win#swagface#switchedOn*_*

Nokia making an Android phone running Microsoft services is just as awesome as Amazon making an Android tablet running Amazon services.

This openness is the beauty of Android.

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yeah except the forking aspect. One company doing it, ok. They really do not advertise the "android" aspect.

MS will take full advantage of it IMHO.

Everyone is glossing over the fact that there will be no late night AC tonight.

Personally I am upset. I guess I am going to have to hit the politics tab on my other favorite website...

or curling...I likes me some curling...

Flappy Bird hater? I only hate it because I have to see some stupid story about this stupid game every single day, not to mention all the posted screenshots of people's high scores. Enough is enough.