Android help

It's time to spill the deepest, darkest secret we have here at Android Central. It's one that folks get close to figuring out but for some reason have a hard time understanding with any real clarity. But it's simple. And I almost hesitate to share it in fear that others will emulate it. Are you ready? Here it comes.

We're here to help.

When you get down to it, it's that simple. Before we do any post — be it the nerdiest of the nerdy or something ridiculously simple — we ask ourselves (or we should ask ourselves), "Will this help a reader?"

Now that's kind of an easy answer. It's easy to argue that any post helps someone, whether it helps them to do something, or learn something, or save money, or just helps to entertain them. But the premise is sound. And that goes for the super simple posts that we've done as part of our push for more "reference"-type content (read: simple or boring), as well as the more in-depth reviews and features that we do. It's all about helping folks. None of this should be a surprise to anyone — I explained it in this space some four months ago. We'll continue to do the great work we've always done. And we'll continue do more simple, "reference" posts.

It's always struck me as kind of funny when folks more advanced in the ways of Android look down at posts that help someone who just picked up a phone for the first time, or who might be looking at buying their first Android. (And they seem to be bitching more than normal lately.) For one, it shows a distinct lack of appreciation for the sheer number of Android devices being sold. And a lack of respect for the newbies. But more than that, it shows an ignorance of the way things work. You think writing that sort of post is fun for us? (Hint: Not so much.) Do you think we'd rather do that instead of playing with the hot new phone? (Which we're absolutely still doing.) Or going to an important event? (Which we're also still doing.) Or debunking the latest viral fallacy.

I could go on. Folks get such tunnel vision and focus on something they don't like, then completely miss the forest for the trees. (Or in this case, saplings?)

And do you think we'd continue to do those more simple stories if we didn't have evidence that shows people are searching for and reading that sort of content? Do you honestly think we'd waste our time on something no one is reading? We're smarter than that. And the proof is pretty clear. The notion that simple posts can't live in the same universe as something more expert and nerdy is as lazy and ill-informed as it is silly.

No, we do those posts because people are reading them. They are seeking out that sort of help. We have data that shows this, and it's pretty obvious. And those are the people who we all can serve and help grow in to the next generation of Android experts. Don't like 'em? No worries. Don't read 'em. If you're a publisher who turns your nose up at that sort of thing, well, um, keep up the great work. Or something.

But us? We're here to help.

And in other news ...

  • I've switched over to the OnePlus One this week. There's a lot to like there. It's still too big for my taste, and it's fun to think of CyanogenMod in the same context as you would any other manufacturer software customization. But the biggest problem is still that you can't easily buy the damn thing, and that's still a shame.
  • Remember that Andrew has already reviewed the OnePlus One, but I'll probably write something up in a week or two.
  • Speaking of reviews, we've converted a few old ones to an updated review template. If you notice that comments are missing, that's why. We'll get on that this week.
  • I hope Jerry is wrong in his prediction that the Nexus 4 won't get the Android L release. But I also wouldn't bet against. Fifty-fifty chance, I'd say.
  • Note to self (and Jerry): Need to go back into those old prediction posts and see how we (Jerry) did.
  • I'm still amazed at just how bad the Facebook permissions stories that went viral managed to be. If you're looking for an example of shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater, that's it.
  • And then there's the Xiaomi server thing. A good response from Xiaomi and Barra, I think, and I can't help but feel more than a tinge of xenophobia in all that. On the other hand, China hacks the shit out of things, right?
  • I still don't know what to do about the Google Play Music authorizations thing. I love Google Play Music. I get that most folks don't need to de-authorize more than four devices every couple months. But I can't help but notice that I can read all the books and watch all the movies and use all the apps I've bought on every single device I own. I think it's pretty clear who to blame here, but I also think Google has the muscle (and money) to do the right thing by its users.

That's it for this week, I think. Things are about to get real busy around here. Everybody have a good one.