Jun 6, 2011
Android and iOS’ differences are never more apparent than when studying the media coverage of the two platforms. Almost universally, each platform’s media seems to cover entirely different things than the other platform.
iOS sites are vastly more focused on apps and the user experience of iOS. This is in part because Apple releases one new iteration of iOS hardware per year; this happens 3 times a year with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but because of this limited amount of hardware to discuss, sites can’t just focus on rumormongering and discussion of Apple hardware. As such, sites that cover apps on iOS have really taken off; look at sites like our very own 148Apps, Touch Arcade and Slide to Play. These sites discuss hardware when appropriate, but their daily focus is covering apps and games, and discussing them, with hardware discussion when appropriate. It does not dominate the discussion, so discovery of apps and games is far easier on iOS (while still difficult) because there are notable sites out there to talk about prominent apps.
However, Android sites are way more focused on the hardware than on the app side of Android. I keep track of various Android news sites, and news on various new pieces of Android hardware is what powers the Android media discussion. So much news and rumor mongering is about new phones coming out, like the HTC EVO 3D, and whatever new Droid is coming out on Verizon. There’s rarely ever an opportunity to talk about Android itself, when a vast majority of the media sites covering Android are talking about the hardware that runs Android, instead of Android itself. This may be a case of what the user community wants to hear – after all, there is a lot of discussion on forums about the hardware itself, and hacking and custom roms. It just seems imbalanced – shouldn’t there be a market for talking about the games and apps, like what we’re trying to do on Android Rundown? This is not saying that sites aren’t covering games and apps at all, but that there’s comparatively little attention paid to them. For those that already have phones that they’re happy with, what does this constant gazing into the future with hardware do?
I have thought that without a major player in Android’s app coverage (which we are striving to be), it is part of why the Android app market has suffered; there is no way for a groundswell of coverage for an Android app to develop at all, because all the discussion is about new pieces of hardware, instead of covering the actual usage of the devices. The signal to noise ratio on Android media is very low, and the skew may be hurting the platform, as media largely continues to focus on the hardware, rather than actual relevant Android user experience. Android is suffering under the weight of the people that cover it.