The XDA Files: The Industry Through the Eyes of The Community – Part 1
Most days we post at least one poll on the XDA Twitter account, in fact, many in office debates are settled by our followers there. Looking back on these, it became clear that it would be a shame to let them just disappear into the depths of Twitter posts, so here we go; this is the first part in a series looking at the outcome of these polls.
Before the developer preview was announced we asked you what version you were running. Unfortunately in the lead by a clear margin was 5.1.x with almost half of the votes (49%). Marshmallow trailed behind on 27%, with 5.0.x sitting at 14% and the remaining 10% residing on android 4.4.4 or below! We then asked which Android release was most exciting and not surprising Lollipop once again took the lead with 46% of votes, interesting Marshmallow remained the same as those who had it installed on 27%. KitKat and Jelly Bean trailed behind on 17% and 10% respectively.
So the first and most obvious question we could have asked about Android N is of course the name, a staggering 69% of you believed that Google would once again go down the same route as they did with KitKat and choose a branded name such as Nutella, 22% called Nougat and just 2% believed Google would call this latest version Nonpareil (see image above). The remaining 7% chose to comment with their answer which included answers such as: NyQuil, Nerds, Nutter Butter, Neapolitan, and nankhatai.
The day of release, we enquired who was planning on trying the N preview. A little over a quarter (27%) replied that they would be trying the preview at the first available opportunity, with 21% stating that would be waiting a short while before they began testing. 36% were not going to try the preview with the remaining 16% being unsure. Three days later we followed up by asking who was now daily driving it, surprisingly 39% were still not aware at this point that the preview was available, leaving just 17% who had made a complete switch over.
On February 1st Google celebrated reaching 1 billion Gmail accounts, we had to ask just how many accounts you each owned and again the results were very close. Only 1% of users didn’t own an account but the remainder came in at about a third each with 36% of you owning 1 account, 31% having 2 accounts and 32% of you having 3 or more accounts, which begs the question, how many individual people are using Gmail? Moving on to the subject Google play Edition devices, 79% of you missed the GPE Program, while 61% believed that all devices should ship only as GPE, 29% disagreed, with the remaining 10% were unsure as to what GPEs were.
Last year at I/O Google showed off Project ARA, a truly modular smartphone courtesy of Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) division, and since then we have heard very little, besides a short announcement that the project had been delayed due to issues with the magnets holding the modules in place. We asked if you still had any interest in Project ARA and were not surprised that exactly quarter of you were no longer interested due to the substantial amount of time that had passed between news updates, 12% of you had not been interested in the first place and 40% were still excited to see what else they had to offer. This left just 12% of voters who did not know what Project ARA was.
With Google’s chrome being the most widely used web browser (by market share) it is hardly surprising that Google.com and regional variants are seeing less traffic thanks to the Omnibox replacing the need to navigate there. That being said when we asked our followers “Do you ever use the “I’m feeling lucky” button on Google?” 15% of you did not know to what we were referring, with just 2% using it often and 14% saying the used it on occasion. This leaves the vast majority with 69% of users never using the tool.
Apple has always been a touchy subject for many Android fans, so it was no surprise that two-thirds (67%) of you stated you would never consider buying an iPhone, while just under a quarter (22%) of you had owned an iPhone previously. 60% of those users who stated that they had previously owned a iPhone claimed that they would not buy another. However, In a follow up question we asked if users owned any devices running iOS, roughly half (53%) did not, and the remaining 47% was divided between “Yes and I enjoy it” (23%), “Yes and I hate it” (7%) and the remainder (17%) chose to not answer either way.
When asked if users would use Apple’s Force Touch technology if it came to Android a just a quarter of you replied with, no. The remainder being divided between “Maybe sometimes” (56%) and “All the time” (20%). Turning to the future of the company, only 22% of users answered that they believed Apple would make smaller devices “cool” once more, 28% believed that larger phones would retain their popularity regardless of the iPhone SE. Exactly 50% were undecided on this question.
Displays and Size
Size is a huge factor in choosing a phone, and ultimately one of the deciding factors when we choose a device to daily drive. Over half of you (55%) preferred your phone displays to be between 5.1” and 5.4” with smaller (22%) and larger displays (23%) both being less preferred. On the subject of small phones, we asked which you thought was the best all round “small” phone for early 2016. The OnePlus X shot to an early lead with 40% of the votes. Alas the HTC A9 trailed behind with a disappointing 12%. The (under-appreciated?) Z5 Compact took just 35% of the votes leaving the remaining 13% to spent on jokes such as the Note 5, 6P and Nokia 3310.
With always-on displays having been the focus of a lot of news earlier this year it would have been remiss of us not to ask your thoughts. 17% of you immediately stated that a smart watch removes the need for them while exactly half of you believed them to be a waste of battery. Only a third of you actually saw a need for them. Moving closer to the edge of the display, after our article on misleading marketing and the black border around displays we turned to you. 76% of you reported that you had a black border around your screen, although several comments mentioned that until we had drawn attention to the fact, the users had not noticed they were there.
Funny and Cultural
Have you ever been sure your phone was vibrating in your pocket when it wasn’t, then you are not alone. 90% of you said that either often (38%) or occasionally (52%) you were sure that their phone had received a notification when it had not, only 10% were free from the curse that is phantom notifications. On the same topic of notifications, we asked users to check their phone and report back on how many notifications they currently had. 49% of you had none, 17% had just one, just under a quarter of you had between two and five and the remaining 11% had over 5.
Christmas day rolled around once again when the thought occurred that since the day is considered to be an important occasion for spending time with friends and family, we asked do you check your phone while at the dinner table with friends and/or family. We were surprised by how close this one came in at with 45% of you saying you did check your phone. To follow up on this we then asked if you took your phone to the bathroom with you, a staggering 79% of you said you did! Interestingly we received many comments asking why we had not included an option for stating that you owned a bathroom tablet.
Xiaomi may be becoming ever more popular but that doesn’t mean their mascot the Mi Bunny is any better than the other mascots out there or their name is any easier to pronounce. We asked who would win in a fight between Linux’s Tux, Xiaomi’s Mi Bunny, Reddit’s Alien and Microsoft’s Clippy. (We like to think Cid would be better than this). 49% of you voted for Tux, followed quickly by Clippy at 26%, Alien at 22% and last but not least the Mi Bunny at just 13%. Afterward, we posed the question “Which took you longer to learn to pronounce correctly?” 51% of you said Xiaomi (Shao me) with 49% of you saying Huawei (Hwah way) had taken longer.
We posed the following hypothetical situation: “A phone has 6GB RAM, 250GB storage, and a faster SoC than the Snapdragon 820, it’s well priced but is also horrifically ugly, do you buy it?”. Only 36% of you said you would not because design is important to you, 18% of voters did not know if they would, leaving 46% of you who would buy the device, feeling you could get over the poor aesthetics.
And finally, perhaps the most important question of all: Only a third (33%) of you correctly believe Superman would win in a fight against Batman!
Do any of the results surprise you? Is there anything we should ask before our next XDA Files article? Leave a comment below!