Are tech writers in too deep?
I should prelude this to say that I've followed Verge staff for years, I'm a big fan and love tech. I listen every week to Josh et al giving their opinion on what companies like Google / HTC / Samsung etc are doing - and that's fine, it's interesting and entertaining to hear opinions from other tech fans. But I think that being a tech fan has it's disadvantages when analyzing the mobile industry, which a lot of writers on sites like The Verge forget and often make a mountain out of a molehill and lose all perspective on things. Don't get me wrong, I think that issues mentioned are important too.. but I acknowledge that a lot of regular smartphone users wont be bothered in the slightest.
Let's take android updates and fragmentation as an example. The majority of people buy their phone because they like it at that time, it meets their present needs and are not sold on the promise of what the phone may do in the future. I loved my SG2 on gingerbread, it worked fine and I didn't buy it on the hope of getting ICS. When the ICS update rolled out, I enthusiastically told a friend with an SG2 that she can get ice cream sandwich, and she replied what's an ice cream sandwich? She's not into tech so much but still a pretty geeky postdoc in molecular biology. After this encounter I realized that actually not a lot of people I know, know or care about these things.
The actions of the mobile industry are determined by the effect they have on the majority of people. If no one will buy a phone that doesn't have stock ICS then any company not producing a stock ICS phone will go out of business. For a lot of people, Touchwiz is the Android operating system - it's all they know, and they dont have any idea stock android is better, and thus there is no demand for phones to produce stock ICS phones. They don't know that stock ICS is better than Sense 4.0 because they are happy with what they have. And people that arn't happy can flash a new ROM.
Josh et al can pine for stock ICS on all phones, but at the end of the day they miss the point. For tech fans like us, we look at the smallest details and make up our minds about the pro's and con's of stock ICS vs a skin, but for the majority of people who just want to use nice hardware to run their favorite apps and games etc, the ROM they have is just a bridge to those things.
The only analogy I could come up with is fans of The Hunger Games books being really upset with the movie because it left out the cave scenes between Katniss and Peeta (as an example), whereas all the other movie goers experience the movie not aware and not caring that these scenes have been omitted.
So I guess the point of this piece is just to say that when looking at what the mobile industry does, its probably best to take a step back and not look at things completely from a tech fan's perspective, as things important to us aren't always important to every other consumer.