An accidental survey of Verge hardcore fans running Android (with fancy pie charts!)

So, I'm the guy who had the audacity to make a Paul countdown app out of hardly more than some tutorial code and a half-weekend's stab at remembering what little Java I ever knew (from a Comp-Sci intro course that I took half a decade ago and showed up to 4 classes of; I got a B-). I'll get back to that later, but for now I only mention that because by its very nature I've accidentally stumbled upon a sample population of the hardcore Verge fans. There are a lot of stats out there, and a lot of arguing about device adoption, Android versions, etc etc, and much of it happening on this very site. As such, I figured it'd be interesting to take a look at stats that relate to the people also most likely to be arguing about these things.

Now, I'm sure in ways The Verge itself has better users stats at its disposal from having published its own app. But I think, even with that in mind, these numbers are noteworthy. That's because the kinds of people that would actually install an app whose only purpose is to countdown the time left in Paul Miller's self-imposed exile from the internet are clearly fanatics, or at least really interested in The Verge. We could hypothesize endlessly about this, but suffice to say that what we have is a self-selecting sample population of people who are likely the ones most interested in this site (with the filter of "and use Android devices"). So without further ado, lets look at some of the fancy pie charts that the Play Store's developer console shows me!

Fancy Graph the First: Countries

So how does the hardcore of The Verge readership break down by country? Well, unsurprisingly there's a lot of US readership.

The rest follows somewhat logically. With the mostly US-centric nature of The Verge, Canada hits above its weight (population-wise) since so much news overlaps, and I've seen more than a few Canada-specific headlines (I'm a dual-citizen living in the frozen north myself, for the record; just the other day we got a stereotypically absurd amount of snow, ~30cm in one day). I'm curious as to how the "others" break down. Anyways, you'll notice this graph includes the top 10 countries overall for the "lifestyle" category (hey, it made poetic sense). Only India is remotely close in terms of share when comparing this app to the general category.

Fancy Graph the Second: Carriers

So what carriers do The Verge fans with Android phones trend towards? Lets take a gander:

Breaks down mostly how you'd expect based on the respective market shares in the countries, I'd think, other than HOLY SHIT T-MOBILE IS KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES. Seriously, last I had heard T-Mobile was at ~10% of the market, Sprint was ~17%, AT&T was ~32% and Verizon was ~34%. Those numbers are from Q2 2012, and for all subscriptions (ie. not merely smartphones, so certainly not merely Android phones), but still, this is not at all what I expected from how people talk about T-Mobile. Certainly at least from the Android users that love slash relentlessly follow The Verge, T-Mobile is right up there with AT&T in subscriptions.

Also, looking at the overall-in-lifestyle list, wait, LG runs a telecom too? The more you know.

UPDATE: Most of the other graphs haven't changed much, but with the modest latest uptick T-Mobile is up to second:

Fancy Graph the Third: OS Versions

Yeah, I've been teasing you all a bit so far (assuming anyone bothers to read this in the first place). We might argue a bit about countries, and a bit more about carriers, but it's good ol' Android Fragmentation that gets the most keyboards banged on around here, and that comes down to devices and versions.

It's worth noting that I'm declaring android:minSdkVersion="8" in AndroidManifest.xml, so only 2.2+ is allowed to try and run it. But general belief (and statements by Google) support that <2.2 is a rather small percentage of running devices, so I don't think that unfairly prejudices this sample. And with 4.2 being at a whopping ~65% with 4.1 at ~25%, combined we have ~90% of hardcore Verge fans running Android are on Jelly Bean. Now look over at Lifestyle; it's fairly extreme how the app users diverge (har har) from the people who normally download "lifestyle" apps. Some of this may well just be difference in countries; obviously a lot is the difference between people likely to download a silly countdown app about a journalist who went off the internet for a year and people who download "Must-Have Recipies from Better Home and Gardens". But a lot of it will be explained rather clearly in my final graph . . .

Fancy Graph the Fourth: Devices

For those of you who aren't "in the know", 'mako' is the LG-made Nexus 4. It cuts it off, but the top Galaxy Nexus is the HSPA+ variant; the CDMA one is in red. The purple S3 is the d2vzw (ie the Verizon variant) while the S2 is the GT-9100 (so not Verizon). If anyone knows for sure what the T03g is, let me know, since a quick Google search shows it's both the model # of a Dell 10" tablet (which seems...unlikely) and sometimes refers to the Galaxy Note 2 (which seems far, far more likely).

Anyways, perhaps not too surprisingly (but still very interesting, I think) a good quarter of Android devices used by Verge fans are Nexus 4's. Nexus devices in general shut out the top 4, and from there it (assuming the t03g is indeed the Note 2) merely drifts into Samsung non-Nexus phones with a brief valiant effort by the Tegra-3 variant of the HTC One X

A note about the app itself

The canonical thread is http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/24/4026142/paul-miller-offline-app; Feltzam coded the iOS app while Andrew Rockefeller designed it. The one I started was a lark, and partially a bit of a meta joke about how Android app developers didn't care about design (since I was literally just reading tutorials and looking at example code to write it initially, generally non-programmer that I am). Recently somethingrandom has pitched in and entirely overhauled the look of the app, and anyone else wanting to pitch in is more than welcome to submit patches or outright fork their own (I'm dual-licensing under GPLv3-or-later and copyleft-next; take your pick!).

The entire experience of writing and publishing an app has been extremely interesting so far. As someone who has long followed the wireless industry, it's like sneaking a peek behind the curtain, or at least stepping into the green room that the opening band gets.

If anyone actually found this post interesting, let me know! As time goes on and (hopefully) this Android app gets better and more popular, and perhaps branches out into a second app letting you relentlessly follow all aspects of Paul's online presence once he's back online (for all you lazy stalkers out there), I'd love to share these kinds of stats for anyone who's as perversely intrigued by them as I am.

UPDATE: I'm probably remiss to mention, there's another Android app out there by the user sarriel (forum post), and this entire app frenzy was kicked off originally by Genicus' "webapp" at pauldown.genicus.be, which has since been restyled to use Andrew Rockefeller's design. Cheers to everyone who's created and contributed to all these various apps so far; the motto for the Verge community should probably be "we don't just troll in the comments, though I guess we do that too." But snappier than that.

A note about posting this in Meta rather than Android Army

Well, this is an example of how categories can be inferior to tags, eh? But I felt in the end that this was more "meta" than anything else, and hell, if I post it in Android army how will people flame about Android fragmentation and all that jazz? Okay, where there's a troll there's a way, but still, I wanted to be as fair as possible.