Facebook forces some workers to switch from iPhone to Android to reflect majority of users & new mar

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2015
Facebook's chief product officer is reportedly requiring a number of team members to switch from iPhones to Android phones so they can experience how most people interact with the social network.




"I am mandating a switch of a whole bunch of my team over to Android, just because people, when left up to their own devices, will often prefer an iPhone," Chris Cox revealed at a recent Facebook press event, according to Wired.

Facebook workers need to be "reporting bugs and living in the same experience that most Facebook users experience today," Cox explained.

The iPhone is extremely popular in some countries like the U.S., U.K., and Japan, but some 82.8 percent of the world's smartphones are based on Android. Most people can't afford an iPhone -- which starts at $649 for an unlocked 16-gigabyte iPhone 6s -- whereas the low cost of Android development allows for a mix of low- and high-end devices. To keep growing, Facebook is looking to expand deeper into poorer countries like India.

Much of the company's mobile development has been iPhone-centric. When it rolls out new features, the iPhone is often the first device to get them.

In October Facebook launched an optional "2G Tuesdays" program, encouraging its staff to try a simulated 2G-level connection, since many people in developing countries don't have access to 3G or 4G and can't make use of media-rich content.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 102
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,422member
    I pity those that have to use it. However, it does make sense.
  • Reply 2 of 102
    I wonder which group would their advertisers want to insure get the best experience. Considering that if they can't afford an iPhone the prospect of having lots of disposable cash is remote.
  • Reply 3 of 102
    I know this will get some comments. I do like the way this guy thinks...I had a similar situation in my company where our corporate office was running in a standard networked pc environment while our stores were running thin clients. My IT director was basing decisions off of what was happening at corporate. This resulted in CRAP service/performance at our stores. The ones who generate the revenue to pay our salaries! A combination of creating our store environment at corporate and in field travels helps elevate the situation.
  • Reply 4 of 102
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by genovelle View Post



    I wonder which group would their advertisers want to insure get the best experience. Considering that if they can't afford an iPhone the prospect of having lots of disposable cash is remote.



    That is a valid point!

  • Reply 5 of 102
    Cox will soon have his staff eating Ramen three days a week to experience their customers' impoverished livelihoods.
  • Reply 6 of 102
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by genovelle View Post



    I wonder which group would their advertisers want to insure get the best experience. Considering that if they can't afford an iPhone the prospect of having lots of disposable cash is remote.



    It is simple, ~500 million iPhone users are sold by Facebook to advertisers. This income in turn is used to develop Android version for the remaining ~2 billion.  

  • Reply 7 of 102
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member

    On the surface, it seems like a reasonable course of action however there is a major flaw in his logic. I am guessing those moving from an iPhone to Android will get a high end, well supported Android phone. The problem being that most Android users don't have such phones. They buy bottom tier phones, often running older Android (4.x).

     

    Given that reality, I think the switch will be rather pointless.

  • Reply 8 of 102
    This makes sense, if the majority of your customers use one device, you would want to know how their experience differs. There are several downfalls to this though. For one, I know it said they were switching a "whole bunch" of the employees over to android, but you don't want to ignore the other devices, so I am glad they are not switching all of them. Also, I wonder if Facebook will be footing the bill for changing them over as many people use their personal phones for business. Personally, I wouldn't want to switch, let alone have to pay for the new device.
  • Reply 9 of 102
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,986member
    Low cost of Android development? Another article said android development was more expensive. It's not the software that costs less it's the crappy hardware most android devices use. Get your facts straight.
  • Reply 10 of 102
    That should be quite a few people then - provided that they want at least each combination of android version and handset model covered once ;)
  • Reply 11 of 102
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    I agree that it's a smart move to put certain employees into the shoes of an Android user, if the Android user happens to own a pair of shoes to their name, and not all do I would presume.

     

    Using a first rate smartphone like the iPhone can definitely give an experience that is not representative of what the majority experiences and Facebook needs to intentionally lower the bar so that their employees can be more in sync with the majority of their users with their cheap or BOGOF Android phones.

  • Reply 12 of 102
    I would keep my iPhone for off hours, but at work I'll get clunky android and forced 2g connection with a personal barista that makes me coffee between the clicks.
  • Reply 13 of 102
    It makes sense to do this providing that a) the company pays for the phones and contract cost and b) that the android phones represent different brands and levels of user experience.

    I presume that he also has staff testing and developing in the different computer environments that Facebook targets — iPad, Surface, Android tablets, PC, Mac, Chrome and *nix. Desktop and portables included when and where there a possible distinct user experiences to be had.

    If not, then his approach, while valid is inconsistent.
  • Reply 14 of 102
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,180member
    The impression is wrong that everyone wants an iPhone, and as a consequence, if they don't have one, they cannot afford it.
    In Europe we have to pay €750 (that's $830) for the entry 6s, and that's a lot of money you can spend on other things possibly a lot better balanced in price and performance (it's also demotivating that Apple throws away most of its huge profits, you are paying for).

    But on topic: Cox seems like an ahole, but then again that's a good fit for Facebook, so I say LIKE (or can you speak in binary now and enter DISLIKE?, maybe they have to test that ...).
  • Reply 15 of 102
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member

    Good idea but still seems like a race to the bottom. Maybe this is a good thing considering the subpar quality of Facebook's software - meaning they will clean up bugs in the Android release. Let's hope they turn off the audio <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 16 of 102
    wigbywigby Posts: 687member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by knowitall View Post



    The impression is wrong that everyone wants an iPhone, and as a consequence, if they don't have one, they cannot afford it.

    In Europe we have to pay €750 (that's $830) for the entry 6s, and that's a lot of money you can spend on other things possibly a lot better balanced in price and performance (it's also demotivating that Apple throws away most of its huge profits, you are paying for).



    But on topic: Cox seems like an ahole, but then again that's a good fit for Facebook, so I say LIKE (or can you speak in binary now and enter DISLIKE?, maybe they have to test that ...).



    But aren't you saying the price of iPhone is too high for you? If you are thinking about spending money on other things, that's fine but that also means you cannot afford it which is the perception you are arguing against.

  • Reply 17 of 102

    Indeed.

     

    I've been a mobile developer for 10 years now, starting with feature phones. And yes, prior to the iPhone, the worst phone imaginable is usually the one you have to target. Back in the day it was Samsung A660. Terrible, but it was the cheapest. So it was the priority.

     

    The experience will be misleading unless they make them use the awful Android phones.

  • Reply 18 of 102
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,180member
    wigby wrote: »

    But aren't you saying the price of iPhone is too high for you? If you are thinking about spending money on other things, that's fine but that also means you cannot afford it which is the perception you are arguing against.

    Price is just one consideration, it was just an example.
    The point is that you can afford it (possibly easily) but don't want to, because it's hugely overpriced (this is maybe better to understand considering a $10000 AWatch while the real price (including nice profits) is $2000 or so).
    But again that's an example.
  • Reply 19 of 102

    This move totally makes sense. Chris Cox's team needs to have the bug ridden experience Android users have on their devices. 

  • Reply 20 of 102
    damonfdamonf Posts: 217member

    C'mon, Google.  Don't you want to brag about this?  Here's your ad slogan: "Android.  The best phone OS for a third world experience."

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