The term fanboy is often used to describe in a negative way someone who sticks to one product or vendor just because. The term is intended to be negative because it implies that the person gave no real thought as to how good the product is or how well it fits their needs.

In a discussion about this vendor vs. that vendor playing the fanboy card is a lazy way to try and remove any legitimacy to the point of view of the other side. After all, how can they possibly bring anything useful to a discussion if they are just a fanboy?

Sadly playing the fanboy card is more often than not a lazy way of trying to ignore a different view point instead of addressing it. This is particularly true of Google Android phones vs. the iPhone. Aaron Toponce recently employed this method:

People jumped onto the iPhone bandwagon when it was announced on AT&T for two reasons: Apple fanboys and superior hardware. People getting an iPhone on the Verizon network will be: Apple fanboys.

Aaron Toponce – The Verizon iPhone

The only possible reason for “People getting an iPhone on the Verizon network will be: Apple fanboys.” By playing the fanboy card you simply get to ignore any possible counter point. I used Aaron’s post because it illustrated the point so well, folks on both sides play this game, it isn’t limited to one side or the other.

In the original post there was actually one detail provided, that the HTC Evo 4G is “head and shoulders over the iPhone 4. It’s no contest, and it’s already outdated hardware”. I’ve never used an HTC Evo 4G before and only played with an iPhone 4 for a few minutes. This made me curious to find out if there is any possible reason why someone would go with an iPhone 4 over an HTC Evo 4G. Fortunately others have already done the numbers comparison for me – Engadget lists numbers for the iPhone 4 vs. the HTC Evo 4G – with a chart for easy comparison.

Since the claim was “no contest” I only looked for things listed on the chart that could reasonably be justified by someone to indeed provide some contest.

  • 802.11b/g/n for the iPhone 4, HTC Evo 4G only supports 802.11b/g
  • 960 x 640 resolution on the iPhone 4, HTC Evo 4G 800 x 480
  • 720p at 30fps video recording on the iPhone 4, HTC Evo 4G 720p at 24fps
  • Gyroscope on the iPhone 4, none of the HTC Evo 4G
  • Listed talk time, iPhone 4 – 7 hours on 3G, 14 hours on 2G and the HTC Evo 4G – 6 hours

There are several other factors that could come into play, but I choose to limit the list to just specific numbers. Now it is entirely possible that none of the iPhone 4 advantages listed above make any difference given individual circumstances. The flip side is also true, some of these factors may be very important for some individuals. This constitutes a contest between the two.

The next time you get the urge to simply wave off counter points by calling the other side a fanboy, stop and think about what you are doing. Other wise you may end up being the actual fanboy in the discussion :-)