Hackers and casuals

Fascinating blog post by Ajay Kulkarni, a developer. He argues that Android users fall into two categories — Hackers and Casuals.

First, there are the Hackers, the original Android users. The ones who bought the G1, the Droid 1, the Nexus 1, who invested in the platform because they believed in its fundamental philosophy: openness.

And this is who we normally imagine when we think of Android.

But in the last two years, Android devices have gotten cheaper, prolific in every carrier store.

As a result, there’s a new immigrant population in the Android community: the Casuals. These are the individuals upgrading from their feature phones, drawn to Android because of price.

Why is this interesting? Because the two groups approach — and use — their phones differently.

Hackers customize. They install their own keyboards, dialers, messaging apps, even home screens. Many are developers. They explore, they tinker. They love settings, settings, and more settings.

Casuals personalize. They like wallpapers and custom ringtones. But they don’t tinker. Many are late adopters to smartphones. They use Facebook, Twitter, and other popular apps, but they don’t explore new apps or technologies.

If you’re a developer, you have to approach each group differently. The post goes on to illustrate what that means in design terms.

Terrific post. HT to @charlesarthur for pointing me to it.