As a person who has only ever used an Android phone, I never had a clue about my "green bubble" status until someone I was dating brought it up in the middle of a conversation. Image: fakephonetext.com
It's the strangest text message I think I've ever received. It was from a girl I really liked, who I'd recently been connected with through Bumble. She was tech-savvy, and started following me on Twitter and Instagram. We even became friends on Facebook. Before I knew it, we were texting throughout the day.
This is about as good as any online dating experience I've ever had, so I asked her out on a date. We were digitally entwined, both of our virtual selves fully available, and there was really only one place to go from here. We had to meet IRL and see if there was actually a connection between us. She texted me back soon after I asked her out.
Her: Hey Michael, it's [her name]. I can do Friday if that works for you? (7:27 PM) Me: Hey! Friday sounds great. How about Dear Irving at 7pm? (8:00 PM) Her: Love that place! Sounds good (8:39 PM) Me: Great. Looking forward to it. :) (8:41 PM)
Our relationship was blossoming right before my eyes, and I couldn't have been happier. Up to this point, we'd been talking about our favourite movies and sports teams and how ridiculous the presidential election has been. We agreed on pretty much everything, including the fact that both Chicago and New York sports teams have seen better days. Then — out of nowhere — about 30 minutes after accepting my date offer, she hit me with this:
Her: What is the meaning of this green bubble conversation? What non-iPhone gadget is this?! (9:10 PM)
I couldn't believe it. Was she making fun of me? Is Android not cool? My mind was racing, mulling over what she could have meant.
That's when I remembered: An iPhone, which she clearly used, shows messages sent from Android phones in a green conversation bubbles as long as you're using the default text messaging app, Apple Messages. Apparently, my dream girl had a problem with my choice of phone.
For the record, the phone in question was awesome. It was the Huawei Nexus 6P, easily one of the best Android phones ever. It had a nice camera, a gorgeous 5.7-inch screen and a nifty fingerprint sensor on the back. It was a phone any normal person would appreciate.
My real friends loved the phone, too. They geeked out with me when I first bought it. I remember passing it around at the bar, and my friends testing it to see if they liked having a fingerprint sensor on the back. Most of them agreed it was pretty nice. But most of them also agreed that it wasn't good enough to switch from the iPhone.
This new lady-friend was different than most of my geeky friends, though. She was trendy and social and extroverted and frankly, looked way cooler than any of us. I became really self-conscious. I couldn't possibly tell her the truth about how much I loved this Android phone. What would she think?
Me: Work phone (9:19 PM) Her: Ah, gotcha (9:30 PM)
In an attempt to salvage the relationship, I figured I'd suggest a different app.
Me: Are you on Snapchat? (10:04 PM) Her: Doesn't the tech editor at Gizmodo know you can search/add a phone (10:11 PM) Her: # on Snapchat? ? (10:11 PM) Her: I kid. Yes, username is [her username]. (10:12 PM)
We eventually moved over to Snapchat, sent each other some great dog-filter selfies, and even met up for the date. My Android phone was one of the first things she brought up. She said it looked really nice (yes!), but we never met again after that.
I had completely forgotten about my "green bubble" incident until recently, during the iPhone 7 launch. I mentioned that I was considering buying the smaller iPhone. "I cant wait to iMessage you," said my co-worker William Turton. "No more green bubbles," said Christina Warren.
"No more what?" I asked her, having flashback to this horrific event. We chatted about how the green bubble has come up in several interactions, and how it can be disappointing to receive a green bubble as an iPhone user. Shortly after, Google launched the Pixel, and after getting my hands on it, I was disappointed.
So what's the point of even owning Android any more? If the phones are exploding and generally disappointing and you're an annoyance to your friends with Apple Messages, is it even worth the tradeoff?
Not for this guy. I'm done with Android for now. I'm ready to jump into the world of Apple Messages, where I can do weird shit to my texts like increase the volume and send handwritten messages. I want to send GIFs easily and convert text to emojis. I want to try the new Messages app store, and I even want to send my heartbeat to the girl I'm dating.
You might call all of these features superfluous, but if so, you've probably never been called out for having a "green bubble". You don't know what if feels like to question your digital identity over something so minute. Sorry, Android. But after about a decade, our love affair is over. I'm single, I'm ready to mingle, and I'm a green bubble no more.