Apr, 01 2011

It’s been a crazy ride. I started Phandroid the day Android was announced and we were publicly recognized as the first website dedicated to covering Android news. In the past 3.5 years we’ve gone from a tiny niche blog to a reputable news source and one of the top tech web properties on the planet.

Then there are our Android Forums – which have gone from a few Android obsessed geeks posting back and forth to easily the largest, most helpful, and most friendly Android community on the planet. Don’t believe us? We’ve got over 475,000 members and are in the Top 3,000 websites in the world according to Alexa. And don’t count AndroidApplications.com out either… there are some great things planned.

Android is my passion. I never planned to sell these sites and I’ve turned down dozens of acquisition inquiries each month for the past year. My response to these E-mails has always been something to the extent of: “I don’t want to sell. I don’t intend to sell. Unless you make me look like the world’s biggest idiot for saying no… then it’s not really worth discussion.”

AOL challenged me to look like that idiot.

I’ve accomplished much of what I set out to do with our family of Android sites. In the early days of Android it was hard to find sources covering all the Android goodness in depth. Now there are MANY of them but I’m proud to say I strongly believe we’re not only the biggest but the best. Quentyn Kennemer, Kevin Krause, Talton Pettigrew and a long list of supporting cast members will continue to take Phandroid to the next level.

So why am I leaving? Why is this MY “last post”? Why aren’t I pulling a Mike Arrington?

Phandroid needs someone with new ideas, new visions, fresh insight and a different perspective. Please don’t think I’m “selling out’ and just “taking the money and running” – that’s not the case at all. And while rumors will spread about not wanting to succumb to “The AOL Way” – which has apparently forced out some of the world’s top Tech journalist talents – that wasn’t a factor for me either. In fact, AOL practically begged me to stay on. But my own attitude mirrors that of Chris Ziegler of Engadget who resigned yesterday.

In fact, Chris said it so well that you might as well just replace “Engadget’ with “Phandroid” and count it as my own resignation:

This is my last week at Engadget.

That’s a strange thing to write. It’s not something I ever really planned for. Then again, I guess you don’t ever plan for that when you’ve got your dream job.

I’ve told my coworkers in the past that I believe one of Engadget’s greatest strengths is that it’s a site of big personalities and egos — egos that balance each other out, keep each other in check, feed off one another. It’s a sight to behold. There’s a tremendous amount of confidence in everything we do, because there’s tremendous confidence both in our internal processes and in our hires. We trust each other. And though we clash at times, the mutual respect is never lost. Frankly, I’ve been in a state of near-constant awe watching this incredible group of individuals kick ass and take names for the past five years.

What’s my point? It’s that we don’t take crap from anyone, internally or externally. And so I want to echo what some of my colleagues have already said: Aol has never interfered with our editorial. Not once. And if they had, I believe I can say with confidence that every editor Engadget has on staff would’ve quit without a second thought. It’s just not how we operate, and it’s not what we signed up for.

That brings me back to the occasion of my departure. I won’t pretend that I’ve been thrilled with every move Aol has made since I’ve been here — but once again, I’m not leaving because I’m being indoctrinated into “The Aol Way” or because I’ve been told what to write or how to think by some dark force above Josh. As I said in my letter of resignation to him, I think that one of the trickiest things we all face in the course of our careers is knowing when it’s time to move on. It’s nearly impossible. I don’t pretend to have that down to a science, but I do believe that we’ve got a new generation of editors coming onto the site that are going to do great things. I just want to see what else is out there, find other challenges to take on. That’s it. No conspiracies, no hard feelings.

Where will you find me next? I’m not quite sure yet. One thing is for sure: I’ve now got a decent chunk of change to spend on the latest and greatest Android phones, tablets, TVs and whatever else Google and innovative 3rd parties bring our way.

I want to take a moment to thank every single person who has ever read Phandroid. Everyone who has ever commented on an article – good or bad. Everyone who has ever browsed our forum, lurked our forum, joined our forum, posted on our forum, become a regular on our forum or even a phone guide or mod/admin on our forum.

I want to thank everyone. Without YOU – people I consider to be just like ME – Phandroid and AndroidForums would never exist. I’m eternally grateful for having the opportunity to share my thoughts with you for the past 3.5 years and it’s a time that I’ll never forget. With the knowledge, experience, and funding of the AOL team, Phandroid and AndroidForums are headed in a bigger and better direction.

For old times sake… yes… this is me rapping:


Thanks to everyone. Hopefully this won’t be the last time our words meet each other. Until next time… signing out:

Rob Jackson
Founder and Former Editor-in-Chief