I was immediately sold when Gary first broached the subject of a get together of Android fans outside the capital. One of the biggest problems with living in the UK is that all the OEMS think everyone lives in London, meaning they host most events there. The original plan for this event was, and still is, to take it to places outside “The Big Smoke”; to bring our passion to people around the country.
I think the first two events were solid efforts. We weren’t trying for anything huge – just a good time had by all and the chance to fondle some gadgets. This year, however, we really wanted to make the event worth talking about; I think we succeeded.
Despite what people might tell you I am very nervous speaking in front of people. A podcast I can do with no problems; but being on stage makes me uncomfortable. But when I stood up to welcome everybody to the 3rd annual March of the Droids, my pride in what we had made overcame my nerves.
The event was in a lovely Art Deco building that had been converted into a new age church/studio space, called Lifecentre, down in sunny Bournemouth. We had already had one in Glasgow and one in Manchester; now it was the southerners turn to have the show. This year was much more polished than the previous events. As I said, the last two were designed to just meet like-minded fans of Android; however, 2014 was the year we put on our ties and got down to business. We had four really great speakers that really raised the show; each of them had a completely different talk varying from wearables to app development. Every one was informative and entertaining. One of my favourite parts of this year was looking out at all the faces and seeing all of them interested in what was being said.
As always, John, Gary, and I, tried to get a selection of the newest handsets for the attendees to try, and we are very lucky that we have good relationships with most of the OEMS. This year, we had the Desire 816 from HTC; a phone so new that they sent us a pre-production model -Thanks go to Laura from HTC Elevate for that. Sony also sent us a lot of goodies this year, and there were prizes galore for people to win as well as Z2’s on hand to try. Of course, being an event for enthusiasts, there were a lot of amazing phones, and other tech, on hand that the attendees were all more than happy to let others fondle. Paul O’Brien, one of the speakers, even let a fair few attendees try on his Google Glass, which due to its scarcity here in the UK was a real treat.
This year felt like a real triumph, which in no small part was due to the atmosphere. The Android community is a great one. We all love different aspects of the OS, and we all live in varying degrees of Nerdom. I, for example, am fully Nerdified. I like Star Trek, board games, and taking apart small electric things and putting them back together. On the other hand, Gary is a Pub Landlord who enjoys football, but, just like me, he also loves rooting and modding his Android device. This collection of mismatched people get together and their enthusiasm for the “little Green Android” unites them and makes it easy for them to form new friendships.
That was also one of the goals of March of the Droid.
Each time we do one of these events I make new friends, and those friendship keep going all through the year so that the next time we meet it’s the same easy camaraderie it was before.
Next year though… Next year we are really going to get it going. I am proud of what we achieved this year. and the energy and enthusiasm for the event has spurred us to push for an even bigger show next year.
Watch this space guys. We are just getting started.