Friday, September 10, 2010

Android: Open But For Who?

Android has been billed as open. Based on Linux, it is open-source. Okay. But when we like to compare Android to the iOS ecosystem, we like to say it open. Apple's iPhone and iTunes definitely is not.

But what is this definition of open? And for who?

I have to root my G1 to install the tethering app. Without performing some hairy digital surgery, there was no way to install and use the app. And T-Mobile was not about to provide me with the keys to the kingdom, willingly or otherwise.

And of course, the marketplace is open for most apps and most developers. There is hardly any policing (hence, the increasing regularity of trojan horse apps). There is of course a great number of virtues in this. For developers.

What about for consumers?

When the sales guys at Verizon, ATT, Sprint, or T-Mobile tooted the Android phones as open compared to the iPhone, are we the consumers suppose to know they mean for the developers and not for the consumers to do with the phones as we wish? That certain functions are locked out but the device OS and SDK remains open for developers to create any app they want. And even if can find and download those apps, we, as Android users can't use them.

In that case, isn't the iPhone just as open? As an Android user, I like to feel like I can rely on the strengths of the platform. Mostly, the Google apps and less curating involved. I think that alone is enough to entice users.

Open it is not but Android does offer a plethora of devices. Choices.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

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