Those patents we talked about last week – Wasn’t that just a blast! I touched on Apples closed iOS in that post, and this week I’ll be going into that in further detail.
If you read last weeks post, you’ll see that I mentioned how iOS was a closed platform and that it’s biggest competitor, Android, was an open platform. But what does this mean for the audience or consumers of these products?
For the audience of these products, the end result of Apple keeping the code and the phone to themselves is a very central online Eco-System where you can backup contacts and photos, sync music and purchase applications all from your iPhone, your computer or your iPad in any location whenever you want. Try and leave the their little Apple world however, and you’ll find the task of moving from iOS to another platform to be a whole lot less than easy.
This is much more strict than what can be done on Google’s Android platform, which is open source, and uses other open technologies within it. This means that other software developers can make programs and hardware that works across all Android (and often older Nokia or other) devices. Things like a common file type for contacts or a program for your computer that syncs music or files from wherever you like. This open style, plus the backing of Google and it’s online services does demonstrate the benefits of an open system.
After all that, you might think open is the way to go. However, open systems such as Android do have their downsides – With so many manufactures and device specifications it is often the case that software and device fragmentation can exist in the market, where different devices with different hardware specifications can only run certain versions of the open OS. Along with this, is the difference in design between manufacturers and their own versions of Android. This can lead to consumer confusion when a customer gets a phone thinking, “Yep, it’ll be good – I’ve used Android before” and comes home to find it looks completely different.
The fight between iOS and Android is an interesting one that constantly shows as the positives and negatives of both open and closed systems and it’ll be interesting to see which leads to more innovative products for us as consumers.