In life, it appears that there will always only be two choices. Left or Right. Holden or Ford. Playstation or Xbox. Capulet or Montague. Capitalism or Communism. But the greatest, most life-changing is iOS or Android.
To many, they are just a type of phone/tablet/computer and now even a watch.
Both systems boast sexy and sleek electronics. And the differences between the two is almost like comparing apples and oranges. But to the dedicated many, it is a way of life.
iOS can be considered as closed or proprietary software. The decision to limit Apple’s products under this style of software was made with the release of the iPhone. As Zittrain (2010) states, after 30 years of products with open-source software, the iPhone dropped this feature, not allowing outside programming. This means that modifying, redistributing and sharing the software is exclusive to the copyright holder.
Android, in comparison, can be considered as open-source software. Android, which was founded by Andy Rubin in cooperation with Google, lays its primary foundations in open-source software principles. As Roth claims, Rubin interpreted Android as “a free, open source mobile platform that any coder could write for and any handset maker could install” (2008).
The two styles have their individual benefits. Raymond compares the differences between closed and open source software to a Cathedral and a Bazaar (2001). Raymond likened the closed software to a cathedral “carefully crafted by individual wizards or small bands of mages working in splendid isolation” (2001, pp. 2). Although the overall design may be great, it has difficulty in becoming improved or developed outside of that ‘small band’. Whereas open-source software, such as android, is similar to “a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches” (Raymond 2001, pp. 2). Each user, likewise to a seller at a bazaar, is a co-developer.
Interestingly, in China, Google isn’t the primary app store on Android mobiles. I came to this shocking realisation after touching down in Shanghai. As Google is banned by the Great Firewall of China, this made accessing the app store, maps or even my Gmail impossible. In China there is over 700 million smartphone owners, of whom the majority use android devices such as Samsung and Xiaomi. As Google is blocked, the Android open-source software allows the use of several other systems, such as the Chinese google-equivalent, Baidu. The Baidu app store is the most accessed alternative for android users in China (Millward, 2014).
Bischoff, P 2014, ‘What you need to know about China’s 700 million smartphones and tablets’, Tech In Asia, viewed 14 September, <https://www.techinasia.com/chinas-700-million-smart-devices-umeng/>.
Millward, S 2014, ’10 alternative Android app stores in China’, Tech in Asia, 3 June, viewed 14 September 2014, <https://www.techinasia.com/10-android-app-stores-china-2014-edition/>.
Raymond, E 2001, ‘The Cathedral and the Bazzar’, O’Reilly Media, viewed 14 September.
Roth, D 2008, ‘Google’s Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web’, Wired Magazine, 26 June, viewed 13 September 2014, <http://archive.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/16-07/ff_android?currentPage=all>.
Screen Genius, Image, Apples to Oranges, viewed 14 September 2014, <http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/filepicker%2FsgEhQPYIS5eJCUX7ynid_Apples-and-Oranges.png>.
Zittrain, J 2010, ‘A fight over freedom at Apple’s core’, Financial Times, 3 February, viewed 14 September 2014, <http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/fcabc720-10fb-11df-9a9e-00144feab49a.html#axzz3DICiCqL5>.