Open and closed technologies: Apple vs Android

Society is often debating on the subject of open and closed platforms, with the most publicised war being between Apple and Android.

Apple products are known to be closed devices, or a walled garden of opportunity. Which basically means that Apple has complete control over the platform, content and the user. Android products on the other hand are open devices, or an unwalled garden of opportunity. These devices are open and free, meaning that anyone can access and modify the code, and there is no control over the platform, content or user.

The creation of the iPod in 2001 revolutionised the way we listened to music. There were other types of MP3 players available before the iPod came out but they didn’t seem to be very popular, and neither was the iPod at first. It was only when it was made compatible to Windows that sales really took off. Then came the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010, apple’s sales were spiking every time a new product or generation was brought out. But what i want to know is why is it so popular? I suppose some people like the simplicity of the devices and the ease with which they can be navigated. Then i believe there are others who want the devices purely because other people own them and they want to follow the crowd.

Android devices have played an important part in the individualisation of the smartphone. The fact that android allows the rooting of OS, means that you can have complete control over the hardware and software. While Apple products are developed with the ideology of permission culture, indicating that they are limiting our options for our own good, android devices are developed based on an open culture and the idea that we take responsibility for our own free choices. This shows the unwalled garden approach that android has. You can have a beautiful, diverse garden of apps, layouts, settings etc. but there are no brick walls to block the flow of creativity or content.

I have to be honest here, I owned an iPod nano, and I still own an iPod touch and an iPad. However, I don’t have a MacBook, or an iPhone, I have an Asus laptop and a Samsung galaxy SII. So as you can probably tell, I’m a fence sitter. I love to fence sit because I don’t like decisions and I’m one of those people who sees the glass both half full and half empty. I can see the benefits of apple products and the convenience they provide with the iTunes Store and the simplified device management. On the other hand, I can also see the positives side of android devices, such as having the ability to create your own apps, and the fact that the creation of apps is only limited by the skills and marketing strategies of the developer.

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