If you're going to have a curated experience, isn't it better to at least have one where the curator is making their decisions primarily around the quality of your experience?

Jeff LaMarche on Android and openness. I fully agree.

The worst part of all this talk on 'open' is that the Android source code Google provides isn't the complete source code, and doesn't include any of the Google portions like Maps, Gmail, etc. To get those, you have to pay a lot of money to get an Android license from Google.

There's no less lock-in with Android than there is with iPhone, the only difference is you can install any app you want without paying extra. You still have to root your Android device (/jailbreak) to do anything interesting. Pay Apple's yearly $99 license, and you also get the ability to install any app you want without using the App Store (among many other benefits). You're trading one walled garden for another, except Google doesn't have any design or UX sense.

Very interested to see how Google's all-out assault on Apple this week will affect Apple's plans for 2010 and beyond. Google doesn't seem content without trying to oust Apple from every market they have (except the Mac). This is war.


  1. Android is much more open than iPhone OS, even if some of their apps are not. The APIs, the ability to install apps from anywhere, to store them on your phone or an SD card, it really is much more open.

    "except the Mac"

    What about Chrome OS? It's not a direct competitor (expensive laptops vs cheaper netbooks), but it's still something.

  2. Pay the fee and you can use any API you want on the iPhone. You can install any app you want. In fact, you get the ability to do this to up to 100 iPhones/iPods/iPads a year per account. You also get the ability to distribute same apps to over 90 million devices globally and make money on it.

    Sidenote: you *can't* store apps on SD card on Android without hacking right now.

    I don't see ChromeOS competing with the Mac. The netbook, perhaps, but netbooks running anything other than Windows have flopped. Nobody wants another OS on their netbook.

    We'll see where ChromeOS goes on tablets, but we're several years too early for a *good* html-based OS (see webOS for an example). HTML just doesn't have what it takes right now.

  3. Good post Steven. Someone keeps bringing out the phrase "more open". I don't know what it means. Its one of these terms that is difficult to define, and even harder to defend against. Is Android "more open" than iPhone. I dunno, because the term means different things to different people.
    I'd love a decent explanation of what is meant by 'more open' along with some useful insight on how that benefits the end user. As far as I can see Open Sourcing the Android O/S means more people can have a say. This in theory could lead to the "Wisdom of Crowds", but I'm not convinced it does. It may attract many intelligent developers, but as far as I can see, may not any talented designers.
    Does "more open" mean that the handset manufacturers can do as they wish? Probably. Leading to them competing on features, (good), but fragmenting the operating system (bad).
    One poster on my site went as far as to say that he wanted the ability to change the battery if he so wished. Why? PLEASE? Why?
    I've never ever owned a phone for long enough that the battery was no longer useful. The only time I've ever had to take off a battery was when poor design meant I had to to get at a sim card. That phone, incidentally regularly dropped calls, or randomly powered off due to....poor battery connections.
    Open is just a silly term in this situation. You want to see reaction? Ask an iPhone user do they like their phone. 9 out of 10 will say "I love it". I've not heard this from any other user yet. The gap is getting smaller, but we all know a new iPhone comes out.
    I'd be willing to guess that I'll be queuing on release day for my (and Apple's) 4th iPhone.

  4. You don't know what open source means my friends.