Android vs. iOS – What’s open, what’s closed?

In the wake of the Q3 reports, the discussion between Android – ie. Google – and Apple regarding the distribution of the respective mobile OS has become more and more intense. In a recent TechCrunch article (Apple And Google: The Activation Pissing Match Continues) MG Siegler lines out how both Google and Apple try to outrival each other by publishing their latest statistics regarding device activation per day. Right now, Apple seems to be leading, claiming to activate about 275,000 iOS devices per day. (As the author notes, Apple does not talk about iPhones separately, so it’s sensible to assume that the 275,000 figure also contains iPads and iPod touches). The latest tally regarding Android activation is 250,000 – this information was shared by Android chief Andy Rubin a while ago.

Apart from this activation match, Steve Jobs offered his opinion regarding the open vs. closed debate and claimed that the real discussion is more about integrated vs. fragmented.

What is best for the customer—integrated versus fragmented? We think this is a huge strength of our system versus Google’s. When selling to people who want their devices to just work, we think integrated wins every time. We are committed to the integrated approach. We are confident it will triumph over Google’s fragmented approach.

Quite fittingly, Andy Rubin replied by sending his first tweet from an supposably real Twitter account:

the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”

So Brendan Dawes was right when he said about Android at the last dConstruct conference:

It’s a fucking engineers’ phone.

More seriously, in the long run it’s going to be mainstream users who will be the deciding factor between thre OS-s. Will people be fine with using Android even if this means having to juggle different software versions and various app stores, or will Apple be the winner pushing forward its walled app garden and its tightly controlled Apple ecosystem.  My guess would be the latter, but I’m looking forward to more discussions and competition.

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Über Roman Zenner

arbeitet als Autor und Berater im Bereich E-Commerce. Er hat mehrere Fachbücher zu aktuellen Shopsystemen veröffentlicht und unterstützt mittlere und große Unternehmen bei der Planung und Umsetzung ihrer digitalen Verkaufsstrategie.
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