To Android or not Android?
As you’ve probably noticed, Android, the open source operating system backed by Google, has been on the rise and as is now rivaling Apple’s Iphone. If you’re planning on buying a new smart phone, it’s important to know the strengths and weaknesses of Android.
Android is open source, and this means that it offers several advantages:
- The software is free, and most of it’s apps are free. But the real beauty of open source software lies in its philosophy. Open source is a community based, interactive philosophy which means that I write an application and release it to the public, along with the code. Then you can take that app, modify it, improve it, or add a plugin to it, and we can re-release it to the general public again, constantly improving upon it. The global nature of the internet means that improvements are essentially limitless.
- It’s more likely going to be easier to upgrade your phone with newer versions. Apple especially tends to put huge pad locks on their software and hardware. They make cool apps, sure, but they’ll probably keep you locked in to that model, and that version of software for as long as they can.
- It’s customizable. Android (again, essentially because it’s open source), is much more customizable because open source software lets you and encourages you to tinker with code and settings. And because people are constantly writing free apps, that means that you can keep up with the Jones’ a lot more in functionality, and tailor your user experience to the way you like it. It’s kind of like making your own sandwich at Subway as opposed to eating the same Big Mac every time at McDonald’s
On the down side in Android’s world, Apple always tends to stay one up on technology. Like, Madonna, Apple has a proven record of setting trends and benchmarks in the industry while others are left trying to catch up.
Also, it is difficult to compete with Apple’s user experience, particularly in the area of media where Apple is King. So much R & R goes into every release of a new Apple product that aspects such as music and video are probably going to continue to be a cut above on the Iphone. Indeed, the new Iphone 4G is rumored to have a frontal camera embedded as well, which might mean that Apple is going to make an attempt to conquer the long anticipated video chat industry.
In the end, choosing an Android is a matter of personal choice. Most people argue that it is on par with the Iphone, while others argue that it is in fact even a cut above.
George Papazian is Cell Unlock’s web developer and an Instructor of Interactive Media Design at the Art Institute and Emily Carr University.