Smartphones: Freedom or Comfort

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The battle between Apple and Android smartphones has been going on for the past 5 years and it is an important battle between two very different visions for the future development of technology. When it comes to deciding what smartphone is better for the user it is dependent on what the user is looking for in a phone.

Apple has produced the iPhone which deals with a closed source mobile operating system – iOS. The idea of closed source system is to maintain control over the source code, from hardware to software, which makes up the product – in this case the smartphone. This means for the user that the phone is controlled by Apple. Apple says what is allowed on the phone and what can be done with the phone. This idea of “have a smartphone that does not need to be changed” and hands it to you, at a large price, with little hassle, gives people the comfort of having a phone, without trying to understand how it works and what is needed for it. There is a comfort in knowing that there is a well-known company that holds the responsibility for your phone. Being a well-known company Apple prospers on the ideal of producing a desirable, appealing and well known product for its customers because Apple is seen as a status symbol. The aesthetic appeal of Apple products is the desired aspect of Apple customers and Apple knows that.

Android deals on an open source system – the source code to make the smartphones is free on the internet and anyone can acquire the code and create something from it. The benefits of having an open source codes allows for other companies to modify and create products as they please – to allow variety on the market. This variety and freedom that open source products allows, allows users to modify their phones in any way they please. Having access to the source code for anyone allows for the collective development of one technology – people are able to find issues and bugs with the code and fix the problem. Open source devices allows for connectivity with other devices that aren’t of the same brand allowing for the freedom to have customized setting on different pieces of technology yet still having them on the same network.

Regardless of what smartphone is produced it is the customer who decides on what they want out of their smartphone. The battle between Apple and Android is an important battle and will continue, to compare what philosophies work better and understand what people want (choice or not) with their smartphones.

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14 responses »

  1. This is really a marketing battle. Both platforms offer technology to enhance communication but more importantly to increase connectivity. There is no real difference in the distinction between platforms and it will be who markets more inclusively and aggressively which will decide the outcome of the battle. The war, however, will long rage on about which technology has the functional accendency.

  2. I much prefer the android philosophy, and apparently so do the majority of users with android sales overtaking apple’s. Although they still seem to be winning in the tablet department.http://techland.time.com/2013/04/16/ios-vs-android/ Android is much better because of it’s endless sharing options and the way you can modify your phone down to if you like a different keyboard you can have a different keyboard. I feel like this system allows freedom and innovation, which allows for bigger and better things.

  3. I myself am a Apple consumer and I don’t really see that ever changing. For me, I just like the convenience of having my phone all set up and ready to go, I don’t really feel the need to change around the settings or modify it, but then again I am not very tech-savvy. However, I can definitely see the appeal with the Androids. The idea of being able to customise your phone to your ideal specifications is definitely an appealing concept, as can be seen here: (http://www.debate.org/opinions/is-android-better-than-apple). I don’t think it will take long before the Android market has taken over the dominant Apple

  4. In my opinion, I think that open system is better than closed system because with open system there will be many choice for us consumer to choose from. While closed system, is a finnish product with little we can choose. There is one research show that in July 2013, Android hold 51.8 percentage of share market with Apple came in second with 40.4 percentage. http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/09/06/apples-iphone-holds-40-share-of-us-smartphone-market

  5. I agree it depends on consumers choice and will continue to be dependent on consumer choice into the future. However, in the mobile phone sector iOS can be seen to be falling behind with 75% (Estimated) of users are using a Android operating system(http://www.diffen.com/difference/Android_vs_iOS). However, the same source shows that in the tablet market iOS operating systems are around 85% of the market compared to Android with under 10%.
    My personal opinion on these statistics is that mobile market share percentages are due to the limited devices that iOS is on, very limited as it is only found on an Iphone. Whilst Android is found on multiple devices, perhaps if iOS was on more devices and perhaps cheaper devices you would find Android’s market share might decrease.
    Similar with the tablets Ipad was once the only product in the market that had a reputable name. however, is only recently we are now seeing more Android tablets occur.
    I myself have both Samsung (Android) phone and tablet.

  6. I find myself impartial to the whole which is better, Apple or Android. I may be a user of Apple but the major reason is because its what my whole family uses. Though I more than agree that what people perceive as the best comes down to the individual. I found this interesting article that talks about why American’s love the Apple rather than the Android, (http://readwrite.com/2013/01/29/why-do-americans-hate-android-and-love-apple#awesm=~okM4FAuBvbCdFL). It was actually pretty interesting to read especially when one point that was made was how android was pretty much perceived as a low-price knockoff.

  7. I found this summary http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/09/25/smartphone-wars-apple-beats-android-again/khR5i5AtcpMokR0IOBaVoL/story.html which I found really interesting. This person has both an Android, and an Apple, and whilst they say they prefer their HTC, they acknowledge that the iPhone is better. Like you said, it really depends on what the individual wants out of their phone that will influence their decision. It’s a steady battle and unless someone does something completely innovative I think they’ll always be neck to neck

  8. I impartial to both Apple and Android.. I have an iPhone, but thats not to say I wouldn’t get an android phone the next time I need a new one. It’s interesting that 20% of Apple users convert to Android (http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2290021/20-percent-of-iphone-users-are-android-converts) however I wonder whether these people are converting as a result of disappointment or whether they’re just as curious to try both as I am..

  9. I have an iPhone but purely out of habit – I was lucky enough to get one when they first introduced for my birthday, and continue to upgrade when each device outdates (regrettably a chronic consumer). Since then my family and I (over the years) updated our pc’s and phone’s to all Apple products. Even my 6 year old brother has an iPod touch and just recently mum gave him her old iPhone, for him to “play games on” – I feel this is unnecessary and bazaar, however a recent article http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/rise-in-number-of-australian-kids-with-smartphones/story-fnet085v-1226630247931 states this is not out of the ordinary, with statistics showing 1 in 3 primary school children now have a smartphone. While smartphone’s have practical benefits for children, it also increases the risk and pressures of cyber-bullying, stranger danger and social etiquette.

  10. One of the key ideas that I found in my research of the smartphone battle was that people consider Android to be more ‘dangerous.’ Apple products are considered more secure when it comes to viruses and, like you mention in you blog post, I believe that this adds to the comfort of the Apple iOS software. Applications are increasingly becoming compromised and therefore the ‘garden of apps’ that the iPhone provide do give a level of comfort for those that are less technological savvy. When downloading an application that is Apple approved there is a level of assurance that the application will not steel your personal details. This has happened recently with an application that is for Android phones called ‘the imassage app for Android.’ This application was promoted by Google Play and was downloaded over 10,000 times over a month before it was found to be sending all the users personal information to a server in China. For this reason I agree with you that Apple products provide a level of comfort.

    http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/18050/malware/imessage-app-for-android.html

  11. I agree totally with your point about consumer preference. When I look at my own situation, I’m without a doubt a Android fan, and can’t see why how an iPhone (or even Nokia/Windows combination) would ever sway me to leaving the open sourced platform. For me, the customization of the Android as well as its regular system updates just leave the Apple platform for dead. But at the same time, when I look at my completely un-tech-savvy mum, the iPhone really is her perfect choice. The limited room for modification means I’m not having to constantly restore her settings when shes clicked something she shouldn’t have or step her through the daunting task of updating her phones software (like at times with Android). Contrastingly, my younger 15 year old brother who makes up part of the 94% of young smartphone users makes use of his Android to keep up to date with Facebook, watch YouTube videos and message friends for free away from teachers eyes in the playground at lunch, everyday. At his age, my phone was only good for Snake,

    (http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/rise-in-number-of-australian-kids-with-smartphones/story-fnet085v-1226630247931)

  12. I agree with jamesayre, it’s ultimately a marketing battle. If you had no idea about either Android or iPhones, if someone sat you down and explained the different philosophies of both Apple and Google, without you seeing them you’d almost certainly say that Android sounds substantially better. But the reason why Apple has managed to maintain it’s status as an active competitor in this battle, and the reason I own an iPhone, is because of marketing. Apple has brilliantly achieved the status of being a ‘lovemark’ (http://nicolasdesalas.com/2012/03/14/becoming-a-lovemark-apples-case-part-3/). A lovemake extends further than brands, if you take a brand away, people will find a replacement. If you take away a lovemark, people will dispute its absence.That’s why the closed system on all their products works so damn well for Apple.

  13. Open VS closed. That is the question. Each platform will offer you a different amount of each and you need to decide what you want/need. I believe that iPhones are way more popular than Androids – not because they are better but because they have been marketed so much better and everyone wants an “apple” product because it is deemed acceptable in society.

  14. I find the dichotomy you have created between comfort and freedom interesting. I myself have owned both an Android and an iPhone at one point in my life, and I can’t say I felt anymore comfortable or free than I did with one another. Perhaps that was because I had no interest in opening up the code and tinkering with my phone, but nor did I at any point feel vulnerable to Android viruses. I think the main reason I choose to use an Android now comes down to two things: general philosophy, and price. While I have no interest in using the open-source in my phone to any real advtantage, I support its idea. However in total honesty, the real reason may just be because it was the cheaper alternative at the time: http://gizmodo.com/5977625/android-is-popular-because-its-cheap-not-because-its-good

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