It’s an age-old debate, especially in our industry: Open platforms with endless customization available –OR– tightly-controlled, closed systems with a distinct set of operating and aesthetic parameters?
The best example of this debate, especially in the mobile OS space, is (of course) Apple vs. Android. Apple’s iOS is sleek and simple. There is not much you can do to modify your phone – and some of these limitations can be downright frustrating. Android, on the other hand, offers infinite flexibility…which seems like a good thing. This flexibility, however, can result in UIs that are almost unusable to anyone but the phone’s owner/user. In fact, a new blog has popped up to illustrate the painful choices made my some Android owners: FuglyAndroid. Device fragmentation does have some developers worried about further investments in Android.
Even Plato wasn’t a fan of democracy.
He famously pontificated that when some humans are given free will, they will inevitably choose foolish outcomes. While Plato had a good point, we can hardly say Democracy – across the board – is a failed experiment. I’ll leave the political/philosophical discussion to someone more qualified and return to the embedded democracy issue for Altia.
Apple’s strict model isn’t exactly floundering. Apple’s App Store offers more than the Android Marketplace. With Android’s model allowing any handset manufacturer and app developers into the fold, it makes sense that total handset market share goes to Android.
Our products currently live in the open side of the world, allowing designers and engineers to build any type of interface. We support Android and have built iPhone apps as part of a UX solution. So, at this point, we’re riding the fence/remaining neutral…we’re camped in HMI Switzerland.
What do you think? Will ‘Open’ reign supreme? Or will closed platforms like iOS remain relevant and contend long term?