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back to article Beastly Android will batter Apple's iOS beauty

Apple can still claim top spot in terms of US market share, according to recent data from Nielsen, but its lead is rapidly vanishing in Android's wake. This means that developers increasingly are going to need to choose the platform they should develop for first, and the answer seems increasingly to be Google's open web. If you …

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FAIL

Blasphemy

This article is plain blasphemy! I would have thought that a man with a stature like Matt Asay would have understood why iPhone is so succcesful. But no, he seems to think open source is Android. No developer makes money on Android. Angry Birds is ad-supported on Android, but that how it works on Android. Open source is bad for software developers. If you want to make money writing software on Android, forget about it. Open-source platforms like Linux is great for writing Java enterprise apps, which are for in-house use, but not for selling to consumers. Asay seems to think that just because Android is open-source, it can win. What a terrible mistake! And you are quoting a developer Whereoscope who obviously has a beef about Apple and can't make money on iOS. The volume Android has in the US is all on Verizon, and Verizon customers have no choice but to use Android or Blackberry, which is uncompetitive. If iPhone is available on Verizon, it will completely demolish Android. And Apple just had a record holiday quarter. Make my words! Those naysayers will keep saying bad things about Apple will never win!

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Troll

lol

Ah fanboyism, wipe the spittle from your mouth and start again my dear chap.

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[A-Za-z0-9]+

I've bought loads of apps from the Android market. Some of these are "unnecessary" - for instance the free version of Maverick (off-road GPS) is quite good enough, but at the same time it is so good I couldn't resist the opportunity to bung the developer the tiny amount of loose change the pro version cost. Is this a sustainable model? I think only time will tell.

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Flame

I can only assume you're being sarcastic.

At least I hope so.

I've written a couple of Android Apps, mainly as what I wanted wasn't available, so I gave it a go. My first was a METAR/TAF (Aviation weather reports & forecasts), and I put it on the marketplace for a larf. It's a fairly niche market, and there are plenty of competitors, but I've made about £200 out of it so far.

Not enough to quit my day job, but it'll pay for a nice lunch in the Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons. There are companies out there making a lot of money from selling Android apps.

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Thumb Down

Cold hard cash

Say what you like but I know through personal experience of a number of people who have decided against developing versions of their applications for Android because horror of horrors they want to be able to make return on their investment.

Android already has the reputation of being for freetards whilst iOS provides a method of actually making at least the cost of your development back.

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Bronze badge

Two (or more) horse race means a degree of healthy competition

"iOS provides a method of actually making at least the cost of your development back." That's assuming your app is approved and left there as opposed to being declined with no reason given or removed after a month due to some minor change that has no effect on how your app works. I'm not speaking from personal experience there but there are more than enough examples of this and worse out there. I don't recall Google pulling any app for arbitrary reasons and I can only think of one time where something was pulled for being somewhat malicious.

Both platforms offer something different with similar functionality mixed in. Android has the greater freedom for both developers and users, Apple and iOS are for those that don't want to mess around much. You can jailbreak and do a lot with an iPhone and other iOS devices but not in the same scope as Android. I've yet to see a custom iOS ROM developed by users for example but there are people putting Android on iPhones.

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Bronze badge

@Alan

About those who decided not to develop for Android, did they decide because their existing android apps weren't selling or was it that they didn't expect them to sell?

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Paid Apps

I've also bought this app for the same reason. IMHO one of the reasons developers could not make money form Android was the absence of a paid market in a lot of countries. I had to root my phone and use MarketAccess so I *could* pay for apps. If you think that China and India, 2 very large countries with a large Android-population only recently got access to the paid market it's really clear why people didn't pay for apps: they couldn't!

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@fandom

They avoided Android as having done the research they decided that spending the money on having a team of developers write an Android app to go alongside their existing successful IPhone app was not a sensible investment of cash as they were unlikely to see sufficient money come back from that version. Whereas with the IPhone app they would (and indeed have).

This wasn't a "Fart" app or indeed a technology focused app but instead an app that wrapped up their produced content so that it could be accessed on the go. To repackage that content into Android format would require them to hire a team of android developers who would obviously want paying for their services.

As per the article from the Angry Birds developers <http://technmarketing.com/iphone/peter-vesterbacka-maker-of-angry-birds-talks-about-the-birds-apple-android-nokia-and-palmhp/

>

"paid content just doesn’t work on Android."

That if you are paying to develop an app is a pretty persuasive argument/perception from anyone's perspective.

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@Two (or more) horse race means a degree of healthy competition

I suggest you read the article interviewing the Angry birds developers

"Android is growing, but it’s also growing complexity at the same time. Device fragmentation not the issue, but rather the fragmentation of the ecosystem. So many different shops, so many different models. The carriers messing with the experience again. Open but not really open, a very Google centric ecosystem. And paid content just doesn’t work on Android. "

As jailbreaking is not perceived as the norm for iOS people feel more confident (rightly or wrongly) in the chances of their App not being pirated. Angry Birds can make money through the advertising due to the frequent use.

A purveyor of a less frequently accessed but useful content resource based app is not going to see any return.

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Anonymous Coward

The idiocy of needing a title when replying is moot

>>>>

No developer makes money on Android

<<<<

Whoa. Silly me, here I thought there were new apps being built every day. Oh wait. They are. So obviously there is something in it for developers.. otherwise, wait I know this one! There wouldn't be any further development. Whoa.

>>>>

The volume Android has in the US is all on Verizon, and Verizon customers have no choice but to use Android or Blackberry, which is uncompetitive

<<<<

Uh... what?? So, the fact that Apple sign SPECIFIC, BINDING contracts with ONE operator is GOOD for competition? Holy cow. Never mind that it's APPLE that you have a beef with there, not Android. Good grief.

Here, let me help you:

Uncompetitive: That does not involve competition; not competitive

In other words, ONE provider. ONE. Not two, as in choice. ONE. I have two sweets, you have ONE, I have a choice you have NONE. Are we ok on the meaning of uncompetitive??

Android phones are accessible to ANY network, in fact the only ones that are limited are due to technology limitations, such as 4G

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Linux

How does that prove anything?

Surely it depends on whether your apps are actually any good or not and if you have a marketing strategy for generating some awareness? Strange that so many developers think there should be any link at all between time spent coding and money earned. It's only if you are employed that there is such a link. When you are an entrepreneur it's down to your product and your strategy !

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Anonymous Coward

@ The idiocy...etc

I presume you are talking about America.

In the Uk you have a choice of 6 carriers with your iPhone.

Therefore there is competition.

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Silver badge

@Alan Wray:selective quoting at its best, try this one instead

I suggest you track down this quote from Rovio's CEO. Perhaps you might get a clue that the business models are different and paid content doesn't define profit on Android.

"“By end of year, we project earnings of over $1 million per month with the ad-supported version of Angry Birds,” says Peter Vesterbacka, CEO of Rovio."

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@Paul Shirley

Perhaps if you want to make a fuss about selective quoting you might actually like to read my comments.

I was and have been explicitly talking about examples where a person with an app WHICH PROVIDES CONTENT (in caps to help you there) has decided to not produce an Android app.

Perhaps you might want to read the part of my comment that points out that for Angry Birds that ad driven model is fine but if you have a CONTENT DRIVEN app (helped you there again) then the business model doesn't work for Android.

It's almost like I read the whole of the Rovio article and understood it, agreed with it and used it to illustrate why the Android model is a problem for CONTENT DRIVEN apps.

Almost like I had a clue.

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Paris Hilton

Wrong

75% of the apps on my HTC are paid for, non ad supported apps. I doubt I am the only one. So somewhere, a developer IS making money from Android market place.

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@Wrong Wray

Even so, to get an app accepted by Apple is an exercise in lunacy; not just the cost but the risk of outright rejection - let alone the risk of being rejected a few weeks later just because Sir Steve had a bowel movement which went bad that morning.

Bottom line is that, for Android, developers are making money without risking outright rejection, or even possible rejection anyway. For a company with mouths to feed, that's worth the effort of even training up existing developers to use new languages (though given the pervasive nature of Java, I'd be surprised if any self-respecting developer doesn't know it - let alone one that couldn't use Air to create a cross-platform delivery). Additionally, using Java adds in the ability to offer the product on other platforms.

Your CONTENT DRIVEN apps can function perfectly fine on ad models; just like they do on the web - in fact, more so on a mobile device. Or they can use subscription IF THEY CHOOSE (see, I'm helping too) since Android lets you do this if you want to.

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Blasphemy?

I trust your post is tongue in cheek?

There is no reason for an android developer not to make money selling applications to consumers. As an individual consumer I could create my own app (if I had the patience with the disasterous mess apple claim is a developer environment) BUT whether I do is a judgement on the cost of the application versus the cost of my time to develop my own. This is REGARDLESS of the underlying operating system. The fact that the apple developer environment is so much worse than the development provided by other OS's (including the most installed OS of them all - Symbian) means that the cost of developing applications is higher. This means they will cost more in the market. This means I will find Android or Symbian far better IF - and only if - I am the type of person who wants to add applications to their device.

So even in an 'open' situation that balance between cost of my effort and cost of the application applies, and, I will still pay a developer who has taken the time I don't want to spend.

And as for 'if apple were on verizon...' not an arguement that holds water, if apple was so much better people would swap their operator.

The apple phones are NOT good for those of us who like to have a real keyboard, or a proper clam shell so we don't fiddle with 'locking' or 'unexpected phone calls' with other OS's I get a much wider choice of device, thats where they will win.

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Making the cost of development back...

Must be ***** expensive and sell ***** loads, after all the development environment requires expensive hardware to run on, it then takes decades to work out (its the worst environment I have EVER seen - and I've been around for a very long time), if you want to do more than a trivial 'hello world' with 'objectiveC' then you will need the patience of a saint and need to back everything up before typing a single command because it is probable that you will find the development environment complete f****** your application and you will need to start again.

Even if you get through all that pain - and frankly I'd rather stab my eyes out with my own severed dick than do it again - you then have to jump through the mindless hoops to get it onto the store.....

No, better and easier to develop for Symbian or Android.

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Jobs Horns

I think you read too much into it

Nearly every end user I know who bought an Android phone (including me) did so due to price.

Apple are taking the proverbial with its pricing. Let me see: I can pay £30pcm for a 2 yr iPhone contract along with another £200 for the phone or £25pcm for a 2 yr contract along with an HTC Desire for free along with all its advantages such as flash, memory cards, replaceable battery etc. The phone may not be as easy to use as an iPhone but it's not that much harder.

To me, and a lot of people, that's a no-brainer.

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FAIL

And not just that

It makes me laugh when I see articles such as this, carefully pouring over percentage market shares to 2 decimal places.

The simple fact is, 90% or more of mobile phone sales are made due to the price, the network, the tariff, or the handset. Most people aren't even aware that phones have different OS's - try it. Pick a normal person, and ask them what OS their phone is running. At best, you might get "Samsung" or "Vodaphone". (Admittedly, quite a few people do know that the iPhone is "somehow different" these days, but you're very unlikely to get Android or Windows Mobile as an answer)

All statistics are a bit faily, but these particular ones are almost completely random.

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Unhappy

really?

I disagree. My mother knows nothing about operating systems or computers, yet the most important thing she wanted in her new phone was 'the latest android'. That's what she asked for at the shop, and that's what she bought.

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Megaphone

Nice margin, Steve

Buy an iPhone and you're buying much more than a phone, you're buying into the whole Apple mindset of perceived superiority, ease of use, and supposed coolness. People pay for that and will continue to do so. Just because the readers and commentards here are savvy enough to make a more informed choice does not mean that the general public are.

Yup, you save money with an Android, but then the manufacturers' margins are wafer thin. Steve will be happy with 20% of the market if he's making $100 a phone when Samsung is making $10 a phone (I have no idea of the actual values, but you get my drift).

(btw, I'm an enforced BB owner through work, and f*cking hate it. Most counter-intuitive and frustrating interface evar. And no Angry Birds.)

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Completely agree

"The biggest reason for this consumer adoption is the robust developer adoption Android has engendered." has to be one of the worst pieces of analysis ever published by El Reg. Android phones tick more feature boxes and come at a lower cost. That's the end of it.

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I have to agree it's mainly price.

Of all the people I know who bought phones recently a few bought iPhones because they wanted one, a couple being rabid Apple fans, the rest bought on price and features -- I know a couple of people who bought HTCs because the iPone was too expensive.

@Marky W: But non-techie buyers don't know they're buying into "The Apple Way" and a lot of techies don't want to do that -- so I don't think that affects the figures much either way.

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Linux

Title

Definately agree with the features thing. Granted, there's many of add-ons for the iPhone, such as every iCrap device/speaker-set out there, but when you have to tote around special connectors and devices because your phone doesn't have a microUSB (almost universal nowadays) or be screwed due to not having a microSD card slot to store more 8MP pictures (oh yeah, the iPhone still doesn't have that....) then the obvious choice for a non-drool-on-self consumer is an Android device.

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Happy

Android stuff

Marky W said: (btw, I'm an enforced BB owner through work, and f*cking hate it. Most counter-intuitive and frustrating interface evar. And no Angry Birds.)

---------------

That's a lie, there is a Blackberry version of angry birds...

Select:

1] Fire red bird low

2] Fire red bird high

====

2 selected.

You Missed!

Select:

1] Fire yellow bird low

2] Fire yellow bird high

1 selected.

You hit a glass tower. 50 points.

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May I be the first fandroid to say...

...come on Microsoft! Let's see Windows Phone 7 R2 in 2011, with added basic functionality! The more horses in this race, the better all platforms become. QNX is looking to be a nice OS base for RIM, and HP has been quietly trundling away on WebOS. MeeGo looks awesome (if only there were devices...) and then there are iOS and Android.

I want to see a knock-down, drag-out fist-o-rama between these platforms. Not in the courtroom (screw you Apple and Oracle!) but where it actually counts for consumers: in INNOVATION. None of this patent/copyright crap. I want some balls-to-the-wall bloodthirsty best-innovator-gets-the-solid-gold-kewpie-doll INOVATION. I mean, come on guys…MICROSOFT has done the most innovative thing in Smartphones in the past two years. (I may not like the UI much, but Windows Phone 7 sure is a whole new way to approach the concept.) Really? We’re letting MICROSFT of all companies set the pace?

Innovation driven by massive competition. It’s the only way. BRING IT ON I say.

After all, it will only make my next phone even better.

Sent from my HTC Desire.

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not so sure about an android boost

I don't have an iphone so I can't comment on it.

I will say that if Windows came with all the software (mainly google apps) that the android does the anti-trust lawsuits would be spinning.

The only applications i've had to add to my android to make it useful is youtube (owned by google) gmail (don't even think I added it, but I do use it).

So it's a google phone and the phone feature of it is the area that works the worst.

I've had numerous issues with my android ever since a software update was done and all sprint does is blame the OS and says they want to reload the phone.

I've only had the freaking thing for a month.

Im sure iphones have to be better than this, I know they cost more.

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Black Helicopters

Unbundling

Same applies to Apple on all their platforms. Don't really see your point.

Microsoft's bundling cases are a joke on any legal system that choses to persue them, usually in markets where their competitors are.

Nobody else cares - maybe if Opera wasn't such a bad browser people would use it. Nothing Microsoft has done has ever stopped firefox or anything based on khtml.

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Oh, please...

Have you ever used an Android phone? I've had three (starting with the G1, to the Vibrant, to the MyTouch 4G); while the hardware improved dramatically, the software has always been awful -- inconsistent, slow, buggy, crash-prone, and generally crippled. Battery has always been a problem (although the 4G, with a 1600mAh after-market battery is OK).

If one does not want to use any (or even some) of Google's services, you're pretty much out of luck. Case in point, Calendar: *still* no support for CalDAV! What kind of crippleware is this?

Even if you do want to use all of Google's services, they are buggy beyond belief --- they truly are beta. Again case in point is the horrendous calendar (iCal and Apple's Mobile Calendar are running circles around Google's offering), but also the awful App Market application (the latest one on 2.2 seems to be even worse than what came before), and the pretty buggy Qik video chat (which manages to be even worse/buggier than Apple's FaceTime, quite a feat I should say).

At a more philosophical level, who in their right mind would choose Java as the main development platform? On top of Linux, no less? Granted, it's better than native programming for Windows PhoneOS (whatever they call it today), but not by much. Even Objective-C is better (not to mention faster). And I truly believe that Apple nailed the mobile app paradigm with their very restricted (but surprisingly functional) version of "multitasking" and push notifications.

The only reason I've stuck with Android for so long (other than curiosity) has been the fact that my cell provider (T-Mobile USA) uses incompatible 3G frequencies, so even an unlocked iPhone won't help with speed. But I've had enough of the Android lameness...better functional EDGE than buggy "4G" --- my unlocked iPhone 4 is on its way.

Sure, Google (and the various non-Apple manufacturers) will flood/are flooing the market with junky (and not so junky, from a hardware perspective) devices...I remain unimpressed. I think that, as soon as Verizon (and the other cellcos) provide iPhone service, you'll see a massive switch over. We'll know soon enough.

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Silver badge

Of course

With 100 times (made up number, but probably the right OoM) as many developers working on Android than iOS, I expect most problems to go away after a couple of years maximum - just look at the improvements just over the last year. We are considering the future here, not the state of play right now (which I don't think is quite as bad as you make out)

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RE:James Hughes

Maybe, maybe not. As the various Linux distros have shown, without having a dedicated team working on look, feel, standardisation and usability of the UI you can end up with some real shit. I like Linux and Ubuntu is definitely getting there but it has shown that open source software needs real leadership and direction. Outside of starting it off and getting their hooks into your data I'm not so sure Google gives a toss, which then leaves the handset manufacturers and networks that can only think of themselves. I know there's some club/group/committee or whatever that deals with Android but that's probably not enough.

The advantage that I'm afraid Apple has is that they know shiny touchy feely hardware and UI sells (whether it's great or not is your own opinion) and because they control the lot it's why they're ahead.

Now that doesn't mean I'm advocating that Android won't get market share as choice and cost will sort that out but I don't believe number of developers means much either - just look at windows.

They both need to do some innovation in the app stores though - too much shite to sift through in both.

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Flame

The real commies are at Apple...

> Have you ever used an Android phone? I've had

> three (starting with the G1, to the Vibrant, to the

> MyTouch 4G); while the hardware improved

> dramatically, the software has always been

> awful -- inconsistent, slow, buggy, crash-prone,

> and generally crippled

ppppffttt.

I have a shell script on my iPhone. Yes, that's right. I said SHELL SCRIPT.

I have s shell script on my iPhone to deal with the fact that Apple doesn't take power users very seriously. I have that shell script to make up for the fact that Apple failed to take certain pretty basic use cases in consideration for their phone. This is stuff that some cheap Nokia non-smartphone from 2001 would address.

It might be fine for some housewife.

For anyone that uses their phone for anything work related, not so much.

Apple is like communism. It has this benign reputation among bleeding heart liberals and the reputation for "taking care of people". Infact, it tends to get wrong more than it gets right due to careless and incompetent centralized management. Ultimately you end up needing to "fend for yourself" more than with a free market where no one is "taking care of you".

The free market avoids the pitfalls of centralized management and makes it far more likely that your particular needs will be addressed by someone.

Thus many power users view Apple products in general as some sort of joke.

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Stop

@JEDIDIAH

Jesus mate...

You actually "work" on your mobile phone? Do you work in SMS telemarketing or something? Or is your company just too tight to give you a laptop?

Just listen to yourself.

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Troll

@akr re. "Oh please"

Let me see if I understand this, you bought not 1, not 2 but 3 Android phones that you say were total crap. I regret that I am almost forced to paraphrase an expression that our compadres across the pond are fond of. Once is an accident, twice is coincidence, THREE times makes you a....D'''head - if they actually were that bad....hmmm? I must obviously tell my good lady to throw her "rubbish" Desire in the bin now that I have read your words of wisdom.

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Anonymous Coward

re Oh, please

Sound points, well made.

With regard to

<<< I think that, as soon as Verizon (and the other cellcos) provide iPhone service, you'll see a massive switch over.>>>

You may well be correct but as with the Mac, I doubt Apple care greatly about market share as such. They will be laughing all the way to the bank. The Mac may have less than 10% market share, but look at Apple's profitability (and in the market segment for computers over $1k they have over 90% share). Most people just want something that works, full stop, no qualifications and as long as Apple keep delivering that, they'll keep selling the stuff in droves.

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@Jedidiah

Quote:

"It might be fine for some housewife."

"Thus many power users view Apple products in general as some sort of joke."

Considering the handful of 'power users' that want to run shell scripts on an iPhone (why!?!) against the many millions of iPhone owning housewives, to misquote you:

Thus Apple view 'power users' in general as some sort of joke.

If it's that much of a problem for you to do what you want on an iPhone, why aren't you using an android phone then? You might consider running a shell script on a phone a "pretty basic use case" but more than 99.9% of the world think it's irrelevant.

Most of the world right now think "basic use cases" for a smartphone is to be able to make calls, send texts and MMS, check Facebook and play Angry Birds.

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Troll

Please..

Wow OP, you made some really poor choices in your phone buying decisions.

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Re: "Oh please..."

Unless, of course, I happen to get these Android phones for free...in which case, it wouldn't quite make me a D"head (at least, not for that reason).

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Why do I need a title to reply?

It baffles me why anyone other than the completely brainwashed could find anything in your post to down vote!

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Anonymous Coward

Android will win this battle too.

"They both need to do some innovation in the app stores though - too much shite to sift through in both."

Android, being the open beast it is, will allow anyone to open their own app store. Frankly i'm amazed its taken this long for someone to open one. When Amazons app store opens they promise weeks of vetting to ensure apps work and are of sufficient quality, more like a 'premium app store'. If you don't like being limited, you can always use the wild jungle that is Googles store.

It's all about choice, see, it's ultimately why I went Android. So many people with iPhones, all exactly the same, same interface, same colour, same ringtones, unable to change any of it, dull. No wonder the iPhone 4 sold so well to current owners, at least it was 'slightly' different.

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Happy

Amen to that...

I have an Orange San Francisco (ZTE Blade) bought for just £99 which I unlocked to run on my provider and then modded Android up to 2.2 Froyo, all for free. Can you do that on an iPhone? I don't think so and it costs 4 times as much!!

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errr...

Yes, or the equavalant of.

You can buy a new unlocked iPhone from anywhere you like, and update it to the most recent OS for free.

There are many points for and against many mobile phone platforms, but this isn't one of them.

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erm

Strangely enough a friend also bought an Orange SF a few days ago, and has been busy putting 2.2 on it.

It worked for a time, but then he discovered some horrible bugs with it. He's on his third 2.2 version but stability is getting progressively worse.

So he's back on 2.1 until the device manufacturer releases the drivers or firmware or whatever it needs for an official 2.2.

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So true

After many years with various Nokia candybars I finally "needed" a shiny smartphone like all my friends. The Orange San Francisco (£99 pay-as-you-go from Argos) fills the bill nicely and I do like this Android thingy. I'm not a fanboi though and willing to try an Apple equivalent if anyone can recommend one. (Must be under 100 quid no SIM latch and no contract kthx)

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@yosemite

So as an iPhone can be upgraded to the current OS version s well, so the only reason you've given for buying the San Fran is that it's cheaper, and whatever open source advocates may think, that's the number one reason Android phones are selling, and it's exactly that reason why I got a Desire.

If your options were paying £400 for an unlocked iPhone, or £400 for an unlocked Android phone, would you still go for the Android one.

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Grenade

Sorry

But this is Google kool-aid drinking BS of the first order. I'm so sick of watching people suckling from the "open" teat when comparing Google and <insert other tech company here, usually Apple>.

Google isn't open. Google merely distributes for free what it needs to in order to get eyeballs on its search business, which most definitely is not free, open or transparent.

Try asking Google to open-source its search algorithms.

Try asking people who have been kicked off the AdWords programme and had their income confiscated without any discussion or chance of recourse.

Do get back to me when you've got your precious "open" company to actually be open, and you truly understand what "open" means.

Apple has many faults but at least they are honest about what type of company they are.

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Silver badge

Bollocks

Of course Google isn't open - its a company, and needs to make money. And one way it wants to make money is to give Android away for free. What's wrong with that? Why should it give away its propriety search secrets? No-one has said Google were open, what they have said is that Android is open - that is, one product from Google, not the whole sodding company.

Google haven't ( AFAIK) said otherwise, or been dishonest with regard to openness in this area, certainly no more so than Apple.

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Bit of a strawman argument here...

Google isn't open, don't think the article says that Google is an open company, and the register points this out quite regularly how not very 'open' google is.

However, android (which is what we are talking about) *is* mostly open source software. Which you can hack, chop and change as you (or to be honest, other, more smarter people with lots of free time on xda) see fit.

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