Google and the Problem with Android Openness

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As Google continues its rise to smartphone platform domination with Android, being available on over 20 handsets with every major carrier, the problem with its openness has become evident: if you leave your platform wide open, you’re leaving it open to bloatware and crapware from the carriers. Unlike Apple, who convinced AT&T not to brand the iPhone or install any of its applications in it, Google has allowed carriers to add their own applications onto the platform – applications that are impossible to uninstall without some hacking.

This morning, TechRepublic commented on the issue, saying:

Despite the ugly truth that Android is enabling the U.S. wireless carriers to exert too much control over the devices and keep the U.S. mobile market in a balkanized state of affairs, Android remains the antithesis of the closed Apple ecosystem that drives the iPhone and so it’s still very attractive to a lot of technologists and business professionals.

But, the consequence of not putting any walls around your product is that both the good guys and the bad guys can do anything they want with it. And for Android, that means that it’s being manipulated, modified, and maimed by companies that care more about preserving their old business models than empowering people with the next great wave of computing devices.

Sure, Android and Google have their faults and it is definitely the antithesis to Apple, but no platform is perfect. Some would say that Apple’s iPhone is far too dependent on iTunes, and while that may not be a bad thing for most of us, there are many who prefer cloud services over the old cable-to-computer method in terms of getting our smartphones working.

The closed ecosystem for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch has also prompted some users to jailbreaking their devices in order to get unapproved applications and services onto their phones. This alone has been a point of controversy for Apple and its user base.

Still, I’d much rather be tied to iTunes if it means getting those NFL apps and NASCAR apps off of my phone. I’d rather be given the option to choose from nearly 250,000 applications than being forced to hide or try to delete crappy application, music and ringtone stores, thank you very much.

[Via: TechRepublic]

  • xxx

    And you would do anything to suck Jobs dick!

    • Marc Flores

      Interesting. I use an HTC EVO 4G.

  • Alessio

    I do not agree. iPhone is driven by FreeBSD, a unix derivate, maintained by volunteers, a much smaller community than the Linux crowd. Opensource is more secure because the code is being reviewed and fixed faster than any other commercial OS.
    iPhone, a multiuser based operating system, not capable to run more than 1 App at the same time – bad architecture. You may have written this article from a Windows 7 computer, an OS that was developed by NSA, more backdoors than a swiss cheese.
    Have a look at securityfocus.com, where the biggest technologies and players are daily listed with exploits and stuff.
    Hence … my impression is: you lack of technical understanding and just repeating something from TechRepublic without understanding the principles of software development cycles, security and so on.
    I could break a ferraris Windows with a simple stone, is the Ferrari vulnerable, or am i having too much criminal energy? You do the math….

  • Jordan M

    The plus side to it being so open is that it can easily be rooted. Through root, you can easily remove such bloatware, eliminating the problem.
    Soon, you won’t be able to do that with an iPhone. I’ll take my smartphone with a side of user preference, thank you very much.

  • BallerDude

    No NFL, no NASCAR, no sport? Huh! Odd, I see your avatar as male but I’m confused now. Peace bro.

  • Kevin

    What is this article about?

    Not being able to delete included app icons?

    Isn’t that a primarily Apple iPhone complaint? (stocks, etc)

  • Marin Perez

    I agree that there should be an option to uninstall these apps or to switch from Sense, MotorBlur, etc. through a settings change.

    What I really hate is a constant crying out for stock-Android devices. I just don’t get it – the stock Android experience is incredible compared to the 1.0 version but it’s still not the greatest thing since sliced bread. Gingerbread should have a lot of improvements but since when has Google ever been able to nail a consumer-facing UI?

    Mainly, I’m just surprised that a lot of people would want tech companies to stop trying to innovate with their software. I don’t want the Samsung or Motorola phone to just be a hardware shell for Google, as these companies should be trying to improve Android on their own. Things like the Genius button on the myTouch 3G Slide and the notification bar modifications on the Galaxy S devices are major improvements to Android and I want some of these features baked in to the actual OS.

    Oh and I agree with BallerDude, start loving some sports Marc!

    • Marc Flores

      I love MMA, basketball and any of the tennis grand slams. Football and NASCAR bore me.

  • cube

    I am not pleased learning about bloatware that is difficult or causes warranty voiding when removed. I have been researching android phones, but now I am steering back to apple and may go with the iphone after all? I was put off by the control apple has over iphones, but this bloatware appears worse on the android phones.

  • Maria Sansbody

    On a counterpoint, Apple’s closed architecture has given Apple too much power over their phones. For example, such niceties as Flash is locked out of the phone purposefully. Granted, Jobs publicly stated that he thinks the technology is flawed and can potentially cause harm to the iOS ecosystem, but most websites utilize that technology to provide end users with flashy (no pun intended) effects and streaming media. Another whopper that Jobs has laid down on iPhone users is iAd. What a piece of [CENSORED]! iAd, in its own right, is a monster on application resources! Not only does Apple not give the end user a choice whether to have the application on their phone, but also is muscling out advertisement business from applications with an overbearing atmosphere of media and code!

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