Escaping The Garden


Last week I discussed the ‘walled garden’ nature of Apples popular iOS mobile operating system and the restrictions that came with it. But what if I told you there was a way out, an alternative called Android. This alternative boasts source code that’s open to all allowing developers and enthusiasts to develop new features and customize to their heart’s content. This alternative sounds great but is it open source savior we need?

Google was terrified that Apple would end up ruling the mobile space. So, to help in the fight against the iPhone at a time when Google had no mobile foothold whatsoever, Android was launched as an open source project. – Google’s iron grip on Android

Android began in 2003 originally aiming to create an advanced operating system for digital cameras. They quickly realized that the market wasn’t big enough and changed their focus to creating a smartphone operating system. In 2005 they were acquired by Google and continued to develop the OS shrouded in secrecy until 2007 when the Open Handset Alliance a group of technology and mobile companies dedicated to creating open standards for mobile devices unveiled itself and announced its first product Android.

While reviews were skeptical at first Android has become the most widely used smartphone operating system with around an 80% market share worldwide. Reviews now tout the open aspect as one of the top-selling points for devices running android and hardware developers such as Amazon and release hardware (Kindle) running their own customized version of Android but problems have arisen. People have questioned if Android is truly open source with the majority finding that in the legal definition of ‘open source’ it is but it is not transparent and the consumer cannot do whatever they want with it.

Once the code is released, Android developers can download it and do what they want with it, but they have no way of seeing what’s happening behind the scenes every day. If you want to know how Firefox changed last night — however esoteric those changes may be — you can study the changes on the Mozilla site. The same is true of the Linux kernel, Open Office and nearly every other open source project with a website. – Is Android open?

Android is not the savior that most open source enthusiasts will tout it as but it is more ‘open’ than iOS. It has shown that an OS based on the concept of being ‘open’ can be successful which in turn will hopefully pave the way for a truly open source platform in the future.


12 thoughts on “Escaping The Garden

  1. It is true that Android has higher market share worldwide and how amazing Android is to allow developers to create more new ideas of applications and so, but according to Arthurs and Gibbs, Google’s Android is actually not as free or open source as you may think. Here’s the link of how Google’s Android is not as free as you think

    Liked by 1 person

  2. An interesting approach to the topic. You definitely have Android covered, and do a great job explaining to your readers what open source is and how it applies to Android. Also, nice touch tying it in with the walled gardens subject in the first sentence, as this shows you have a greater knowledge of the subject as a whole.

    Although I would have liked to see you touch more on Apple. I understand you most likely wanted to focus on Android, but making some small comparisons would have strengthened this blog post. For example, you could have talked about worldwide market share of Apple, or even Apple’s reaction to Android using the opposite approach of source software.

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  3. Hi there, I felt this post had a strong start by connecting to your previous post and the visual aid you provided really added to your information, great work! Your critical summary of the Android was good, though it would have been stronger with a comparison to Apple’s ‘closed’ iPhone. It would also be great to provide more context to the graph you linked to regarding Android’s 80% hold over the market, this link provides an interesting perspective on it:

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I thought your title was quite clever as I am also interested in escaping the garden. I took a similar approach to my blog if you are interested in having a look I thought your balance between lecture, readings and independent research was great as you reverenced a variety of sources. It was engaging that you included a video as I didn’t know some of the details the video explained so this gave me a better idea of what you were talking about. It was interesting that you said that Android is “the legal definition of ‘open source’” this really made me think because whilst it is an open source it is not transparent and the consumer cannot do whatever they want with it. A very thought provoking post well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like how you’ve started this blog with a way out out of the walled garden being Android! Opening the world’s eyes to the Android operating system has stepped up the playing field against leading mobile phone giant Apple. Google made a great choice in choosing to work with Android because it has sky rocketed in sales and it has allowed users to create apps and change the way their phone operates however they like, however I do agree that Android is not the savior, and you have a point in saying that Android has created a new path to the world of ‘open source’ and perhaps apple may go down this path? I personally don’t see it happening as Apple itself is very unique in how it runs and develops it’s products.

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  6. Really good summary of the history of Android, it helps to pain the picture of where they are at today. I like the personal voice through your writing, it keeps it interesting and your conclusion adds depth to the story that was interesting to learn about this week. Android may not be as open source as we are told it is, but it’s better than a walled garden, right?

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  7. Hey, great post. I’m happy to read this as an Android user it shows how much it has changed in the past few years it’s been active in the mobile market. Apple has a great product and OS but with closed software, But I don’t think it can keep up with Android in the future. Apple releases a product annually while Android has several mobile developers that release new smartphones every few months. But even with Android’s market advantage, at the end of the day it still comes down to preference, some people might loyal to a brand, and some people might prefer the OS.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I liked this post for how informational it is. Easily read, it was also easily understood – especially to someone who somehow is in DIGC202 yet is semi-technologically challenged…what I would have maybe liked to have heard more of is a personal account. Do you have an Android or Google-made product? Also, I might have liked to hear more from the Apple perspective – how do users feel about being open-source vs closed-source? Do they even know?
    Found this interesting article – Apple claims their software is very “open” as well- and even began as completely open source software.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a great follow up to your post from last week – I am glad you did not repeat the comments you made regarding the iOS last week and instead kept your focus on the android platform. While it is reported that Android makes up over 80% of the market, you must remember that there are many more corporations using the Android system than Apple, and that they still have a large portion (approximately 1/5th) of the current phone market associated solely with their product. The battle between open source and closed source is far from over, and I look forward to seeing how it plays out into the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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