iPhone vs Android debate – must we?

Posted by James Brindle on January 6, 2011.

Today, e-technews site The Register ran an article which goes in tandem with the great Android vs iPhone debate.

Both devices have a shineyness about them but the jobsian product has been polished with Mr Sheen and the attempting-world-domination-via-making-everything-free google version, well, used a cheaper pound store brand – in my opinion of course.

In this world, there are those that can and those that can’t, those that do and those that don’t.  When it comes to mobile devices, somebody leads and somebody follows.

At the moment, Apple are leading, not necessarily in everything (come on guys, fix the alarm bug once and for all).  They’ve taken the time to test, work on, figure out and make the tools available to build great applications.  Other devices are following suit and finally providing a structured way of working, unlike the old days of windows mobile where you literally hacked code and there was no documentation.

The main argument in this big debate though seems to be the release process difference.

Apple have a rigid development, testing and deployment process which is almost self-funding, you write and test your app, you submit it, they do some testing and pass or fail it.  If it passes, it appears in the app store, if it fails, they give you a reason for why it fails.

At the World-Wide-Developer-Conference 2010, Steve Jobs said there are 3 key reasons why an app fails to pass testing and get released:

  1. It doesn’t do what it says it’s supposed to do

    I can think of a number of android and definitely windows mobile apps i’ve paid for in the past that are £20 and up ‘shareware’ that don’t do everything they state!

  2. The app doesn’t work

    Again, i’ve seen a number of releases via the huge number of disparate mobile app sites that have lots of these, you try getting your money back under an “as is” warranty.

  3. The app tries to use the private API’s

    To a layman reader this won’t mean a lot but it translates as you’re trying to do something you’re not supposed to do in the wild just yet.

With good reason because the customer whines at Apple first and the developer second from statistics – they do what most consumers do – they go back to the store they bought it from.

Android appears to have a more relaxed, transparrent, hippy-like approach to what you can get into an app and the release process is a lot smoother.

You can liken it to parents and children, Apple are the stricter authoritarian parent, the child will do as it is told and with the right guidance, will grow up to be a world leader.  Google are the relaxed liberal, virtually-no-rules parent who’s 13 year old runs amock on the streets at night terrorising people going into convenience stores who grows up to be a political activist.

There’s good and bad reasons for this and in my opinion, I favour Apple’s approach which Google’s android should really adopt in part.  The reason for this is that for every good 3rd party developer, there’s a whole bunch of miscreants looking to exploit technology and cost you money.

Lets look at it this way, what if the off-shore call centre brigade hired somebody to write an app that could embed another, always listening service into your device which could be instructed to make phonecalls in the background for them, effectively, using your mobile as a bridge for calling in a country – or worse, telemarketing apps where they don’t ring you, your phone rings them….. on their £5.00/min premium rate number of course!

For me, the biggest thing I want access to in the iOS arena is interception of incoming calls before the user – ie, call filtering.  Lots of other mobiles have it now as standard – why not iPhone?  I want to write an app that will auto reject withheld numbers or filter known call centres by list and dump them to voicemail or just plain hang up on them.  I can see the relevant stuff in the headers but i’m not allowed to use it at the moment.

This sounds like doom-saying but lets face it, Google are really pretty evil, they seek to make top-tier developers redundant by providing free code and turning the developer community into a bunch of script integrators.  While all these things are nice and free now, at some point, the corporate monster will put a price on it.  They’re trying the same with Android OS.

Just like i’ve said before to great acclaim where Microsoft should stick to the desktop market and leave servers to operating system that know how to do it, Google should concentrate on getting their search system to work properly instead of cheapening the market – we’ll leave that to China, they’re good at ripping off western ideas and not paying royalties!

Anyway, you can read the original reigster article here.

About the Author

James Brindle is a freelance technology consultant based in Blackburn, Lancashire with over 20 years of experience in the IT, Media and Telecommunications industries with specialties in Web and Mobile Application development, Voice over IP (VoIP) deployment and integration, media storage and distribution systems and wide area solutions. He has a passion for retro gaming and volunteers as a presenter and acts as vice-chairman of Blackburn's Hospital Radio service.

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