The Clopen World of Android

By  |  Monday, January 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Marketing Land’s Danny Sullivan has a nice summary of the state of Android–not really open, yet not closed, either: 

Imagine if when Windows 7 came out, it was only offered on only one particular Dell computer. It was also uncertain when or if other computers, including those made by Dell, would ever be able to upgrade to it. Welcome to the “clopen” world of Android. 

 Another choice quote:

 If Android 4 was a real ice cream sandwich, it might melt long before it was delivered to customers.

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10 Comments For This Post

  1. The_Heraclitus Says:

    LOL! Weak attempt Danny. Neither Apple nor MS is the #1 Smart phone OS

  2. Frozzel Says:

    iOS and android are mobile operating systems and iOS has more market share in the larger picture, 1# depends on how you spin the story, there are no android phones that even come close to the number of new iPhones sold most are lucky to break a million sales were as the iPhone sales 20 million phones. It's really a matter of perspective, but how many people do you think are using ice cream sandwich? I'm betting there are over $150 million running iOS 5.0, love this comparison google can force carriers to do updates they just choose not to.

  3. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Get a clue Fozzie. Samsung ALONE outsells Apple in smart phones.

  4. richardl Says:

    With the exception of NDAs, how is Google releasing a new OS version all that different from Apple releasing a beta version of a new OS? (e.g. iOS 5 was in beta for 5 months before it was generally available.) Or Apple forking the OS and not supporting some devices for 8 months? (e.g. the CDMA Verizon iPhone 4 not getting updated to iOS 4.3) Or Apple discontinuing OS updates for devices that they had had in their product catalog within the previous year? (e.g. the iPhone 3G which Apple was happy to sell you up through May 2010, but stopped updating after iOS 4.2 in November 2010, or the iPod touch 2nd gen which was only dropped from the Apple product line in Sept. 2010 yet received no OS updates after November that same year.)

  5. Paul Says:

    Apple’s beta’s are truly beta’s – they are not publicly available and are in no way comparable to a general release. When new versions come out they come out for all devices that can support it. There were some problems with iOS 4 versions for the verizon phone, but those were more certain features rather than version numbers. Not to mention that was a very unusual scenario – They had to make a CDMA version and they kept things behind until the next bigger release. The only time discrepancies like this happen is when the product line changes drastically. There is a reason that Apple keeps updates around the same time. The Verizon release was way unusual for the iPhone.

    You are conflating very different things here. With Android, you can buy a 3 month old phone and updates may never come if at all. You could be waiting forever after general release – you never know. With Apple you can be reasonably assured for support for several years after the device is sold. The 3GS has been out for 2 years and it is still getting current updates on the same day that updates for newer devices come out.

  6. richardl Says:

    > With Apple you can be reasonably assured for support for several years after the device is sold.

    OK. For some reason Apple fragmentation vis-a-vis the CDMA iPhone 4 doesn't count.

    And your assurances of software updates doesn't really hold up to the scrutiny of history. If you bought an 8GB iPod touch in summer of 2010 (not a ridiculous prospect given the product's demographic). In which case there were no more updates after November. Likewise an iPhone 3G (the entry-level iPhone at the time) bought in April 2010 saw no further updates after November.

    I don't think I'm conflating anything except the difference between closed betas and open source releases.

  7. richardl Says:

    Apple also forked iOS in April 2010 with version 3.2 for the iPad. That fork wasn't reconciled back with the main branch of the OS until 4.2 the following November.

    Now you can argue that these are just features that were fragmented, but in fact it was data compatibility that was majorly impacted. Data from higher versions of iOS can't be restored to lower versions. Thus a Verizon iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2 couldn't be synced with data from the AT&T iPhone 3GS running iOS 4.3 it was replacing. (Again not a ridiculous scenario.)

    The lack of fragmentation and its impacts on iOS is a myth.

  8. John Fenderson Says:

    I still don't see that fragmentation is such a big deal. My android phone doesn't, and probably won't, have ICS ever — and it doesn't affect me one bit. The phone I have works wonderfully, does everything I could want (and more), is rock solid stable, and is easy to use (I find it more user-friendly than iOS, but that's just a matter of taste).

    So why would I care whether or not it's running the latest version? As soon as my phone doesn't meet my needs, I'll just replace it anyway.

    As to the point of the article, I disagree with it. Android *is* open. That it is used as a base OS by manufacturers of closed hardware doesn't change that. It's the phone that's closed, not the OS.

    I can very easily get Android on my own, modify it to my heart's content, and install it onto my phone to replace what the manufacturer put there. That's pretty open if you ask me.

  9. The_Heraclitus Says:

    The "reason" is that the author has a problem with Android kicking Apple's butt in the smart phone market.

  10. Argumentative Essays Says:

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