Despite sounding ridiculously complex, the concept of Mobile Ecosystem is very easy to grasp: an ecosystem is a collection of devices connected by one operating system that can work seamlessly together and share data.
The starting point for an ecosystem is usually a mobile phone running a particular operating system. In this case we would like to consider iOS and Android, the current largest players in
the market as the first and second ecosystems
Before talking anything about the third mobile ecosystem that is yet to exist, It would be meaningful if we discuss what wrong with existing ones, iOS and Android. And consider few basic drawbacks in their respective ecosystems. Let’s see few aspects like hardware, interface, apps, security and availability of updates for now.
iOS is an operating system developed and distributed by Apple Inc.
Arguably, Apple is the pioneer of the first major ecosystem with its iPhone, a phone with its unique interface and a large touch sensitive screen, of course thanks to other manufacturers & Android, we currently got similar interface in many other devices with even larger screens.
- The first problem arises since Apple won’t license their iOS to other manufacturer’s like Google and Microsoft did
- And their pricey hardware as well raises criticism since other manufacturers offer a lot more for the same money spent on the hardware
- So we are restricted to use Apple device in order to be in this ecosystem
- iOS is stuck with an age old interface which Apple haven’t modified for the past half decade
- Considering that your device is not Jail broken, all the apps for iPhone should be downloaded from appstore
- Apps in iOS has to pass through the strict appstore policy, so the developers have to castrate some features of their apps (sometimes) in order to be available for iOS users
- iOS uses sand-boxing for running applications and AE-256 encryption which may sound military grade, but the public key that is necessary to decrypt is well, stored in the first block of the SSD
- If the user uses simple passcode, by using brute force technique, it will take 20-40 mins for unlocking the device
- In this, iOS scores a lot better than
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rival Android, because apple provides the users(of at least past 2 generations) choice to upgrade to the latest version of iOS
Android is a Linux-based operating system designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Initially developed by Android, Inc., whom Google financially backed and later purchased in 2005.
Android was unveiled in 2007 along with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance: a consortium of hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices.
Android is open source and Google releases the code under the Apache License.
- Based on the requirements, users may choose among hundreds of models depending on the budget and other constraints
- The problem again is the OS available on the device which may be outdated considering the rate at which Google is updating the android versions, hence leading to OS fragmentation
- The problem with user interface gets complex since the manufacturers generally port the OS to their devices and tailor it as per their requirement
- Also if the widgets are more, the interface can be felt jittery and might hang sometimes
- Getting apps on android is easy, but it comes at a cost of ads that are included in the app (top/bottom/sides)
- OS fragmentation matters here, since the app developed for one OS may not utilize the features available in the newer OS versions
- Security issues in android apps has given rise to a new breed of hackers called “Malicious hackers” which use android apps to sneak into the user’s device
- Security has been a major concern in Android, since Google is developing the platform but device vendors are modifying it as they see fit, So when trouble arises pointing a finger at one stakeholder or another isn’t easy
- During Q2 2012, attacks on android has increased at an alarming rate, three fold rise in just one quarter (Q2 2012)
- Also Android in built security only catching 15% of the malware, Google should really be blamed
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- Since OS is ported to the devices by the manufacturers, when a newer version of android is released, it is up to the manufacturer to port the latest version(well, it definitely involves cost) and make it available to the device, which in current scenario is not happening
Black Chilled Says:
Despite having various mobile platforms, the concept of ideal ecosystem is still lurking the users.
So let’s see how the above considered topics should be in case of forming an alternative third ecosystem:
- Unlike in iOS, users should be granted choice to choose the device from the various manufacturers available in the market
- Also, the developers should be allowed to access the device kernels, without violating the security, in order to levitate the usage of the device
- Like Linux versions, the underlying components should be released and allowed for the users to update and later the interface and apps an be added by the manufacturers independently
- With the availability of tailoring the interface, the users can choose from various options available to them that suits their requirement
- Ad free apps are always desired from customers and there should be a definite distinction between Trial/Free/Paid apps as below:
- Trial Apps: Free for a definite time but without ads (like whatsapp, swiftkey, provided at a trial basis for one certain period and later on you have to pay for it)
- Paid Apps: Should be at a moderate cost and without underlying ads
- Free(Crippled) Apps: Ads can be integrated on top/bottom/sides instead of occupying the whole real estate
- Security is a major concern if everything is made open. So there should be some point of contact who is responsible for this issues
- Suppose say if manufacturer releases the apps, instead of concentrating on tailoring the OS, then the users might feel more secure and download the apps from the manufacturer’s appstore
- And in case something goes other way, you have the manufacturer who designed those apps to point at
- Users should always be given choice to upgrade their OS instead of waiting for manufacturers to port it to their device
- Hence it mostly reduces fragmentation and allows users to leverage the newly introduced features in the latest OS versions
- The issue of course compatibility testing needs to be done, which is why we see delays from certain manufacturers. Companies like HTC would invest in new products than upgrades
Ultimately, It will always be up to the User to choose across various ecosystems and make the move.
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About the Author: Sairam Asapu is a tech enthusiast and developer, tracking the latest and best updates in the web and gadget world. He currently works as a Program Developer in India’s leading IT services company