Apple, for all the shit they get for being “closed” and “evil”, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers. Google set off to help in this goal, then stabbed us all in the back and went the complete other way, to the side of the carriers. And because they smiled the entire time they were doing it and fed us this “open” bullshit, we thanked them for it. we’re still thanking them for it!
I probably spend far too much time following technology issues, but it’s a huge part of my life. I became a graphic designer at the dawn of the Macintosh and Postscript age, so whatever happens in tech affects the type of work that I do.
So, naturally, I closely follow the ongoing Android/iPhone wars very closely, and once again, the camps have clearly established themselves as they did in the 1980s between Windows and Mac. Android/Windows proponents dismiss the Mac/iOS as a walled garden. Maybe, but it’s a beautiful garden that requires far less maintenance, because all kinds of nasty stuff just can’t get in and kill my flowers. A little water, a little sunlight, and I’m good to go.
Like MG Seigler, I cast a very suspicious eye upon the whole Android ecosystem, and everything I read about it gives me the willies. Dozens and dozens of phones run a variety of Android versions, with the carriers determining which phones get which upgrades. All along, Google continues to tout its “open” operating system. However, with the carriers calling all the shots about which flavor of Android gets put on their phones and networks, what kind of openness is this?
Uber Geeks love Android, they tell me, because of they like to tinker with it. No thank you. I want my phone to work. I have jailbroken my iPhone in the past before the latest upgrade and I will likely do it again, but I have a life and would rather not spend any more of it than I have to playing around under the hood of my various computers.
Seigler, however, points out to a much more insidious problem with Android. At one time, I looked to Google to help us break the grip of the carriers. With their incredible wealth and market power, they would finally — with Apple’s help — completely disrupt the tyranny of the carriers. Instead, they jumped into bed with them, all the while disingenuously claiming to advance the cause of “openness.”
As a big user of Google products, including Gmail, Picassa, Docs, Plus and more, I think its time to start looking for alternatives. For me, Google’s jumped the shark, and I plan to take even greater control of my digital life. Facebook is bad enough, but it has become an unavoidable fact of online existence, but I limit my activities there. No apps, I share the minimal personal information, and I stay constantly on-guard for Facebooks substandard software engineering and continued inability to adequately secure their systems.
As the only major tech player to successfully shake the foundations of the anti-consumer-oriented cell phone industry, Apple will forever get my gratitude. I look forward to what they’ll do with television. If only Google didn’t have to lose its way and essentially discard its “Don’t be evil” mantra, we’d all have better phones, cheaper service, and a less frustrating digital experience.