Android and iOS: Where are they headed? Part 1

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The two most popular mobile ecosystems iOS and Android have always had their major focus, targets, principles, goals and objectives they reach for and aim to attain. Considering both ecosystems separately, looking at past and current trends, we can try to predict or deduce where they’re both headed and what their futures could look like. First, let’s take on iOS

iOS: The ‘Steve Job’ dream

iOS from the start, was all about a locked-down, walled garden that delivered a very smooth user experience. Over the past couple of years, Apple has built iOS with sleek interface at heart. Something intuitive, easy to use, aesthetically pleasing and colorful. The design flows and colors comes at a price, which is a locked down ecosystem that prevents users from accessing apps from other sources, deciding almost everything for the users, and always being in control. A quick look at iOS design official page will further help you grasp the iOS message that is being preached. Here are some excerpts from the page:

Nothing we’ve ever created has been designed just to look beautiful. That’s approaching the opportunity from the wrong end. Instead, as we reconsidered iOS, our purpose was to create an experience that was simpler, more useful, and more enjoyable — while building on the things people love about iOS. Ultimately, redesigning the way it works led us to redesign the way it looks. Because good design is design that’s in service of the experience.

Simplicity is often equated with minimalism. Yet true simplicity is so much more than just the absence of clutter or the removal of decoration. It’s about offering up the right things, in the right place, right when you need them. It’s about bringing order to complexity. And it’s about making something that always seems to “just work.” When you pick something up for the first time and already know how to do the things you want to do, that’s simplicity.

Gradually and consistently iOS and Apple have always maintained their objectives, and stood by it. Creating a corresponding consistent flow and user experience, only with the addition of extra features (and functionality) in subsequent OS updates.

Android: The Google ‘Child’

In 2004, Android was acquired by Google, then they had no mobile foothold whatsoever- Android was launched as an open source project, to compete with iOS. Google allowing it to be open-source means the source code is left free, such that anyone could take it up and work on it. Google gave away Android for free to be able to attract any form of marketshare and also use it as a means for distribution of Google services.

Gradually, it started gaining fans and follower-ship. Manufacturers and enthusiasts took it up and made flavours of their own in order to differentiate theirs from others. Developers made apps and the apps store grew. Things got better gradually, and Android grew from zero percent of the smartphone market to owning nearly 80 percent of it.

This being said, it is obvious Android won the smartphone wars, but “Android winning” and “Google winning” are different sides of a coin. Android (since it is free) doesn’t belong to Google, so for them to tune ‘Android wining’ to their advantage, they had to take some measures.

Android is popular due to its openness all at the expense of a consistent user experience, fragmentation, and sleek interface.

2 comments

  1. Diversity is the name and not fragmentation for every platform had a bit of fragmentation and inconsistency. Android is still basically the same across all brands even with those minor differences and moving forward always means thing cannot just remain the same.

    The original iPhone even to the third generation do not have the drop down notification system borrowed from Android nor do they have the quick settings menus. That’s what comes with moving forward. Windows Phone too has its bits of fragmentations that’s probably more pronounced that the others even though no one seems to mention it most times. Remember when they moved to the Windows Phone 8 and left the Windows Phone 7 devices behind? That’s likely going to happen again with the impending move to Windows 10.

    All of them are fragmented only to varying degrees.

  2. The way I see it, Google and Apple have different directions for their respective mobile OSes.

    Google is interested in market share, they need to get Google services on as many devices as possible. In fact Google makes little or nothing from Android directly. Ironically, it has been reported that Microsoft makes more money from Android more than Google. This is from patents which that Microsoft holds which are implemented on Android. Google makes money from advertisement which is directly proportional to the number of devices running its services. Thats why Google frowns at a-la Amazon/Blackphone kind of Android fork because its services does not hold sway on these kind of devices. Infact, an iPhone running Google services (almost every iPhone user does) is more valuable to Google than an Amazon Fire phone. This brings me to the reason why Google supports iOS diligently. Many people have rightly pointed out that all Google needs to do is to stop supporting iPhones for Apple to die, its a catch 22 because inasmuch as Apple is Google’s biggest rival, killing iOS this way may not benefit it, besides its not a hardware company. Again anti-trust litigation may be brought upon Android as iOS is virtually the only Android competition.

    For Apple, they have said it many times that they are not interested in market share, they are comfortable with the high end of the smartphone market…and its working for them. What is playing out now between Android and IOS is reminiscent of Windows and Mac OS except that MSFT gets paid for windows licences. I feel if Apple licences iOS to other OEMs, their marketshare would probably be higher than what it is presently. Unfortunately Apple has better ideas as to where it is headed with its OS. With its new Mac OS (Yosemite), I think Apple is trying to consolidate on every Mac user to own an iPhone. Yosemite integrates well with iOS and they are looking strikingly similar. Reports has also surfaced that the new iPad may run an OS X/iOS hybrid.

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