The Convergence: iOS becoming more open
With recent iOS iterations, some people (analysts and Android fans inclusive) have accused Apple of copying some features from Android.
Multitasking was introduced and it looks almost same with what was available on Android, showing a preview of each running application.
iOS 7 introduced an option that lets you quickly access settings like WiFi and Bluetooth with a control panel, a feature Android has had for a while.
Apple has finally allowed the use of 3rd-party keyboard apps, so one can replace the iOS 8 keyboard with a third-party keyboard like Swype and Swiftkey. These are features Android users have enjoyed for a long while. With iOS 8 also comes widgets to be stored in your notification center. Android phones have always had widgets.
What all these implies is that, Apple is gradually opening up its mobile platform, allowing more API’s and looking more like Google. Apple is starting to get more Google-like ambitions to get iOS onto more devices like in homes and cars, instead of just a small, focused handful of products.
Android becoming more closed
Android on the other hand, is becoming more closed, and they’re gradually trying to tie things up. If you read this piece on why your Android fork is doomed, you will understand the steps Google have taken so far to tighten things up and lock down Android.
The launch of Android L is set to introduce a sleek interface and strong user experience with animations and color transitions, which is something Apple has been good at all these while. Google has partnered with vendors to make phones that carry the “Android Silver” label.
This ensures the phones meet Google’s standards in terms of delivering a consistently better Android experience with less bloatware and heavy-handed UI changes. Phones with these tags are also expected to receive future software updates directly from Google.
Google is also set to review the rules to be followed by manufacturers whom are part of the Open Handset Alliance . They’re reportedly going to mandate where the Google Search bar will be placed, and how Google apps will be ordered in a dedicated Google folder which must be displayed on the home screen of new devices.
The new set of rules will also ensure manufacturers have the latest version of Android installed on new devices, with a promise to update to the newest version within 18 months of the device launch. All these are steps which Google are taking towards total control of both software and hardware, and probably lock things down in the proverbial ‘walled garden’ iOS users are subjected to.
From all these, its clear to point out that iOS is becoming more open and Android is becoming more closed. The erstwhile polar opposites are now converging to being one and the same.