Android is supposed to be Google’s answer to the iPhone. Instead of a thoroughly planned, meticulously assembled product like the Apple-brand device, Android is designed to be a software open to all programmers. It is more of a means to shifting internet adaptability to mobile devices than an end in itself, like the iPhone, or any top secret innovation that Mr. Jobs and his crew crew keep covert from the public until it nears Apple-standard perfection.

Two interestingly opposing approaches: should the consumers leave their product to be made by the professionals, who will create a phone that is secure and safe but restricted; or should the consumer have the freedom to control the product, alter the software, and download whichever and however many apps he or she feels like? On one hand, the open source approach obviously seems more justified. It also reminds me of the recent PSA campaign promoting innovation as an American virtue (even if your specialty is building cat magnets). Google is even offering cash rewards for whomever develops the most popular new software.

However, Apple has proven hugely successful due to its obsessive control. In fact, the iPhone may have never been made if it wasn’t for its CEO’s insistent dominance over every aspect of his product, the company’s covert operations, and their arrogant approach demanding that service providers submit to their demands. Additionally, we consumers love having Apple do all the work for us too since we know that they can provide such beautiful pieces of technology (for the most part… perhaps they’ve just been successfully persuading us to think that they are great products. Regardless, they do have a following).

Android seems like it’s going to open the door to a lot of opportunities, depending on how many good programmers there are out there. As the internet cloud becomes more and more ubiquitous, the power to transform the world in your own image keeps moving into the hands of the innovators. But without the Apple design revolution on Android’s side, can invisible open source functionability win the battle over fancy branding? Will ideal function oust the masters of form?

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