Free-Flowing or Locked?

It’s time again for that Apple vs. Android tale of rivalry.

Take a look at this whimsical introduction to the ‘back and forth’ between Android operated systems (in this case, the Samsung GalaxyS3) and Apple iPhone.

The advert made by Samsung was a, rather successful, attempt at levelling the playing field with Apple. The hype around the release of the iPhone 5 (and there was a lot!) stirred something within the Samsung headquarters which resulted in this hilarious look at consumer hype. Rather than letting me explain the message Samsung is trying to convey, I’ll leave it to Derek Zoolander…


In a nutshell, the reason why Apple and Android are the subject of much debate is because they are both completely different operating systems. So much so that they are opposing.

On one hand, we have the iPhone. A seamlessly integrated operating system that is synchronised in perfect harmony with other Apple systems. The iPhone has a very minimal chance of crashing and you’ve got all your eggs in one basket. However iPhone users aren’t given a choice as it is a completely closed system, giving the users essentially zero control of content flow. This ‘locked’ system isn’t as bad as it sounds, the closed systems allows developers to specifically target the operating system – making it a trustworthy software.


Android however, takes each feature of the iPhone operating system and does it backwards. The Android is completely customisable, allowing anyone to access and modify codes and applications become limitless. This kind of ‘free for all’ attitude means that Google relinquishes all control of content, user and platform. A white wall that allows users to paint it anyway they so please. While this is obviously better than the restrictive nature of the iPhone, this free-flowing content creates too many avenues to be explored, managed and utilised. It also creates the unpredictable nature of the Android software which has become synonymous with system crashing. Android’s popularity cannot be argued however, with an impressive 85% of the global smartphone market share.

Ultimately, in this locked and free-flowing debate, we want to know which device is better. But the fact remains, we aren’t all looking for the same thing in a device. Do we want the device that’s ‘safer’? Do we want the device that’s faster? Do we want the device that’s more reliable? The one that doesn’t crash? The one that’s software is customisable? Do I even know how to do that?

What exactly are we looking for? I’m not sure if we actually know or we’re just waiting for the big guys to tell us.

Zittrain, J. (2010) ‘A fight over freedom at Apple’s core’. Financial Times, February 3.

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