Will The Android Market Be More Appealing To Developers Than The App Store?

from the let-freedom-ring dept

In the past month, it has become clear that Apple, through their App Store, is going to exercise a lot of control over the programs that iPhone users download. The list of removed App Store downloads include Tetris clones, harmless but expensive novelties, movie listings and useful wireless applications. Although many have sung the praises of the new system, this trend of contingent generativity - Jonathan Zittrain's term for intermediaries exerting control over new creativity - has some worrying implications. An ecosystem with perfect enforceability of rules will come to preempt the creativity which comes from the edge (and even piracy). If developers worry that their applications will be shut down by an overzealous enforcement organization (there is no evidence Apple is pulling applications after anything more than a third-party complaint), then innovation will stagnate.

Google seems to understand this. In announcing their competing service, the Android Market, the Android team notes "We chose the term "market" rather than "store" because we feel that developers should have an open and unobstructed environment to make their content available." Application creators will be as free to post information as videographers are to post to YouTube. Although the lack of review before posting doesn't mean Google will not remove applications if complaints are made, their ethic of freedom suggests they see mobile applications in the same light as the Internet: creators will build unanticipated, useful applications if given the chance to experiment freely.

Filed Under: android, app store, mobile, mobile platforms, openness
Companies: apple, google


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  1. identicon
    Mark Murphy, 3 Sep 2008 @ 7:45am

    Re: the iphone tax?

    And don't forget, your support costs will be higher for Android, because you can't count on a specific input method, or screen size, or even if specific libraries are available on the phone your customer has.

    "Libraries" will not be a problem, any more than there is a problem with "libraries" on iPhone given the possibility that not everyone upgrades at the same time. In Android, libraries are either in the OS, or bundled with your application, so there are no additional variables to worry about.

    With regards to input method or screen size, that problem holds true for each and every smartphone platform except iPhone, because each and every other smartphone platform actually supports more than one phone. This issue, therefore, is not unique to Android.


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