I have to wonder how Apple manages to have any sort of developer ecosystem, given how closed the company is and how it regularly treats its developers with what can only be described as contempt. I sincerely hope that Google (and T-Mobile) does a better job with Android's developer community when Android finally hits the streets this week.
I'm referring to Apple's refusal to allow applications in the iPhone store that "compete" with existing Apple apps, according to Ars:
The saga of iPhone app rejections continues with the story of MailWrangler. The app is designed to simplify access to multiple Gmail accounts from the iPhone, but according to developer Angelo DiNardi, Apple has rejected submission to the App Store for duplicating functionality.
I realize that the iPhone has been a massive hit for the company, and it promises to be a goldmine for developers, but I'm surprised that developers are willing to take the risk of developing for a closed platform like the iPhone - where their primary if not sole route to customers can be blocked arbitrarily for "competing" with a native application?
Contrast that with Google's appeal to developers, with no restrictions to what apps can run on Android.
For example, taking a page from Microsoft's playbook, Google is trying to enlist countless programmers in its Android charge, relying on them to build applications for the phone. While the mobile phone business hasn't made it easy to add new applications to phones, Google wants to reverse this and bring more of the openness of PCs to the phone market.
"If you're going to be an Open Handset Alliance carrier, you can't lock it down," said John Bruggeman, chief marketing officer at Wind River Systems, a Google ally that helps phone makers build and customize Android for their phone hardware.
No lockdown. For my money, that sounds a lot better than "it's our phone, and we'll decide who gets to play and who doesn't."
The Android first gen phones may not be as sexy and sleek as the iPhone, but I'd as soon run something a bit clunkier than to suffer the whims of Apple's gatekeepers. I suspect a lot of developers are going to feel the same way.