Will Apple help Android succeed?

Will Apple help Android succeed?

Summary: 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.

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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.

Topics: Software Development, Android, Apple, Google, iPhone, Mobility, Telcos

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44 comments
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  • Unlikely...

    At the moment the Android movement is only of interest to
    Geeks. Until they get serious with usability and such it will
    only be a niche market.
    jgpmolloy
    • I take it...

      ...you have an Android phone in hand? Because from everything I have seen its no less usable than any other phone OS of its class. Did you just through out an "ility" buzzword just to say something?

      It may be only of interest to geeks right now but thats because there has been no sort of advertisement. I don't think they are going to have a problem finding people that want something similar to an Iphone without having to go with AT&T. Once T-mobile gets the phone the other carriers will want to answer that and with Android they can unlike the exclusive Iphone deal. And to boot the Google brand is on it so average Joe's will most likely be curious but comfortable with such a brand.

      I believe the author is right and the closed nature of the Iphone in the face of Android may actually be what kills it. The stage is set to have a provide a far better experience on an Android phone.
      storm14k
      • ...you can

        As I say when they hit (tomorrow, right?) we'll see how they
        do - but the general public are not going to know what they
        are getting - and this is NOT due to "lack of advertising" just
        lack of actual marketable features that appeal to the common
        "man in the street". They really don't give a fig about
        openness - otherwise we'd have Linux on every desktop.
        jgpmolloy
        • Give it a week.

          I am not being facetious. Any application made for Apple will take, maximum, one week to make for Android. Plus, maybe many that currently Apple doesn't allow (security, competition to Apple products).

          The real need is a central app store, or equivalent to Apple's app store.

          TripleII
          TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
          • me too then.

            Fine, so I code an App for the iPhone, say, and then we get a
            whole host of me too apps for android. Cool. hmmm. Set
            your photocopiers to stun.

            You really are coming up with a HORRIBLE scenario for
            Android phones. Why can't there be some originality there?
            jgpmolloy
          • The story outlined it.

            The Apple SDK license has a few problems.
            1) No applications that use any type of scripting language.
            2) No applications that directly compete with Apple
            3) No TSR type apps.

            The innovation, I think, will come from being able to code the above. Here are3 example apps not allowed.

            1) FireFox or Chrome or Opera
            2) Amazon MP3 purchase app
            3) Live News Alerts (automatically tunes in to the 5 PM news for your train ride home, alarms when it is starting)

            TripleII
            TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
          • Meandering argument....

            First it was the phone is not usable. Then its no one cares about openess. Now its not original.

            The first is not true from what I have seen and the other two have no baring on whether people will want it or not. No on said that consumers care if its open. What they care about are features and apps. The fact that it IS open paves the way for a wide variety of features and apps that you may not see on the Iphone EVER.

            As Triple laid out...you can't write anything that competes with the Iphone software. However Google advertises that you can completely rewrite any piece of software on the phone and make it better. Once again this set up the developer to provide apps to the consumer in a much easier way and with far more flexibility.

            I don't understand how people think you're going to overlook ease of development and deployment as an end benefit to the consumer that knows nothing about it. This is how software development works.
            storm14k
    • T-Mobile has a killer feature.

      It's called HotSpot@Home. I have directed many people to it. For $10/month, your wireless phone connects to your WiFi, and you get unlimited calls. It seamlessly transfers from regular GSM to WiFi and back as you come/go. If you do a lot of wireless talking at home, it is better than anything the competition has by a factor of 10. Introduce Android, it's the only choice I would make.

      Wouldn't matter how good an Apple iPhone was, or how cheap, it is locked to AT&T.

      TripleII

      P.S. No affiliation with T-Mobile, but from setting up my friends, @Home is really a killer service,
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • And this is one reason...

        I switched back to T-mobile on yesterday after my phone broke. It cost me just as much to break my contract with Verizon as it did to get another phone so I left. I had always liked T-mobile better anyway but left because of a corporate discount on Verizon.
        storm14k
    • You can't charge money at Google App Store

      Right now all apps in Google's store are required to be free. I don't see them attracting a lot of top-tier developers right away because of that. Say hello to 45 incarnations of TipCalculator, UnitConverter and Flashlight. You won't be hearing about some small developer making $250,000 in two months with a great idea and a bunch of hard work like is happening in Apple's store today.

      Yes, there have been some bumps in the road for Apple, but the App Store is for real and it's hard to compete against vaporware which only exists as the best thing everyone can imagine it to be. Once Google has everything out for real we'll compare apples to Apples.
      samkass
      • Can you verify that?

        Because the conference I watched said otherwise. You could monetize your application in any way that you wished. The apps can also be closed source.
        storm14k
        • We'll see tomorrow

          From what I've heard, yeah, you can go create your own site and negotiate with some credit card clearing house and do currency conversion and deal with chargebacks and fees yourself then distribute it yourself, but that's not part of the Google App Store. Whereas with Apple, you give them a 30% cut and they do everything for you, Google doesn't take anything but also doesn't provide any sort of charging system-- all the apps on the Google store are downloaded for free.

          Anyway, I guess we'll find out tomorrow.
          samkass
  • Apple lost my business

    AGREED with CAPS.

    My story:
    I wanted to create a mobile app. iPhone naturally was the logical choice because of its momentum. Then when I got into the details.- the SDK requires a MAC + App Store issues and in general the arrogance on part of apple. my strategy changed. I am now developing for Android as the first prototype and then will go on iPhone if I get some validation from investors.

    So -effectively Apple has at least lost my business as a developer.

    The Mac club is like that elite private school that only serves the rich and thrives on being exclusive. GREAT for them . They will end up having a 10% market share and excellent margins. This is probably their vision
    njuneja
    • Good luck with that...

      Post when you clear your first $250 grand.

      http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/9/iphone-developer-i-ll-
      do-anything-apple-tells-me-to-do-i-just-made-250k-on-
      the-app-store-in-two-months-aapl-
      jgpmolloy
      • Google might end up giving the first 250K

        Heard about this.
        http://code.google.com/android/adc.html

        One more reason I decided to go with Android. Not that I will win this . But hey there is atleast the chance and it just shows the willingness on part of google to make my life as easy as possible
        njuneja
        • yup

          Indeed, go with it, good luck.

          Just remember that the guy who did Trism EARNED it.

          No Bribes, no contest, just 50,000 people ponying up the
          money to buy something they wanted to own. On whatever
          platform you choose to go with if you do something right
          then people will buy.
          jgpmolloy
    • A niche share might be what they want.

      Think about it. Owning Apple is like being in an exclusive club. It looses the mystique if everyone has it. The Android OS has the potential to become the basis for just about all phones. Its not going to be exclusive. Once T-mobile has it and if it sells then all the other carriers are going to want it. Look at how they have all tried to mimick the Iphone. Well now they can have something thats actually comparable in terms of features and UI. Androids will be everywhere and Iphones may still be some sort of elite phone...if they are smart....otherwise Apple will get killed.
      storm14k
    • So you're giving your app away for free?

      cause everything at the Google store will be for free, at least in the beginning. Sounds like a great business plan!!
      GoPower
    • ???

      The Apple iPhone SDK requires a Mac.
      Do you expect to make so little money with your app
      that you can't possibly expect to recoup the
      investment of procuring a $600 mac mini? Is your app
      of
      such poor quality? if it is then it won't sell on any
      platform.

      If this is your business I hope you are aware computer
      purchases qualify as tax write offs. If you are
      unwilling to make a small initial investment why are
      you in business at all?

      App Store issues? huh? what issues... care to
      elaborate a little about the tremendous problems that
      developers like yourself are having?

      Arrogance? dude you're just looking for any excuse to
      be angry.
      fox.kenji
      • I think you're missing the point.

        [b]The Apple iPhone SDK requires a Mac.
        Do you expect to make so little money with your app that you can't possibly expect to recoup the investment of procuring a $600 mac mini? [/b]

        You've completely missed the point.

        You're a programmer. You've got a lot of experience writing for say, Windows. You've seen the wild success of the first gen iPhone. You hear the iPhone 2.0 will do apps and you want to write for it. But no, you can't just get the SDK to run on Windows. You're stuck with buying a Mac.

        So now you've got to spend a minimum of $600 for the Mac Mini, plus this, plus that and who knows what else. And then you've got to invest a bunch of TIME learning how to use OSX and then learn to write programs for the bloody thing.

        So it's 6 months later and you've now done all that and you've written what you think is a killer app. You submit it to the powers that be @ Apple and they tell you and your "killer" app to go pound sand for some obscure reason.

        What's even more infuriating, someone else writes a similar app, different icon, and ever so slightly different in functionality and their app gets a pass - and makes the author a boatload of money.

        There's a lot of investment involved before you see your first nickel in return from writing for the iPhone. You might be able to write off the Mac and any other books and/or supplies/peripherals as a tax deduction, and you may even be able to write off the time you've invested to a degree, but you've still wasted a bunch of money.
        Wolfie2K3