Business Strategies in Open Source Software Industry



For many years, proprietary software has been the dominating business approach used by the commercial software firms. Industry giants like Microsoft proved this strategy to be successful, building their multibillion dollar empires based on the proprietary software platform. Over the past decade, a new business approach called open source model which involves contributors from around the globe to create, share and distribute software code for free had come into practice (Pal, N & Madanmohan, TR., 2002). Although the roots to this practice of sharing code evolved since early 60s, the widespread usage of internet and the technology developments in past two decades opened new opportunities for open source projects (CNET news, 1998). A number of Open Source Software (OSS) products such as Apache web server, BIND and SendMail have dominated their product categories ever since then (Pal, N & Madanmohan, TR., 2002).

In the past decade, several researchers (Wheeler, DA., 2007; Mockus, et al., 2000) have taken interest in studying how open source can be applied to modern business strategies. However, a concern exists that in this area of study that there is no substantial evidence that the practices followed are effective in the business environment (Bitzer & SchrA¶der, 2004). For economists like Lerner & Tirole (2000), the altruism shown by commercial companies and programmers involved in an open source software project is surprising. They stated altruism hasn’t played a major role in any other industry than software. Several others like Freeman & Rogers (2008) and Goetz (2003) contradict this statement by illustrating altruism exist in any industry provided there is proper exposure of the problem towards the contributing community. But most of the researches surrounding open source model considered software industry as the base for their studies.


1.1 Objective

This project work focuses on the study of the Open Source ecosystem( Android ) how it differs from Closed source sustems such as those surrounding the iPhone. This project includes the study of the Android Market, (online mobile application store for Android users) application developers, and which factors developers consider for selecting a platform for application development. To understand business strategy development trends across Android and iPhone platforms, we compared the Android market with the iPhone App Store, the leading application store in current mobile market. Apple launched an online application marketplace called the “iPhone App Store” before launching iPhone 3G. Currently, this store has more than 195,000 applications. To match or surpass the success of iPhone App Store, Apple rivals such as Google and Blackberry introduced their own application downloading stores called “Android Market” and “Blackberry App World” respectively. The Android Market is similar to the

iPhone App Store or to any other application store; it boasts a catalog of applications,

services and tools available for the user to purchase download and use. Today, the Android Market also has around 49,000 applications. Thus, the comparison between iPhone and Android application stores will help explain the new challenges faced by these two application stores, and also the demand for these stores in the near future.

This study will help understand why Android choose Open Source System and why Apple doesn’t, what determines their success, which large companies are directly involved in developing applications for Android, and which factors they consider for developing an application.

1.2 Experimental Procedures

This project is based on a semi-automatically collected application database andA  surveys to obtain necessary information for proving the hypothesis.

(A) Website Data

Firstly, application data were collected semi-automatically from the Android Market and iPhone App Store (iTunes store) and other mobile applications related websites, for e.g.,, This gathered application database includes a list of the application categories on both platforms, number of applications in each category, and application information for the selected categories.

(B) Interview Data

Next, we interviewed mobile application developers to understand and know their views about Android/iPhone platforms and the ecosystem. To get in touch with mobile application developers, we attended the mobile conferences where they gather to share their views.

(C) Survey Data

Lastly, all the relevant facts about application developers from the interview data helped us prepare a survey. This web-based survey was prepared and conducted using

Survey Monkey.

1.3 Resources Utilized

The main resources used during this project were our industrial advisor, our academic reader, Android and iPhone application database, interviews and surveys from mobile application developers.


2.1 Introduction of Literature Review

In order to achieve success in project implementation, the first step is to research and find information already available. During research, we found many articles related to our topic. This paper is based on the content from these articles. We have divided this section in four main areas:

  1. Overview of the Open Source Operating Systems (Android).
  2. Overview of the Closed Source Operating Systems (Apple IOS).
  3. Fundamentals behind the Open Source Platform.
  4. Introduction to the Smartphone.

2.2 Overview of the Open Source Operating Systems (Android).

Google has achieved something remarkable with its open-source Android operating system. SinceApple’s iPhonerevolutionised thesmartphonein June 2007, bringing touchscreens and a beautiful user experience to the masses, it’s been without a rival. Sure, there’s a small legion of BlackBerry fans, and a few Nokia die-hards, but the critical consensus up until about a year ago was that the iPhone’s achievements were peerless.

EnterAndroid. The free, open-source mobile operating system was introduced to consumers with theHTC Dream(also known as theT-Mobile G1) in late 2008, but didn’t start gaining steam until the release of theHTC Heroin July 2009. The Hero, armed with a custom user interface called "Sense" that HTC built in-house, gained rave reviews for its high-end specs and faultless user experience, and appeared on many critics lists of the best gadgets of 2009. The whispers began: Had Google managed to create a platform that genuinely rivalled the iPhone for the best smartphone experience around?

This success is starting to show in the numbers. In February 2010, Google announced that more than 60,000 phones with Android on were shipping each day. The Android App Market is also booming, housing more than 30,000 downloadable applications in March 2010, although that’s still comparably small when set beside the 185,000 or so Apple has in its App Store. But where once companies had to have an iPhone app, it’s now understood that they need to offer both an iPhone and an Android variant.

Manufacturers haven’t let the opportunity pass them by, either. At the time of writing, there are around 35 mobile phones, five tablet PCs, three e-book readers and a netbook available that come with Android installed — a total of about 43 devices. But that’s nothing compared to the amount of gadgets that are purportedly in the works. If you tot up the rumours, statements of intent, leaked documents and roadmapped products from manufacturers, you can add at least another 15 smartphones, 19 tablet PCs, two e-book readers and three more netbooks to the pile. When you combine the totals, you arrive at a figure of at least 82 Android devices either released or in development.

The platform has received four major updates since the HTC Dream launched with Android 1.0. Version 1.5 brought camcorder functionality and the ability to use homescreen widgets. Version 1.6 added voice search and a better Android App Market. Then version 2.0 revamped the user interface, added new, larger screen sizes, as well as navigation support in Google Maps. The latest update is version 2.1, which debuted on theNexus One– a handset built by HTC but to specifications dictated by Google itself. Android 2.1 brings additional homescreens, animated wallpapers and the ability to use voice recognition to type in all text fields — very useful if you’re in a situation where you can’t use an on-screen keypad, such as when driving. Other devices are starting to appear with version 2.1 as well — the Motorola Droid, known as theMilestone in Europe, recently received an update to 2.1, and HTC’s forthcoming Legend and Desire handsets come with it installed.


However, the new features available in 2.1 come with increased demand on the relatively weak processors found in most smartphones, particularly in the earlier Android devices. As a result, some handsets can’t run later versions of Android at satisfactory speed. Even in those that can, manufacturers have been exceptionally slow at rolling out updates to their device owners, with HTC still not having delivered any update above 1.5 for its Hero at the time of writing. It’s difficult to fault Google for wanting to update its core platform as fast as it can. The problem is that it’s going so fast that manufacturers can’t roll out updates to their own software at a speed to match.

The upshot for users is that early Android adopters are stuck on two-year contracts looking mournfully at all the fun that new device owners can get, with no knowledge as to whether they’ll eventually have access to the new features themselves. This isn’t anything new — in most cases other manufacturers don’t grant older gadget owners access to new features — but it’s tough on Android users in particular because the pace of the updates is so fast. A phone can be out-of-date within months of its release, and in some cases handsets are still arriving with Android version 1.6 installed.

App developers suffer, too. Many of Google’s home-grown applications — Maps, Earth, Goggles and Gesture Search — were initially only released for the 2.0 and 2.1 platforms. Some have since gained backwards compatibility to 1.6, but HTC Hero owners, running 1.5, still can’t use them. App developers have a tough choice to make: support as wide a range of phones as possible, or offer an app with superior features, but only to those running the latest Android builds.

Situationnormal: Allforkedup

So what can Google do about the problem? The company is stuck with four slightly different variants of its platform in the wild, and it’s got a splintered marketplace where one Android user can’t necessarily access the same apps that another can, and it’s confusing and frustrating for end users. The obvious way ahead is to try and force manufacturers to update the software on their devices.

Any device running 1.5 should be able to cope with 1.6, and a 2.0 device will manage 2.1. While that still leaves the problem of devices that can’t quite cope with the most recent updates, Google should be able to merge its four shards into two — a set of 1.6 devices and a set of 2.1 devices — simplifying the situation somewhat. However, that relies on the goodwill and resources of a diverse set of companies, and some of those will only have dipped a toe into the waters of Android, meaning that they might be less keen to start devoting significant staff time to mucking around with operating system updates.

So Google’s got another trick up its sleeve. Recent rumours suggest that the company, in the upcoming version 2.2 update, is planning to de-couple the various applications that run on the device from the operating system itself. The browser, email apps, contacts, input methods and various other components will be downloadable and, crucially, updatable through the Android market rather than needing to wait for a full OS update to be upgraded. When Google wants to update the Gmail app, it can just push a market update, rather than forcing customers to wait for HTC, Dell, Samsung or other manufacturers to approve it.

If Google fails to unify the Android platform, a future looms where Android is stuck in a series of ghettoes, with no guarantee that one Android user will be able to run the same apps as another unless they buy a new device every six months. That’s good news for manufacturers, but very bad news for Google and for consumers. If Google manages the transition successfully however, then a unified (or at least consolidated) platform could be easily updated by both Google and phone-makers, depending on whether the update is a critical security issue or a new feature in an application.

Time is pressing. The fate of Android rests on what Google does over the summer of 2010. Will the platform fall by the wayside, or will it instead grow to be the Windows of smartphones, carefully balancing openness to app developers with a superior user experience and mass-market appeal?

On past form, it seems foolish to bet against Google.

Let us also look at the SORT analysis for android:

Being a self declared Google and Android fanboy, I’m constantly reading and studying about cloud computing and the mobile marketplace whenever I have the opportunity. I’ve even begun the very first steps of beginning to learn programming Java for the Android platform, although this is a ‘free time’ endeavor which is going to take quite some time for me to get even the basic level of proficiency achieved.

2.2.1 SWOT Analyses for GOOGLE ANDROID

But one area where I feel comfortable in discussion and analysis is in the business realm, which is why I decided to do a basic SWOT analysis for Google Android. It is a tool used in strategic planning to evaluateStrengths,Weaknesses,Opportunities, andThreats involved in a project or business. A company’s Strengths and Weaknesses are generally internal, while the Opportunities and Threats are external factors. To spare most of the readers of this analysis, this SWOT is going to be a little less in depth than a typical SWOT analysis. However, it will be detailed enough to outline and discuss what I feel are the key items in each area of the analysis.


  • The Google Brand-Google is one of the most well known and respected technology companies on the planet. The fact that they are behind the Android platform gives it credibility and viability in the eyes of potential partners, vendors, and developers.
  • Device Selection-Unlike the Apple iPhone where you don’t have any options of hardware suppliers other than Apple itself, the Android OS is open-source and any hardware manufacturer who chooses to do so can use it on their handset. This gives consumers a great deal of selection from which to choose from while also decreasing the lead time to the use of the latest hardware and technological advances in mobile electronics.
  • Competitive Pricing-The Android OS is very cost effective to develop for since it is open source and the licensing arrangements are very vendor friendly. Thus, handsets utilizing the Android OS tend to be prices very aggressively.
  • Google application and services integration-The fact that the Android platform integrates so many of the Google services and applications into its base only strengthens its core capabilities and usefulness. Google items such as GMAIL, Calendar, Reader, Listen, and of course GPS and Maps to name a few integrate seamlessly with the Android OS and make it very simple for users to synchronize their data across platforms from the desktop to the cloud and mobile platforms.
  • Open Source-The Android OS is built from a Linux base using the JAVA Programming language. You can go directly to the website and find the information and source code you need to build a compatible device for Android. Additionally, Android is a core part of the OHA (Open Handset Alliance) which is a group of companies working together to develop Android as an open and free mobile platform.
  • Google Assets-The Android team(s) has all the intellectual, economic, and influential resources of Google at its disposal to make it a dominant player in the mobile marketplace.


  • Multimedia Support-Unlike the Apple iPhone which has the enormously popular iTunes application and marketplace, Android does not have a central or cohesive source of multimedia material nor a centralized player. Although there have been some improvements in applications on the Android platform in this area, at this time there is no “the” place to go that comes even slightly close to what Apple can offer on this front. However, there are numerous rumors to what exactly Google has in store for a music service of its own to be released sometime in late 2010. Whatever it is, it needs to be extremely well executed to come close to what iTunes offers Apple iPhone users. The one large asset Google has going for it is YouTube, and their recent announcement ofWebM(VP8) could become a lever for multimedia influence in video delivery for Google and the Android OS.
  • Reliance on hardware makers to upgrade-Apple controls the when and how iPhone users will get not only new hardware, but upgrades to the OS and core functionality. With Android, even when Google releases a new version of its OS, it has to wait for the manufacturers to thoroughly test and modify code to make sure it works properly on their specific hardware configuration. Google is addressing this issue as it has announced that it plans to implement more of the core features of its services into the Android OS itself instead of as applications, and to slow down the upgrade releases as the OS matures in the marketplace.
  • Less Mature-Android is not as mature or as polished as the iPhone at this point. It improves with every release, but it hasn’t reached the same level of overall user friendliness in its interface that Apple has achieved.
  • Lack of Enterprise Support-Blackberry and even Microsoft still get most of the support when it comes to Enterprise usage. Although both Apple and Google have made some inroads in this marketplace, Android has a very small market share here. It needs to continue to develop Google Apps and its integration abilities with Microsoft Exchange.


  • The Android OS has a “HUGE” opportunity to get into the Tablet and e-book reader platform market right now. It cannot afford to sit back and watch Apple dominate the tablet market and eat up the market share as it had done when it released the iPhone. To date, that is exactly what is happening as no major hardware ‘mover and shaker’ has released an Android based tablet which is a fantastic opportunity if it is executed properly. I want one NOW! There have been several minor releases of Android tablets over the last few months, but none of them are what I would consider a significant product. Either Google itself or someone such as HP, Dell, ASUS, or ACER need to release a killer Android tablet in order for it to gather any traction. These waters only became murkier when HP acquired PALM.
  • Developing Countries-Google has a huge opportunity to develop inexpensive devices using the Android platform in developing countries. The licensing is extremely developer friendly and the upfront cost investments are significantly less than other platforms. The integration with so many of Google’s other free services is a natural fit in this marketplace.
  • Developer Friendly-Unlike the recent activities of Apple which has alienated and ticked off much of the developer community, developing for Android is very open and developer friendly. Google needs to take this opportunity to help developers continue to monetize their efforts through improved advertising revenue models and app sales.
  • Growth of smartphone market-The smartphone market is still very immature and there is still a huge amount of growth to take place over the next several years to decade. Google needs to continue to work hard to position itself with its cloud computing applications and services in support of the Android OS. The marriage of these two areas is key to the maintained growth rate and increased market share potential of the Android platform.
  • Embedded electronic devices-The Android OS has huge potential to be a major player in the embedded electronic market as a dominate embedded operating system. With so many devices becoming embedded with smart technologies and connectivity to the cloud, the Android OS is primed to be a major winner there.


  • iPhone unleashed-If the iPhone is unleashed from the beaten down AT&T network and appears on other networks such as Sprint and in particular, Verizon, it could be a real threat to the sustained rate of future market share growth for the Android OS. A significant amount of potential smartphone customers said they would buy an iPhone if it weren’t on the AT&T network. (I was once in this camp, until I discovered the world of Android.)
  • Apple dominance-Apples market share gives it a great influence over developers and old media companies who are dying for a revenue model that will work for them. The ever growing walled garden that Apple is building is a false panacea that the old media companies are holding onto with both hands-the ability to charge users for access to premium content. Apple’s recent changes in policy and functional restrictions make it the ideal platform to launch such a strategy and recruit the power brokers from this old model. Additionally, the “there’s an app for that” and I’m willing to pay for it behavior of Apple iPhone users is of great appeal to developers who see the dollar signs in this market. (I’ve yet to pay for an application on Android) This gives Apple influence over developers and makes their huge market share very difficult to walk away from, even when they adopt very unfriendly developer policies.
  • Increased Competition-Obviously, companies like RIM and Microsoft are going to fight for their share of the market and aren’t going to just give up. In particular, the Blackberry platform which still has huge support in the enterprise market.
  • Platform Fragmentation-This is a huge threat to the Android platform. Although I listed the numerous devices as a strength above, the risk of fragmentation is a real and significant one. This is why Google has recently put a lot of effort into developing ways to minimize this problem. Google does not want numerous custom version of Android to emerge or fork off from their core platform, which is something you see in the Linux distribution network. Google is developing a set of baseline standards for compatibility for its platform. Since Google controls the Android Market, it can maintain significant influence over device vendors to meet the compatibility requirements. If you do a little research on this topic, you will see that Google’s standards are fairly rigid, maybe more so than one would expect. Google also plans to adopt aonce-per-yearrelease schedule as well. None the less, managing this risk is a major and real threat to the Android platform.

So there you have it, my basic SWOT analysis for Google Android. One underlying issue I feel is worth noting is that Google does not have to dominate, and as much as so many of us would love to see it, it does not have to “beat” Apple in market share or any other core metric. The only thing Google needs to do is to make sure there is an open platform large enough in the mobile market for its advertising business. Let’s face it; Google is not about selling Android devices. Google is about search and advertising, and Apple’s closed system was a threat to that model which has become even more self-evident over the last six to nine months of Apple policies and maneuverings. Apple recently announced their own Ad network for the iPhone and iPad which could be viewed as a shot across the bow of Google which puts even more necessity on the Android platforms success. The clear advantage that Google has going for itself right now is that Apple (Steve Jobs) is either being indignant over what cloud computing actually does and means, or he truly doesn’t understand or hasn’t figured out how it’s suppose to work. Considering how intelligent Steve Jobs is, I find it highly unlikely that the second option is the reason, and that his stubbornness and willingness to maintain personal grudges as the likely culprit.

2.3 Overview of the Closed Source Operating Systems (Apple IOS).

If there’s one company that is the envy of the high-tech community these days, it’s Apple. Steve Jobs is hailed as a genius CEO and lauded for a string of hit products. Apple’s market capitalization is over $200 BILLION dollars currently, easily ranking it in the top 10 companies in the world by market cap, and just shy of Microsoft for biggest technology company.

Everyone wants to understand the secrets of Apple’s success and hopefully emulate them. The reasons given by people for Apple’s success are many. The following are a few of the arguments made:

  1. Vertical integration- Apple owns most of, if not the entire, technology stack for its key products, and thus gives it advantages over other less vertically integrated products.
  2. NOTE: “Vertical integration” used to be called “being proprietary” and was given as the reason for Apple’s relative lack of success against Microsoft in the OS/PC battles of the 80s and 9os. But phenomenal success has a way of changing people’s minds.

  3. Making markets vs. addressing markets- Some claim that Apple doesn’t ask people what they need but gives them products they decide theywant.
  4. Does anyone NEED an iPhone or iPad? Not really, but a lot of people seem to want them.

  5. The Cool Factor- Let’s face it, Apple does make “cool” products. Attention to design and detail-fit and finish as they say-really distinguishes Apple’s products from competitors.
  6. Entering markets after they’ve developed— Contrary to #2 above, some people claim that Apple doesn’t make markets but enters existing markets once they’re growing and takes advantage of latent demand.
  7. The iPod was not the first digital music player and the iPhone was not the first smart phone, and the iPad is not the first portable computing device. In the case of the iPad, products like the Kindle and Netbooks actually paved the way for the market to accept small computing devices, and Apple’s iPad is riding that wave.

  8. Differentiated business models- whether it was iPod+iTunes or the iPhone+App Store, Apple innovates not just on technology, but on the business model. This makes it difficult for competitors to play catch up, let alone overtake Apple once it establishes itself in a dominant position.
  9. People care about the experience not technology— Apple has always been about the user experience, but for a long time, the majority of the market didn’t care about that.
  10. The majority of desktop computer users cared about “techs and specs”. Now the tables have turned, and the majority don’t care about the specs, they care about the experience. The iPod, with it’s “1000 songs in your pocket” motto and iTunes which radically simplified purchasing music latched onto the experience wave, and Apple has been riding it ever since.

  11. Simple product offerings- Apple has a very clear and simple set of products. It’s easy to understand the differences between their products, product families and the various configurations. This makes it easy to buy an Apple product if you want to.
  12. A lot of companies complicate things unnecessarily. How many iPhone models are there? How many Blackberry models are there? How many Nokia smart phone models are there? See the difference between Apple, RIM and Nokia?

The same is true for the iMAc, the iPod and the iPad. Granted, there are actually a number of iPod models (Nano, Shuffle, Touch etc.) but they are very distinct amongst themselves. This can’t be said for digital music players from other companies.

2.3.1 Apple Competitive Analysis:

Future Goals

Apple has been and continues to focus on what its competitors are doing in order to keep a competitive strategy. Steve Jobs wanted to create a brand loyal name and to also produce a personalized computer with many features that would allow your life to be easier. Apple needed to keep up with rapid price cuts of its competitors personalized computers that were based on other operating systems. They wanted to focus on the rapid technological advances in both hardware and software that would boost their computers performance and provide its own operating systems. By doing so, the iMac-personalized computer was introduced in 1997 and they were able to create the brand loyalty they were looking for. They want to continue to build the brand loyal name and keep giving the consumer what they want to make their lives easier.

Current Strategy

Steve Jobs has recognized that many of its competitors have been providing computers that rely heavily on other operating systems to run their computers. For example, Dell computers rely on windows XP, and many of their software products rely on other party’s. What Steve Jobs has managed to do is to incorporate its own operating systems, hardware, and software programs for its entire product line. The software that they have created would allow the user to edit videos, download and play music, edit pictures, etc. with all of their own products and applications. While other competition relied on outside companies introducing their own digital and distribution music product services, subscription services, and free peer-to-peer music services; Apple has created a way to counter the constant changing competitive market. They have done so by effectively integrating all three services that its competitors have to choose from by creating the iPod for hardware, iTunes for software, and iTunes Music Store for the third party distribution services. Apple has been able to eliminate its reliance on outside companies and to keep on creating specialized programs for consumers.

Another factor that has helped keep Apple’s future thriving is by introducing the Apple Store. Customers are now able to take their products into the store and have an apple specialist examine/work on the products that they are heavily invested in. Most competitors would have the consumer take computer/product to a tech department of a store or would have to send to a third party.

Assumptions and Capabilities – Apple has done a tremendous job of knowing and anticipating what his competitors are doing. Apple was able to develop its iPhone and music player technology into a mobile phone. The Rokr was the mobile phone device that was developed by Motorola. The device contained quality sound and included an advanced camera system. A version of Apple’s iTunes music store has been developed for the iPhone so users can manage music and can download other applications that Apple has to offer. An Apple consumer can browse the web faster than its competitors. These capabilities make the iPhone ideal for both business and travel. By knowing the competitors moves and capabilities Apple was able to perfect a phone that could offer more programs and applications than any other phone. The company was then able to then focus on the strengths and weakness of its competition and compare it to the products they provide. The company believes in the highest quality of products. These products will continue to provide what every customer wants and needs, a computer company that continuously makes life easier.

2.4 Fundamentals behind Open Source Platform

2.4.1 Introduction to Open Source Platform

“Open source software is typically created within open source software projects, often initiated by an individual or a group that wants to develop software product to meet the needs of the consumer.” (Krogh et al., 2006, p. 975) The concept of open source software can be traced well before the start of the 80s. In early 1970s computer manufacturers had a control over both the hardware and software implementation. The manufacturers called these as their standards for that particular computer system. Later, with the invention of the UNIX operating system by AT&T, intended for internal use and use by technical and academic peers, the era of open source software began. (Joel & Jason, 2007, p. 4)

In open source platforms, application developers develop and perform code check-in via a development kit in an effective and timely manner. The developed application source code can then be used by any developer who wants to develop a new application. On Open Source Software, (OSS) with source code freely available, new application development process becomes fairly easy and attractive. A developer can send a quick update to the consumers via distribution channel. There are also certain standard rules and procedures agreed upon by all the members in that particular community using or wanting an access to the open source code for developing a new application.

2.4.2 Advantages of Open Source Platforms

Open source platform can accommodate various features and applications which are made by different groups of developers. It gives users the freedom from the vendors and their policies, but it can subject them to the policies of the project/developer group. Some applications are free and users do not have to buy a license for them, which makes this more viable and it can make it fairly easy for the industry to work on and adopt this. With different groups of developers coming together, open source platforms can provide the best cutting edge technology in terms of features and applications. With the help of the developer community, code can be of superior quality and can also be delivered much faster than any other development projects. One of the advantages of using an open source software is that one can ask for the source code directly from the person developing it, and can add/modify it according to his/her requirements provided he/she meets the license obligations for the supply.

An open source platform enables developers to implement their ideas easily and also allows them to extend it in the future. An open source platform like Linux is one such example of this revolution.

2.4.3 Limitations of Open Source Platform

Sometimes the access to platform source code is not valued by code users, and also the code change suggestions are not appreciated by developers who are very close to or attached to the applications they have developed. In case of an issue, some developers may not provide immediate support to the open source package. The tendency towards fragmentation in open source platforms may

create interoperability issues with other platforms which may lead to cost increase and additional overhead.

2.5 Introduction of Smartphone

2.5.1 Worldwide Smartphone Adoption

In 1973, Motorola introduced a first cellular telephone, and then no one had imagined that this would ignite a whole new technological change: “The Mobile Revolution.” Typical “cell phones” were used only for voice calling and later for text messaging, but with growth in mobile phone adoption, “cell phones” are now available with a number of different features like e-mail, video and audio facilities, internet access, etc. Thus, a whole new change in this mobile sector happened and the smartphone race began. This race also created competition between operators and handset manufacturers in getting more returns from mobile phone equipment and services. The rise in the smartphone segment accompanies the mobile internet revolution. However, the main reasons are better margins for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and higher Average revenue per user (ARPU) for operators. The smartphone is basically a combination of operating system, application, and handset manufacturers. In addition, due to the increase in the application market of the smartphone and the growing popularity of OS used for mobile systems, it can be said that the near future will witness the most powerful

Application running on phones with high powered operating systems. Considering current growth in the smartphone sector, it is estimated to grow by at least 18-20% by 2011 according to iSuppli. Following table shows sales of smartphones during year 2008 and 2009.

Table 1: Worldwide Smartphone Sales

Table 1

Worldwide Mobile Terminal Sales to End Users in 2009 (Thousands of Units)





Share (%)




Share (%)





















Sony Ericsson















(Source: Worldwide Smartphone Sales. (2010, February). Retrieved February 5,

2011, from Gartner web site:

2.5.2 Overview of Different Smartphone Operating Systems

Before moving to Android and iPhone, it is necessary to understand existing smartphone operating systems in the market. Here is the list of mobile operating systems: (1) Symbian OS (2) WebOS (3) RIM OS for Blackberry (4) iPhone OS (5) Windows Mobile (6) Android (7) Others. The table below shows these operating systems marketA  share and their respective deployments during year 2008 and 2009.

An operating system is the core software which manages hardware and software resources in any smartphone. Complete platforms have an operating system, middleware and applications while the others only include lower levels and need other platforms help to provide a complete structure. Below is a brief introduction of all operating systems.

Table 2

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2009 (Thousands of Units)





Share (%)




Share (%)






Research In Motion





iPhone OS





Microsoft Windows Mobile




















Other OSs










Source: Gartner (February 2010)

(Source: Worldwide Smartphone Sales with Operating System Market Share.

(2010, February). Retrieved April 15, 2011, from Gartner web site:

1. Symbian OS:

Symbian OS is the dominant platform in the market, available in around more than 120 different models of phones. This platform covers only two lower levels software stacks – kernel and middleware and application platforms like UIQ (User Interface Quartz), MOAP, and Series 60 provide the upper layers for Symbian.

2. WebOS:

WebOS runs on Linux kernel with the proprietary components developed by Palm. The Palm Pre is a first device with WebOS and both were released in June, 2009. There is also a WebOS software development kit available called Mojo. This OS has a built-in application catalog, and APIs for extending JavaScript in order to access hardware features of the device. (Kairer, 2009)

3. RIM OS for Blackberry:

RIM (Research in Motion) owns and provides the entire software stack including kernel, middleware and many applications. This platform offers different development tools for writing Java ME applications for Blackberry smartphone. RIM platform supports multiple third-party applications operation by using Blackberry API (Application Program Interface) classes.

4. iPhone OS:

Apple iPhone and iPod touch are developed by using iPhone OS based on Mac OS X (itself built on the Darwin project for Berkeley UNIX). The programming languages used for iPhone OS are Objective-C and Xcode. All iPhone and iPod touch applications are offered only via the Apple app store.

5. Windows Mobile:

The Windows Mobile OS includes the entire software stack-an operating system, middleware, and applications. Windows Mobile 6 is the latest version of this platform. It is compatible with the Microsoft Office suite of programs.

6. Android:

Android is a Linux-based open source platform. It is backed by Google with the foundation of Open Handset Alliance includes 65 technical leader companies like HTC, Intel, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, T-Mobile, etc. The G1 the first Android-based phone was launched in 2008 by HTC. The Android Development Kit is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS. Applications are developed in Android using a version of the Java programming language running on the Dalvik virtual machine.

7. Others:

Linux operating system: Linux is used as a basis for a number of different mobile platforms developed by OSVs (ACCESS, Azingo, et al.), by community projects (e.g., OpenMoko) and through consortia like the LiMo Foundation. Many handset OEMs deploy Linux-based hardware, including Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic, Samsung and Vodafone.

MeeGo: It is a new Linux-based mobile operating system combining the best of existing Moblin and Maemo platforms and targets both ARM and Intel Atom-based devices. Its UI merges APIs for GTK+, Qt and Clutter. It was unveiled by Nokia and Intel at the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Bada: It is a mobile operating system which is still in development from Samsung Electronics. The handsets using this OS will be available in the second half of 2010.

LiMo: It is a software platform for mobile phones and other handheld devices developed by LiMo Foundation. (a group of cellular handset makers and network operators) It uses Linux as its operating system.

2.6 Summary of Literature Review

This literature survey gave us a good background of many new topics which was helpful in implementing our project. The mobile phone ecosystem helped in understanding how companies implement their own ecosystem strategy to gain market advantage, the categories of the mobile/wireless ecosystem, and their tradeoffs. Next, it gave a brief understanding about open source software; how the concept of open source platform came into existence, the various advantages of the implementing an open source platform, how it could help make a company successful by using various tools and cool applications developed using open source code, and limitations of using open source platforms. Additionally, this literature review helped in understanding platform leadership concepts that could help any company to gain competitive advantage over its rivals. Reading through lots of articles helped learn about smartphone adoption and a brief overview of different smartphone operating systems. Also, we understood many concepts of the mobile industry which helped us implement our project and conduct interviews with “third-party developers” who build an application for Android and iPhone.


3.1 Introduction to Apple iPhone

One ongoing issue for mobile internet arises from expectations for a wired internet user experience. The desktop browsing experience, in particular, was built for large screens and keyboards, and is not suitable for mobile phones with small screens. To overcome this issue and to create a better end-user experience, Apple introduced iPhone with single OEM and operator rather than multiple vendors and operators in the mobile market by focusing on re-creating the mobile phone from already existing wired web mature ecosystem rather than recreating new Internet ecosystem. The iPhone 3G was launched on July 11, 2008 and came pre-loaded with iPhone OS 2.0 with App store support. It gained rapid success in the United States and Europe. Apple has already developed market position with iPod music player and iPhone is an integrated device of existing value systems-iTune music and video service. Apple further extended its iPhone strategy by providing updated models and operating system software which brought a better web browsing, application development platform, improved phone hardware, and improved delivery channel for third-party software and services (Joel West & Michael Mace, 2009).

The Apple iPhone operating system follows a complete closed system by including operating system, hardware, built-applications, and online services. It is based on a variant of the same Darwin operating system core that is found in Mac OS X. It is therefore a Unix-like operating system by nature. iPhone OS has four layers: the Core OS layer, the Core Services layer, the Media layer, and the Cocoa Touch layer. This operating system is developed by Apple and used by Apple only. Smartphones that are compatible with this OS are also made by Apple. To be more specific, iPhone OS can not be used by any other handset manufacturer company and is not compatible with other available smartphones.

Being a closed system, Apple has big advantages with its smartphones. One is

that Apple’s engineers know exactly what the hardware is being used to run their OS and how they can make OS most efficient on that hardware. In addition, this operating system and related software are developed by only one company which helps fulfill company’s goals for its own products. The developers who develop codes for closed system operating system do not have to worry about meeting the needs of various companies.

However, even though iPhone got a rapid success; there are some limitations in using iPhone for example; it works only with limited devices with limited input; it has a built-in memory but no external memory slots, so one can not add additional memory.

3.2 Apple iPhone Application Store

On July 10, 2008 via an update to iTunes, Apple released an online market place for applications, called “App Store.” It is a service for the iPhone, iPod touch, and now the iPad. By using this app store, iPhone users can download any apps they want through iTunes or directly from their phones to take advantage of all available iPhone features. As of May 4, 2010, iPhone App Store has more than 195,000 third-party applications with over 4 billion total downloads. The Application Store is basically a centralized collection of all different applications. Currently, it has around 20 different categories which help users select and download the exact application they are looking for. The price of these applications, free or paid, is decided by the developer of a particularA  application. The figure below shows a third-party development model for any online application marketplace.


4.1 Google Android

To create a mobile phone OS, Google acquired Android Inc. in July, 2005 and appointed Andy Rubin as their Director of the mobile platforms group. After that Google entered into the mobile market not as a handset manufacturer, but by launching a new OS called as “Android” on November 5, 2007.

The main reason why Goggle entered this market is to sell more ads in the emerging mobile form factor and also with the dream that its OS could run any device manufactured by different handset vendors like Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC, etc. The customers can buy Android powered phones from any carrier operators like T-mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, etc.

Goggle introduced Android as an OS which runs the powerful applications and gives the users a choice to select their applications and their carriers. The Android platform is made by keeping in mind various sets of users who can use the available capacity within Android at different levels; like basic users who demand only calling option, going one step higher, users who use many of the available applications up to a certain extent, and going even higher, the ones who use all of the available applications and also want to develop or suggest their own multipurpose applications or tools which can be useful not only to them, but also to their peers. The Android source code is available to all the software developers for future upgrades and addition to the existing platform or code.

Goggle has a vision that Android based cell phone will have all the functions available in the latest PC. In order to make this effort possible, Goggle launched the Open Handset Alliance. Today, the open handset alliance is a group of around 65 technological companies coming together to promote open source software, which is powered by Google. These 65 companies are split into different groups:

  1. Handset Manufacturers like HTC, Motorola, and Samsung etc.,
  2. Software Developers like eBay, Goggle, livewire etc.,
  3. Mobile Operators like T-mobile, Sprint, Do Co Mo, etc.,
  4. Chip manufacturers like Broadcom, QUALCOMM, Marvell, Intel, etc.

These companies have come together with common goal which is to make the platform viable for mobile and also to publish the code as an open source. The Android platform consists of several layers which provide a complete software stack. The extreme bottom layer is the Linux Kernel, then the system libraries, Dalvik which is a virtual machine, the application framework, and all the applications on top of that. The Android platform use a lot of open source libraries like the Webkit, and harmony, Open SSL, Apache http components, etc. In the libraries they have 2D and 3D graphics for the mobile systems. The most powerful part in the platform is the Dalvik virtual machine, which interprets and executes portable Java-style byte code which is optimized to operate on the mobile platform. As most of the applications these days are related to the web, the first two layers are written in Java. With all these functionalities, Android is complemented by the application layer which includes a web browser, touch screen, GPS, instant messaging, camera for the phone, etc. One of the best features of this platform is that they have put in hooks, which the developers can extend in ways which nobody has even thought of yet. Thus, it can be said that it is a complete feature or a stack for mobile system.

4.2 Android Market

The Android Market, an online software store, is developed by Google for Android devices. It was announced on August 28, 2008 and was made available to users on October 22, 2008. Most of the Android devices come with preinstalled “Market” application which allows users to browse, buy, download, and rate different available applications and other content for mobile phones equipped with the open-source operating system.

Unlike with the iPhone App Store, there is no requirement that Android apps should be acquired from Android Market. Android apps may be obtained from any source including a developer’s own website. Also, Android developers can create their own application market. Google does not have a strict requirement for the application to show up on the Android Market compared to the “Ad Hoc” process used by Apple. This process is much more open then Apple’s App Store. Lastly, the Android Market follows a 70/30 revenue-sharing model for applications developed by developers. The developers of priced applications receive 70% of the application price and remaining 30% distributes between carriers (if authorized to receive a fee for applications purchased through their network) and payment processors. Developers get the earned revenue from theA A  Android Market via Google Checkout merchant accounts. Moreover, priced application support for Android Market was made available in mid-February 2009 for US users and UK users got a facility to purchase priced application on 13 March 2009(“Android Market,” n.d.).

After launching, there were about 2,300 applications available in the Android

Market in March 2009. As of May 04, 2010, Android apps hit around 49,000 applications

which were around 12,500 in August 2009 and 20,000 in December 2009. The growth

rate of new applications in the Android Market have shown in the below figure. Recent

months in 2010 have shown a growth rate of approximately 8,000 additional applications per month.

(Source: Application Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2011, from AndroLib web site:

5.0 Showdown between Google ANDROID and APPLE IOS

5.1 5 things Google still needs to fix in Android

Any day now, the Evo 4G is going to get an over-the-air update to Android 2.2, complete with marquee features such as the ability to play Flash video and share contact details over Bluetooth. But after spending every day with a Motorola Droid, now running Android 2.1, we can think of plenty of smaller things we wish Google would work on instead. High on our list, for instance: Make spellcheck work consistently across the platform and sync with business-grade Google Apps calendars. What else can Google do to make Android a more polished, user-friendly platform?

Push for more consistency

It’s the small things that add up. For us, one of the most annoying things is the fact that if you make a spelling mistake while searching for an app in Android Market, Android doesn’t correct you. For Andy Castonguay, Director of Mobile Device Research for the Yankee Group, it’s the fact that on certain devices, the accelerometer only works if you tilt the phone to the left. What makes it worse, he says, is that the Android experience is even inconsistent across manufacturers, as each phone maker layers their own interface on top (think HTC Sense and Motorola’s Motoblur) as a way of making their Android phones stand out. And these extra layers, of course, make it especially hard to update a phone to the latest version of Android, creating an even larger disparity between what Android phones can and can’t do.

“The great thing for the manufacturers is they can create that brand affinity with the consumer on the back of Android, instead of having Android be front and centre,” Castonguay said. “That results inidiosyncraciesand discrepancies.”

Google can’t wean itself off these skins entirely, lest it alienate the very OEMs that have made Android so ubiquitous. But Google can, and will have to, work harder to develop more and better widgets, so that it’s not up to the likes of HTC and Motorola to decide what information you can see at glance, and what you can’t.

“HTC and Motorola have adapted to reflect consumer needs in a very positive way. Android as a platform will need to adopt some of those characteristics,” said Castonguay.

Re-organise Android Market

The lack of spellcheck when searching for apps is just a minor reason why navigating the Android Market can be so frustrating. It’s also difficult to sift through apps. While users can whittle apps down to broad categories, such as games, they can’t sort by rating or recently added.

Jason Horman, CTO of Spring Partners and lead developer for the SpringPad app, laments how difficult it is for consumers to discover new apps in the Market. “The top apps have been in the market for a year and have a million users,” he said. “Then that app grows on itself. I don’t see how they can move up the chain because you need to be able to move up.”

To be fair, Android Market does include a featured section, but Harman says the rules by which an app lands in that prime spot is a “kind of black magic.” Moreover, he adds, developers are limited to a 325-word description, including release notes. His team chooses to include explanations of different releases in this description, which means his chance to explain the benefits of SpringPad becomes even briefer.

Make it easy to kill apps

Steve Jobs himself said, “If you see a task manager, they blew it.” By “they” he means Google’s Android team. The problem is that there’s no visual indicator of whichappsare running, nor is there an easy way to exit them or force them to close. (Slacker’s player lets you tap a soft key to quit, but this isn’t a consistent experience — it varies from app to app.)

“I’m not sure that any device has done this beautifully well so far,” admits Castonguay. He does, however, point to Palm’s webOS, with its pile of apps and ability to swipe through them left to right, as an example of multitasking done right.

Harman, meanwhile, says Apple is on the right track, displaying a panel of open apps at the bottom of the screen in iOS 4-enabled iPhones and iPod Touches. Perhaps Google’s recent acquisition of some former Palm engineers will make that kind of improvement a reality.

Don’t let apps run wild

While we’re on the subject of multitasking, both Castonguay and Horman agree that the freedom that draws developers to Android in the first place has a down side: It also lets apps go overboard, slowing down phones and draining their battery life. Google should step in, they say, and enforce guidelines for how often an app pings the cloud or notifies the user when it’s running in the background.

“It’s a more open platform; it lets you do a lot more,” Horman said. “It doesn’t mean you should do a lot more.”

Castonguay adds thatRIMhas the right idea in compressing data before it leaves the phone, and then again on its way out of RIM’s data centers. “By compressing that data from the operating centre and from the device, it’s a really efficient use of the network,” he said.

Right now, it’s up to the developer to decide how an Android app interacts with the network. In the future, though, says Castonguay, Google “will probably have to introduce a connectivity manager on the device so that its interaction with the mobile network is as efficient as possible. ”

Cater to the attention-deficit crowd

In other words, multitask the right way: Limit what an app can do in the background, and how often.

At the same time, the two warn, the platform needs to be more nimble at switching between open apps. Right now, Android users have to hit the home button to exit an app and return to the home screen (they can also hold down the home button to see key apps, but it’s the same idea).

“It’s more of a Christmas tree approach where you constantly have to go back to the top to work yourself through the maze of the decision tree,” Castonguay said. “I never thought that to be a particularly intuitive approach.”

The same applies to the browser, Horman adds. While the default browser has tabs, in the sense that you can maintain multiple loaded sites at once, it doesn’t follow the visual metaphor that users are accustomed to on the desktop. You can’t actually swipe or tap to view another tab; you have to press a soft key. “In my iPhone, I can easily flip between tabs. What’s missing on Android is you have to go through a list of active tabs.”

5.2 Independent app stores take on Google’s Android Market

Google’s officialAndroid app storeis getting some competition as upstart, independent challengers create their own app stores to lure users with the promise of more freedom, better access to apps and increased revenue.

But it’s all kosher because, unlike Apple, Google allows for multiple app stores to exist on theAndroid operating system.

A new Android app store called AndSpot plans to coax developers and users to try an alternative Android app store with better search and app-recommendation features.

“Google’s Android Market is slow and not as user friendly as it can be,” says Ash Kheramand, one of the co-founders of AndSpot.”You don’t leave the Market thinking ‘this is great.’ Instead you are thinking, this is slow, clunky, and if you are a developer, ‘my app is not getting much exposure.’”

Over the next few weeks, Kheradmand and his co-founder Faisal Abid are hoping to unveil a snazzy new app store that they say will have better design and a better way to discover apps.

“We want to bring a level of personalization to the marketplace,” says Kheradmand. AndSpot is currently in private beta with its features available only to a small group of developers and users. Andspot is not the only one trying to take on the official Google app store. Larger publishers such asGet Jar have distributed a number of apps through their stores across multiple platforms — though on the iPhone they just publish individual apps.

But now smaller Android exclusive startups such as Andspot, SlideMe and AndAppStore are getting into the fray. Why develop just an app when you can build an app store, they say.

Similar to the official Google app store, these startups are hoping to become a central distribution platform for developers who want to get their apps out. The difference, they say, is they will go where Android Market has failed to tread.

“It’s all about promising more attention for apps,” says Vincent Hoogsteder, co-founder and CEO of Distimo, an apps analytics company. “If you are a developer targeting a specific market, it is easier to put your app in a store focusing on that, instead of losing yourself in the Android Market. If you are a consumer, then the idea is to help you find better apps.”

Google launched Android, an open, free, mobile operating system, in 2008. And like Apple, which pioneered the app-store idea, the Android OS also allows independent software applications through its Android Market. But that’s where the comparison ends.

Apple approves every app that makes it to its App Store. And it allows for just one app store, the Apple App Store. Rejects from Apple’s app store have the option of going to an undergroundstore called Cydia. But Cydia apps are available to only jailbroken iPhones.

Google hopes to avoid that with Android.Multiple app stores can exist on the Android phone and apps don’t have to be approved before they hit the official Android app store.

In an intensely crowded app world, getting noticed is the big challenge. Finding Facebook, Shazam or Pandora on the Android Market is easy. But for smaller apps like Time Lapse or Zum Zum, the key to survival is finding enough eyeballs.

“There are 50,000 apps in the Android Market, while your phone lists only 50 apps at a time,” says Hoogsteder. “You are seeing just a fraction of what’s out there.”

That’s why many new Android app stores such as AndroLib andAppBrainhave focused on being meta-stores, places that aggregate and let you search Android apps. But to actually download the apps, users have to go to the Android Market.

AndSpot and SlideMe are a step ahead. They are trying to convince enough developers to publish apps directly to their stores, in addition to offering them on the official Google Market. So users who have SlideMe or AndSpot will never have to go to the Android Market, if they don’t want to. Developers don’t have to make any changes to their apps intended for the Google Android Market before they list it on AndSpot or SlideMe.

SlideMe, which launched in April 2008, doesn’t take a cut of the revenue from app sales. When apps are sold through its store, SlideMe subtracts a payment-processing fee required by the credit card company (which usually is about 3.5 percent) and any applicable tax, and lets developers keep the rest. Apple and Google both allow developers to keep just 70 percent of the revenue they get from their sales.

Instead, SlideMe makes money by licensing its entire app store to gadget manufacturers. That also means SlideMe’s app store will come pre-loaded on a phone similar to Google’s Android Market.

Last year, SlideMe landed its first deal with Vodafone Egypt to pre-load its app store on the HTC Magic. The SlideMe app store will also be on Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10 phones sold in the Middle East.

“Not all manufacturers can comply with the requirements of Google, so Google can’t give them the app store,” says Christopoulos. “That’s why SlideMe can be on more than just phones. We are thinking netbooks and in-car infotainment systems.”

AndSpot says, for now, it plans to offer developers an 80 percent cut of the revenues from its app store. But Kheradmand is not sure AndSpot can sustain the pace. “We are operating on very thin margins here,” he says.

Offering developers more revenue by finding ways to make money off their apps is key to the survival of these independent app stores.

Google’s Android Market lags behind its peers when it comes to paid apps. Distimo’s analytics show almost 75 percent of apps in the Apple App Store are paid, compared to just under 43 percent in the Android Market.

Only nine countries are allowed to distribute Android paid apps currently because of Google checkout restrictions, points out Hoogsteder. Consumers from only 13 countries can get access to paid content.

That cuts out a lot of international developers and users, says Christopoulos. For instance, a Polish developer created a game calledSpeed Forge 3Dthat couldn’t be sold through the Android app store in many countries because of restrictions around Google Checkout. The app is listed on SlideMe for approximately $3 (~£2).

5.3A  5 Ways Google’s Honeycomb Tablet OS Could Beat Apple’s Mighty iPad

Google turns up the Android Honeycomb OS volume Wednesday at "A Taste of What’s New from Android" event it will host at its Mountain View, Calif. campus. It’s being billed as the first in-depth look atAndroid 3.0 (Honeycomb), the search giant’s tablet-ready mobile OS. Honeycomb is geared to go head to head with Apple’s iPad.

Scant Honeycomb details have been released so far. There wasa developers’ previewand Motorola showed off video hands-on demo of its Xoom tablet running Honeycomb. From those two sneak peeks we know Honeycomb featurestabbed browsing, a new camera interface, improved multitasking and multi-pane application views. If Google is to sustain the Honeycomb buzz on Wednesday it will have to turn up the wow factor and offer up features that match and trump what Apple currently delivers with its iPad tablet.

Here’s my take on 5 key things Android needs to make that happen:

Easy Interface

Google looks like it will be packing a lot of interface features into Honeycomb tablets. In Honeycomb there will be no hardware buttons, you will have 5 customizable home screens to fill up with widgets and app shortcuts, and something that looks a lot like a Windows task bar. All those interface features could be an advantage, but it could also end up being extremely confusing. The iPad is well liked because it takes the simplified interface of the iPhone and translates it nicely to a tablet device. Android needs to do something similar.


Apple has gone a long way to convince content providers to support iOS devices by providing an alternative to Flash video either on the Web or as an app in the App Store. But the fact is you will still run across Web video you can’t watch on an iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad because of the lack of Flash. News junkies, for example, were probably grateful to find out that Al Jazeera English had an iPhone app so they could watch the latest events out of Egypt while on the go. The Doha-based news organization’s live video stream on its Website uses Flash. Adobe’s video format may not be the best technology for Web video, but Flash is certainly the most common.


There are rumors out there thatiPad 2 will have two built-in cameras, but the next Apple tablet has yet to make an appearance so who knows what the actual device will be like. Android tablets are going to be loaded with front- and rear-facing cameras from day one. It may be strange to take a photo using a 10-inch screen, but at least you’ll have the option to do it.

File System

It may be handy to seamlessly and automatically sync files across your mobile devices just by connecting your iPad via USB. But there are times when it would be great to have access to the iPad’s file system so you could quickly drop a few documents onto your tablet. Apple’s current solution requires you to go through iTunes and add files directly to apps that have the capability. A native file manager for Android tablets may not win over huge crowds of users, but it would be a useful feature and something the iPad doesn’t have.

Dual-Core Processor, More RAM = Faster

The iPad may be a fun device to use, but it’s far from perfect. For example, there are many apps on the iPad that are a little crash happy. The app for a certain national newspaper shouldn’t crash every time you change screen orientation. An interactive magazine app I like to read often crashes the minute you open it up. Other apps have similar problems. It’s not clear if this tendency to crash can be blamed on the iOS software, hardware constraints or just poor third-party app design, but regardless it’s annoying to encounter. Many Honeycomb tablets will have a dual-core processor, but hopefully they will also be packing more RAM to make them faster, more capable and more robust than the iPad.

Throughout 2010 there were escalating tensions between Google Android and Apple iOS, as the two platforms emerged as the rising superpowers in the mobile world. But, if you thought things were heated between them last year, then as the saying goes, you ain’t seen nothing yet. These two ecosystems are on course for a massive collision in 2011 and the stakes are about to get a lot higher.

The arrival of the iPhone on Verizon is a major incursion into what had previously become Android territory. Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” (the tablet OS) is about to unleash an army of Android tablets in a full frontal assault on the iPad. There is going to be blood, but asmy colleague Larry Dignan notes, the carnage is likely going to have a greater impact on the other competitors in the mobile market more than on Apple and Google themselves.

To help evaluate the race between Android and iOS in 2011, I’d like to approach it from the perspective of where the two platforms are vulnerable. That will help give us an idea of where they might go after each other and where upstarts may try to challenge them.

Weak spots for iOS

For the iPhone and iPad the number one draw is ease of use. Your toddler and your grandmother (the one who is intimidated by computers) can both pick up one of these devices and figure out how to use it. As Jerry Pournelle says, with Apple products “everything is either very simple or it’s utterly impossible.” The utterly impossible side is where we find Apple’s first weak spot.

1.Software inflexibility: There is very little tweaking and customization allowed by iOS. You have to do it Apple’s way or else it’s probably not an option. These limits allow iOS products to function very well within the protected space carved out by Apple. However, if you have the need or desire to do something that is not within the boundaries Apple has set for iOS (and can’t create an app to handle it), then you’re out of luck.

2.Productivity limitations: Both the iPhone and iPad are far better devices for consuming information than creating it. Part of the problem is with the on-screen keyboard, which works magnificently for short bursts of data entry but is not something you want to use for writing an email or document of greater length. The operating system itself is not especially tailored for multi-tasking or work-focused tasks such as building presentations, editing files, and juggling several bits of information at once.

3.Fewer hardware choices: Some people prefer really big screens while other people like ultra-small and portable devices. Some want a high-resolution camera lens and all the multimedia bells and whistles in their mobile device, while others don’t need any of that stuff (and don’t want to pay for it) but want a really nice hardware keyboard so that they can do longer data entry more comfortably. With Apple products, you have very few choices. In fact, with both iPhone and iPad there are really only two choices to make when buying the product: storage and connectivity. You get to pick how much storage you want and you get to pick the wireless carrier on the iPhone or the Wi-Fi only model vs. the mobile broadband model on the iPad. That’s it.

Weak spots for Android

The best thing about Android is that itsOpen Handset Allianceincludes some of the biggest and best vendors in the mobile world, including Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG, Dell, Sony-Ericsson, and many more. The Android partners make devices in all shapes and sizes and in virtually every iteration you can imagine. That’s also part of the problem.

1.Ecosystem chaos: The Android operating system is open source and so hardware makers can take it and do almost anything they want with it. The only real carrot-and-stick that Google has is whether to allow the hardware makers the ability to include the Android Market for applications on their devices. And, frankly, Google has not used this as effectively as it could to keep vendors from doing bad things like launching with long-outdated versions of Android like theDell Streakdid and loading up the device with a bunch of uninstallable crapware like AT&T did with the HTC Aria and Verizon did with the Samsung Fascinate.

2.Wildly inconsistent experiences: One of the main consequences of the ecosystem melee is that there is not enough of a consistent experience across different Android devices. For example, nearly all of the hardware vendors put the Android menu buttons in a different order at the bottom of the screen, and many of them even use different types of button icons, further confusing users. Then there’s the issue of Android software updates. Google releases major updates to the Android OS at least twice a year. However, in 2010, the only device that got those updates right away was Google’s Nexus One, which runs the stock Android OS. All of the other Android devices have a vendor-supplied skin (which typically makes the devices worse instead of better) that runs on top of Android. The hardware vendors have to update their custom Android skins to make them compatible with the newest Android software and then submit it to the wireless carriers, who have to make sure it doesn’t conflict with any of their Android apps, and then it finally gets pushed to the consumer. The timing of these updates isvery inconsistent across the Android ecosystem.

3.Leadership vacuum: A lot of these Android problems boil down to the fact that Google needs to show stronger leadership of its ecosystem. Even if it can’t ultimately force the hands of hardware vendors since Android is open source, it can use the Android Market as a bigger stick against gross violators and it can publicly suggest best practices that it would like to see Android vendors adopt in order to pressure (and occasionally inspire) the hardware makers and wireless carriers into better behavior.

How will it turn out?

In the smartphone market, you have to wonder how well these two will be able to market against each other to exploit their weaknesses. The two are fairly well solidified in people’s minds. Unless more people get sick of being locked into the iTunes ecosystem on iPhone (no sign of that yet) or get fed up with the crapware and delayed updates with Android (only a few instances where the masses have noticed), then the 2010 growth trajectory of both platforms will likely hold.

The game is a little more wide open in tablets. Companies like ASUS are targeting Apple’s weak spots in productivity and hardware choices. Hewlett-Packard could combine its long experience in tablet hardware with Palm’s webOS to create a tablet with much better multi-tasking and business features than Android and iOS. But, again, Apple has a big lead here andGoogle’s tablet OS that it showed off at CESlooked very impressive and there are already a lot of big hardware vendors that have lined up to use it.

The bottom line is that both Android and iOS are going to be wildly successful in 2011 and continue to gobble up mobile marketshare. In most cases, it won’t come at the expense of each other, although we should expect Apple to initially steal some Android sales on Verizon and Android will eat away at some iPad sales when its first wave of tablets hit the ground in the spring.

Nevertheless, there will be a ton of new customers coming into the market in both smartphones and tablets in 2011. Look for Google and Apple to dominate most of the new sales in both of those markets. That will keep both Android and iOS on major growth trajectories. Android will have a lot more devices and a lot more companies pushing its devices, so it will ultimately grab greater market share in smartphones, although Apple is very competitive on price (unlike in the Mac vs. PC battles of 1980s and 1990s) so it won’t just be relegated to the high end of the market. It will take a much larger chunk of market share than it did in the PC wars.

And, in tablets, Apple is out to a huge lead with the surprising success of the iPad. Android and others will start to eat into that cushion in 2011, but Apple will still command a majority of that market by the end of the year.

What about Microsoft, HP, BlackBerry, and Nokia?

Unfortunately, it looks like all four of these behemoths are on the wrong side of history. These guys are all going to be reduced to challenger status in 2011. They’ll be on the outside looking in. Both Microsoft (with Windows Phone 7) and HP (with Palm webOS) could have snatched some of the momentum away from Apple and Google a year ago in the smartphone market, but they’re a little late now. Even though both have solid products, their timing is off and they have a lot of ground to make up in winning over software developers to their platforms.

As for BlackBerry and Nokia, they both have a large installed base of customers to draw on and build from, but it’s not going to be enough to stem their losses in 2011. They are both too far behind when it comes to product innovation. Oh sure, they will continue to hold on to nice chunks of old market share in some places, but both will likely continue their decline at accelerating rates in 2011.

5.4 Recent Survey about Android overtaking Apple IOS

A recent survey by Appcelerator suggests that developers, at least Appcelerator’s developers, prefer Android and see it overtaking Apple iOS.

  • Most developers say that Apple is the #1 platform. For now.
  • 55% say that Android has the most capabilities as an OS. Compare to 39% who say iOS is more advanced.
  • 86% say that Android is the most open platform.
  • 54% say that Android has the best long-term outlook.

Also, Gartner recently predicted that Android would pass Apple iOS as the most popular mobile operating system by 2012. See article.

Let’s take a more detailed and business-oriented look at Apple iOS and Google Android from a classic SWOT analysis point of view.

Apple iOS


  • Market share. Apple leads, so developers have a trong financial incentive to port to iOS first as long as Apple is the leading smartphone platform. (OK, Symbian is #1 but that is a different story.)
  • Apple brand.
  • iTunes strength and market acceptance.
  • Innovation. Apple has consistently been able to deliver innovation that resonates with their target customer.
  • Control. Apple controls their OS and their development environment. This means better interoperation of components and a predictable, consistent platform for developers. This issue is a lot of what the battle with Adobe about Flash is all about.
  • Tablet Computers. Apple delivered first and got a smash hit with consumers on this one. In the process, the re-defined the market space for their competitors.
  • Developer Support. Apple leads in the number of current developers and the number of applications (OK, apps).
  • Applications. The Apple App store.


  • Openness. Apple controls the hardware, software, development environment and which apps can ship on the platform.
  • Carriers. Apple is tied to AT&T as a carrier. The iPhone may be adding additional carriers soon as the exclusivity deal with AT&T ends.
  • Devices. Only Apple devices can run iOS.
  • The perception is growing that iPhones have issues with call quality on voice calls. Different people have different opinions about who or what is at fault but at some point this will cause problems if not corrected.


Opening up the platform and letting other vendors design and sell devices. Particularly devices that Apple does not offer.


  • Google Android.
  • Google Voice will play a role in the competition over time as well.
  • The current iPhone 4 antenna problems could grow to be a problem. See article.

Google Android


  • Widely perceived as an open platform. Developers like it. See the Appcenter developer survey results above.
  • Faster growth for the Android OS.
  • Google Brand. It stands for different things with end users, but it is at least as strong as Apple’s brand. Interbrand ranked Google the #7 brand worldwide in 2009, ahead of Apple.
  • Device Partners. Dozens of manufacturers are making phones and tablets such as Motorola, LG, Sony, Logitech, Toshiba. Android is going to have more types of devices and more options for consumers.


  • Multiple versions of Android shipping. Each is different from a developer perspective and requires separate software porting efforts and more cost for software developers. Google is working to bring more developer consistency to the platform by drawing a cleaner line between the platform and the services & apps that run on the platform.
  • The Android OS has not been rated as mature and stable as Apple iOS. Recent reviews have Android closing that gap.


Focus developer strength on a common set of APIs & Service Interfaces so that there is a single porting effort for all Android devices.


  • Apple iOS
  • iTunes and the App Store.

In the end, the question is: Can Apple alone out-innovate their growing number of competitors, or will Google pull together its somewhat fragmented Android effort and win the volume wars by growing a winning partner ecosystem around Android? Many people (including me) have said that this resembles the old Mac-PC wars. It is impossible to ignore the similarity, and the consequences.

5.5 Symbian operating system, now open source and free

The source code for the ten-year old Symbian platform will be completely open source and available for free starting today. The transition from proprietary code to open source is the largest in software history, claims the Symbian Foundation.

"The dominant operating system provider out there is Symbian," says Lee Williams, executive director of the Symbian Foundation, "and now we are offering developers the ability to do so much more."

Symbian, which powers most of Nokia’s phones, has been shipped in more than 330 million devices worldwide. But in the last few years, Symbian has seen more than its fair share of changes. In 2008, Nokia, one of Symbian’s largest customers, acquired a major share in the company. Nokia then created the Symbian Foundation to distribute the platform as an open source project, and began the process of opening up the source code that year.

Meanwhile, the operating system has seen new rivals crop up. Google’s Android, which is based on a Linux kernel, has become a favourite among handset makers such as Motorola and HTC. And it’s based on an open source foundation too.

Symbian’s move to open source has been completed four months ahead of schedule and it offers mobile developers new ways to innovate, says Williams. Any individual or organisation can now take, use and modify the Symbian code for any device, from mobile phone to a tablet.

Similar as it may sound to Android’s promise, there are major differences, says Williams.

"About a third of the Android code base is open and nothing more," says Williams. "And what is open is a collection of middleware. Everything else is closed or proprietary."

Symbian is also ahead of Android in that it will publish its platform roadmap and planned features up to 2011, he says. And anyone can influence that roadmap or contribute to new features.

"Open source is also about open governance," says Williams. "It’s about letting someone other than one control point guide the feature set and the asset base."


6.1 Introduction

Preliminary interview helped gain some understanding regarding the iPhone/Android app stores; the factors most important for development on these platforms are approval process, channel distribution process, etc. After completing the preliminary interviews, the survey was developed based on the information from the application data and interviews. It was required to bring a clear understanding about the 3rd party application development. The survey was posted on SurveyMonkey, an online tool to create and publish custom survey, which was ideal for this research project. Our advisors also gave us the right directions in finding appropriate audience. The survey was shared amongst friends, colleague and posted on groups such as online Yahoo-groups for Mobile Monday (MoMo), Google-groups for Android, various LinkedIn developers’ groups. This survey was filled out by different professionals like developers, product manager, engineers, etc., who work on iPhone/Android platform and has a deep understanding about the trends and future of these platforms. At the end, we got 63 responses which is a significant sample size for this project. The results from the survey are explained below.

6.2 Summary of the Average Responses (Descriptive Statistics)

A summary of the average of the questions which give general information about the responders has shown below.

Question 1:

From the below table, it shows that the Android is the most important mobile platform than the iPhone for most of the respondents. For respondents working on iPhone, it is the most important platform, and Android is the next important platform for them and vice versa.

Table 3: Most Important Mobile Platforms

Question 2:

From the below table and graph, we can say that most of the respondents are working on Android.

Table 4: Mobile Platforms

Question 3:

The below table says as per most of the respondents, market size and potential revenue are the most important factors for developing an application. In addition, other respondents also mentioned that development time, cost vs. return and security model are the considerable factors for developing an application, In particular, for Android, being an open source provides stable and flexible architecture and design for development.

Also, Google’s flexibility for approval process for Android Developers to try out an app in their own phones before pushing in the Android Market attracts them to choose Android over iPhone.

Table 5: Important Factors for Application Development

Question 4:

On asking about level of expertise in Android, we can conclude that here most of the respondents fall under the scale of 3 & 4.

Table 6: Level of Knowledge about Android

Question 5:

From the below table, we can conclude that half of the companies spend less than $1K in marketing on the smartphone-related business.

Table 7: Annual Marketing Expenditure

Question 6:

The below result says that most of the respondents participated in this survey are Software Developers. There are also few respondents who are sole traders, CEOs, Business Analysts.

Table 8: Respondents’ Job Title

6.3 Correlations between Questions (Crosstab Results)

To prove the hypothesis, it is also needed to know interrelation between the development trends on the platforms like Android and iPhone. To understand this, we used the tool available with the premium addition/version of the SurveyMonkey, called “Crosstab Responses.” This tool helps to show a side by side comparison of two or more survey questions to determine how they are correlated.

In this case the variables are: iPhone and Android and the emphasis was on developers, who choose the platform for development based on the development tools, market size, revenue potential, etc. For this project, the questions 3, 4, 5, and 7 from the survey (as mentioned below) are very important.

Question 3: For developing an application, which factors do you consider most?

(Overall result: Market Size)

Cross tabulating with the mobile platforms (iPhone or Android) (Q2)

Of iPhone developers, 85.7% consider “Market Size” as most important

Of Android developers, 59.6% consider “Potential Revenue” as most important

Cross tabulating with the type of company (Q8)

Of Application Development, 64.4% consider “Potential Revenue” as most important (Significant different)

Of Software company, 71.4% consider “Cost of Development” as most important (Significant different)

Cross tabulating with company’s annual marketing expenditure on smartphone related business (Q9)

Of spending $0, 62.5% consider “SDK” as most important (Significantdifferent)

Of spending $1-1000, 78.6% consider “Cost of Development” as most important (Significant different)

Of spending $1K-100K, 66.7% consider “Market Size” and other 66.7% consider “Potential Revenue” as most important (Significant different)

Cross tabulating with the job title (Q10)

Of Software Developers, 64.5% consider “Cost of Development” as most important (Significant Different)

Of Technical/Engineering Manager, 60% consider “Potential Revenue,” other 60% consider “Market Size,” and other 60% consider “SDK” as most important (Significant Different)

Of Product Manager, 87.5% consider “Market Size,” and other 87.5% consider “Potential Revenue” as most important (Significant Different)

Cross tabulating with the size of developer’s group/company (Q12)

Of the size of 1-9, 58.8% consider “SDK” as most important (Significantdifferent)

Of the size of 10-99, 90% consider “Market Size” as most important (Significant different)

Cross tabulating with the developer’s region (Q13)

Of the North American companies, 69% consider “Market Size” as most important

Of the European companies, 57.1% consider “Potential Revenue” and other 57.1% consider “SDK” as most important (Significant Different)

Of the Asian companies, 66.7% consider “Market Size,” other 66.7% consider “Potential Revenue,” other 66.7% consider “Developer Community,” other 66.7% consider “SDK,” and other 66.7% consider “Distribution Channel” as most important (Significant Different)

Question 5: For making development decisions, what are the most useful resources from the following? (Overall Result: Online Discussion Forums)

Cross tabulating with the mobile platforms (iPhone and Android) (Q2)

  • Of iPhone developers, 78.6% consider “Online Discussion Forums” as most important
  • Of Android developers, 75.4% consider “Online Discussion Forums” as most important

Cross tabulating with the type of company (Q8)

  • Of Application Development, 73.3% consider “Online Discussion Forums” as most important
  • Of Software company, 85.7% consider “Online Discussion Forums” as most important

Cross tabulating with the size of developer’s group/company (Q12)

  • Of the size of 1-9, 74.5% consider “Online Discussion Forums” as most important
  • Of the size of 10-99, 70% consider “Online Discussion Forums” as most important

Cross tabulating with developer’s region (Q13)

  • Of the North American companies, 78.6% consider “Online Discussion Forums” as most important
  • Of the European companies, 64.3% consider “Online Discussion Forums” as most important
  • Of the Asian companies, 66.7% consider “Online Discussion Forums” as most important.

6.4 Summary from Survey Results

Though the overall result of the survey shows that “Market Size” is the important factor and “Software Issues” is the biggest problem in developing an application and also most of the respondents consider “APIs” as one of the attractive feature on Android. Some of the survey results are different from the overall expected results when they are cross-tabulated. The below content explains these results.

  • For respondents working on iPhone, it is the most important platform and Android is the next important platform and vice versa.
  • As per most of the Product Manager, iPhone is the most important platform.
  • Although overall result shows “Market Size” as the most important factor, for Software Developers “Cost of Development” is the first important factor and “Channel Approval Process” is the second important factor for developing an application.
  • On the other hand, according to the most of Products Managers “Channel Approval Process” is the biggest problem for application development. The “Software Issues” which is the overall result, is the least big problem for them. For the Software companies, “Cost of Development” instead of “Market Size” or “Potential Revenue” is the most important factor for developing an application.
  • “Platform Architecture” is the highest important Android feature for Software companies while “Development Tools” and “APIs” are second equal important features.
  • “APIs” is more important Android feature for Application Development companies than Software companies.
  • For developing an application, “Potential Revenue” and “SDK” are more important for European companies while “Market Size” (Overall result) is more important for North American companies.
  • We can also conclude that “Market Size” is more important for Application development and Hardware companies whose headquarter is located in North America.
  • The Asian companies involved in mobile application development, “Support for Platform developers” is more important than “Software Issues.”
  • The first Android feature that attracts the European companies is “Development Tools” and the second important feature is “APIs.” On the other hand, for North American companies “APIs” is the more important Android features and “Development Tools” is the second important feature.
  • Most of the North American and European companies who participated in this survey are with the size of 1-9 as a company or developer group for mobile product.
  • “Potential Revenue” is more important for them who are working on Android and “Market Size” is the second important factor in developing an application while “ Market Size” is more important for them working on iPhone OS.
  • From the overall result of the survey, we can also say that half of the companies spend less than $1K on marketing for smartphone-related business.
  • The companies spending annual $1K-$100K on marketing for smartphone-related business, “iPhone OS” is more important than “Android” for them. On the other side, the companies spending annual $0-$1K, “Android” is more important than “iPhone OS.”
  • The companies spending annual zero dollar on marketing for smartphone related business, “SDK” is more important to them than “Market Size” or “Potential Revenue” which are more important to companies spending $1K-$100K, for developing an application. While “Cost of Development” is more important for companies spending $1-$1K. Apart from these results, the survey also says that platform fragmentation oin Android, documentation, and development time are also the important factors in developing an application.


From reading articles, attending conferences, talking with developers, and gathering application data, and survey shows that there is a real demand for the Open source Operating Systems like ANDROID. The application data collected for Jan, Feb, March, and April of 2011, shows an increase of approximately 15-20% growth for the Android Market. On the other hand, iPhone sees a growth of around 8-10% in the App Store in the same period. From this data, we can conclude that the market value for Android is increasing exponentially. It can be said that the customers are switching to Android operating system devices than iPhone. More people will be choosing Android over iPhone in the near future due to the increase in number of handsets.

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Cite this page

Business strategies in open source software industry. (2017, Jun 26). Retrieved June 25, 2021 , from

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