The mess that is Windows and Android

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I was discussing Apple with a friend yesterday who laughed at the fact I had an iPhone on the table in the pub and an Apple Watch on my wrist. He, like so many people I know, believes that Apple is controlling to the extreme, but as we spoke something came to me that I had not considered before.

I was praising my 2011 iMac yet again and compared it to Windows computers that last a couple of years and Android phones that slow down far too quickly, and it occurred to me that it is about more than the quality of components.

Yes, Apple devices tend to be better built (inside and out), but there is more to it than that and it appears that Apple’s control freakery may be one of the reasons.

The company gets to decided what components are put in its phones, tablets and computers. It gets to make operating systems that suit the components and it gets to control the speed of release and innovation. Every single part of the setup is controlled by Apple and this could actually be a good thing.

Look at Android and the open nature of the platform. We have multiple phones built by multiple manufacturers who are constantly trying to beat each other and the platform is updated by Google. It is disjointed and so is the app offering. The hardware, third party apps and operating system are all being worked on by countless organisations so it is no wonder that the phones tend to have a limited life.

The same has always applied to Windows PCs, but it does look at though Microsoft is trying to do something about that by only allowing the latest Surface laptop to run apps from the Windows Store. OK, the store needs to be sorted because it is full of very dodgy apps, but if Microsoft takes the same approach as Apple it could make products that last for a very long time.

It will of course help if Microsoft stopped being Microsoft for a moment and improved Windows with regards to usability, but it would be a decent way forward.

I get that fixing Android and Windows would mean greater costs to the user and I am not saying that Apple’s approach does not have downsides, but the company does have a huge lead in terms of device longevity, usability and the ‘this is not really a computer’ feeling.

One thought on “The mess that is Windows and Android

  1. When we talk about the Apple ecosystem, we usually think of the interface between devices, but what you point out is perhaps a more important part of that ecosystem. Apple controls it, for better or worse. For the most part, it means everything works well on its own and together, assuming you like how that is.

    Can Android still be modified by the hardware manufacturer? When PalmOS was licensed to Sony, Sony was allowed to make some changes. Windows was always designed to be flexible enough to handle almost any hardware. At one time, various PC vendors put their own stamp on things. Except for the brief time when Apple licensed MacOS, Apple,s closed ecosystem makes things consistent and therefore easier for most users.

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