A Tale of Two OS

Ars Technica has an interesting article on the art of argumentation, and there’s no shortage of opinions on which is better than the two hottest OS of today: iOS and Android. Analogies may have thorns in its utility but let us focus only on the market that Apple iOS and Android are serving. The Grim Times blog hits the target in its post “Why Apple Can’t Beat Android?”

Apple will always be the Maserati of smartphones – leading-edge, trendy, stylish, downright awesome. But Android will be the Ford Taurus – maybe a little dull in comparison, sometimes clunky, but dependable, cheap and everywhere you look (just like Windows in the last Apple Holy War, except for the dependable part).Mobile app developers don’t necessarily have to choose between these platforms, and mostly aren’t. It’s a far cry from several years ago when you’d have to port your app to dozens of different handsets – now just 2 or 3 platforms and you’re done. However, if you had to prioritize your focus, Android in the long run is the right place to be. Apple’s distribution platform is much better currently, but the numbers game is more important.  If you want ubiquity, sell to Ford, not Maserati.

Take note, the abovementioned blog post talks about Apple segmenting the market. It offers a well-integrated platform, the user experience is top-notch, and as a consequence, you pay the high price. That’s how Apple is building its empire: its business model is based on charging a premium price for a premium product. The Android strategy, on the other hand, is to sell as many as possible.

But it’s not only the numbers game. It’s a question of whether you want to be tied in Apple’s walled garden or roam free in the open world of Google’s ecosystem. As an individual, you may pick one or two. But in business, you have to weigh in the consequence.

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