Android & Linux: Open Source but Closed in their own way

Before you read on any further, please be advised that this post is aimed not to be biased towards any brands or products, the stats and specification comparison that are included is purely to educate individuals with additional information they might not be aware of. This posts intention is simply to be an academic piece exploring an interesting concept of human behavior.

Android and Linux are two of the most popular open source, or generative software, with Android running on 65% of mobile devices as of April 2017, and Linux distros (distributions) such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint are currently being used on 21% of laptops and desktops.

In regards to locked (closed source) vs generative (open source) platforms, you would think people would go for the latter, but surprisingly this isn’t the case, at least in Australia.

Lets start with mobile phones, Apples iPhones are clearly the more popular choice of phone compared to anything running an Android OS, just by observing people you come across you can see this. But with inferior technology compared to other cheaper alternatives, an OS you can’t mess and a walled-garden of apps, why would you have one?

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Original meme

Don’t believe that Apples technology isn’t that crash hot compared to its competitors?

Here is the latest Apple iPhone 7 Plus

apple-iphone-7-plus-gallery-img-1

It’s highest end model boasts the following specifications:

  • A10 Fusion chip with 64-bit architecture with an Embedded M10 motion coprocessor clocking in a max speed of 2.34 GHz
  • 256 GB of storage
  • 12 megapixel camera
  • 5.5 inch display of 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • 3 GB of ram
  • A 2900 mAh battery
  • Mac Operating System

All for a price of $1,712 AUD including GST.

Here’s our next subject, the Xiaomi Mi MIX, which is currently the Chinese company Xiaomi‘s highest end smartphone.

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It’s top models specifications are as follows:

  • A Snapdragon 821 processor with a max clock speed of 2.35 GHz
  • 256 GB of storage
  • 16 megapixel camera
  • 6.4 inch display (83.6% screen to body ratio) of 2040 x 1080 pixels
  • 6 GB of ram
  • A 4400 mAh battery
  • Xiaomi’s variant of the Android operating system

And while you can’t buy the Mi Mix in Australia directly, you can have it shipped from China through various re seller sites, due to this prices vary but you’ll be able to pick one up for around $800-900 AUD, or less if you’re lucky.

They also plan on releasing the Mi MIX 2 sometime in 2017, with the top of the range model reportedly hosting a Snapdragon 835 processor with a max speed of 2.45 GHz, 8 GB of ram and a 2540 x 1440 pixel display.

This way of thinking can be applied to computers too, Linux was one of the first open source softwares invented and yet Windows and MacOS are still more widely used. A Linux based OS gives you the ability to choose which variation of Linux you prefer, offers better security and is often a very small file size compared to other Operating Systems, it’s also free!

It makes you wonder why things such as the Xiaomi phones or Linux operating systems aren’t used more, particularly in Australia, if they post such greater margins of advantage compared to the mainstream choices, why are they losing out? It’s likely you’ve never came across Xiaomi or Linux before unless you knew what you were looking for.

It’s ultimately an interesting combination of brand preference, brand loyalty and resistance to change that keep these open source wonders closed. Consumers may argue that their Apple products are more user friendly or are more luxury, maybe or maybe not this is true. The cognitive thinking that goes behind choosing products and the subconscious choices people are making has become normalized in Australia, by looking at the people around you, it seems that everyone is following each other in terms of the technology they use, and it’s interesting to see based on the knowledge available in terms of comparing product choices.

I feel the best way to end this post is with a quote by Tech Writer Gary Sims:

“there are lots of problems in the world and lots of reasons why people get angry with each other, however which smartphone you use shouldn’t be one of them.”

34 thoughts on “Android & Linux: Open Source but Closed in their own way

  1. Hi,
    I love your blog post. It is really clear and insightful. You have got straight to the point and explained the examples very carefully. Especially, the way you use the interesting quote to end your post is creative and attractive.
    This is a video on the comparison between Android and IOS. It is relevant to your blog and can help you have more ideas about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=hKjBojY1O-w

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Alexander, interesting post. Personally I have always stuck with Apple software for both phone/computer use with no real reason why I’ve made this choice. You have a good summary of information which has made me consider trying out the software/programs you’ve mentioned. I though you’d like this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/iphone-obsession-stories_n_5876458
    it sums up how embarrassingly funny the worlds obsession with iphones is and how far people will go to get one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Alex! For starters, great post: you’ve got a ton of detail and it seems like you’ve got a great grasp on the difference between open- and closed-source technologies. Using smartphones as a case study is a great, ubiquitous example that all your readers will absolutely understand. My only gripes are that the post does run a little on the long side (which can get a bit tedious when reading) and that you really do not need that little disclaimer at the beginning. Everyone else in the subject knows that you’re trying to educate from an academic perspective; don’t worry about it. Also, watch your formatting; some of the text spacing on your post (particularly under the phone specs) is quite jarring and makes the post difficult to read. Your images and fact-boxes should break up the post, not slow the pace down. Other than that, your content is solid. Nice work! If you’re after a bit more of an investigation into open-source phones, check out Phoneblocks: the company itself is now defunct but the idea has been picked up by Motorola. https://phonebloks.com/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey! thanks for commenting and providing good feedback, always appreciated! I definitely found this post difficult to keep short, and thanks for pointing out the formatting issue, WordPress definitely isn’t friendly with this stuff sometimes.
      -Alex

      Like

  4. Hi, I love your meme which successfully demonstrates the kind of human behaviour you mention in the post. I think the “crowd effect” has a great impact on the choices of the consumers. When you see everyone worshipping a kind of smartphone that would make you look “on trend” holding it in your hands, you are likely to ignore other available choices. I do appreciate you having done proper research to have statistics of these products as evidence to support your claims. However, I do not agree with you that “Apple’s iPhones are clearly the more popular choice of phone compared to anything running an Android OS” in Australia. Take a look at this site – Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/245191/market-share-of-mobile-operating-systems-for-smartphone-sales-in-australia/
    It actually says the opposite: “Android had a 55.7 percent share in the Australian market in January 2017, in comparison to the 42.4 percent share of Apple’s iOS, its nearest competitor”. And if you look at the statistics on global smartphone OS market share
    you would also see that Android is the most popular world as of 2016. So, maybe the generative platform is winning over closed appliance. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thanks for commenting! Wow I honestly weren’t even aware of those statistics as I chose to not include them due to feeling like iPhone’s were a more popular choice in Australia as just by observing the general population it seems to be the preferred smartphone option but thank you for providing an additional source clearing that up.

      Like

  5. Hey Alex, i really like the example you used for the open and closed sources of techology, being apple and the chinese phone. I enjoyed how you mentioned the specs of both phones, however I felt you focused to much on the phones itself instead of the philosphy of this weeks lecture and how it relates to the phones. You do raise a good point with why dont people conisdered bying somthing else besides of a iphone, by the way your meme is genises, i laughed way to hard. Besides your blog is really interesting and engaging with your hyperlinks. You should really look at this article its really interesting to why apple thinks a closed source is better than an a open one. https://techcrunch.com/2010/10/18/steve-jobs-open-dont-win/

    Like

  6. Hey Alex, interesting post. While I believe open source is ultimately better, I’ve always used closed source, simply for convenience. One of the main reasons I keep going with iPhones (despite disliking Apple) is because of compatibility issues – it’s just easier since all of my friends have iPhones too. Funnily enough, the closed nature is what’s keeping me from going to open source. Here’s an article about how to choose between iPhone and Android if you were interested: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/smartphones/iphone-or-android-five-questions-to-help-you-decide/

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Alex,
    Really intriguing blog post overall. Thank you for adding some background information and hyperlinks on Apple, Android and Linux in particular, as i have not heard of this brand before, made it a lot easier to understand the point you were attempting to make. You explained both locked and generative platforms in great detail and made a very clear differentiation, it was also nice to see some more dimension added rather than just an Apple vs. Android argument. The addition of visual cues also broke up the post nicely and adding to a really cohesive layout.
    Well done 🙂

    Like

  8. Hey Alex,

    To begin, it’s really great that you have incorporated so many hyperlinks and and background information in order to set a foundation for audiences regarding the topic at hand. Your post flows really nicely and the comparison of the iPhone and the Android phone effectively highlights your point. For future posts, i would advise that you focus on the structure of your posts in order to make it flow more coherently. Another thing i find interesting about this subject is that even though iPhone’s are supposed to be more ‘secure’ they still suffer from security breaches. Check out this article for more on that. http://fortune.com/2017/03/22/apple-iphone-hacker-ransom/

    Otherwise really great work and I look forward to reading more from you!

    Like

  9. Hey Alex,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog post this week! You have lots of detail in this article which shows that you have done your research and know what you’re talking about. Just watch that you aren’t making your blog posts too long as some readers might not read it all. I completely understand how hard it is to cut down your information when there is always so much to say! I am definitely an apple person but I really do love the brand and believe that iPhones are the best phones to get! They are definitely very user friendly and and luxurious.
    – Ash

    Like

  10. Hey Alex,
    Really great blog post, You provided a lot of detail in regards to the topic you are writing about. I liked the examples you used and how you compared the 2 phones which gave me a whole new insight. I’ve always had an iPhone purely just because of the fact that majority rules and due to the media and heavy marketing I just assumed they were the best because i’ve never done any of my own research. Overall I really enjoyed reading this, you helped me understand this topic a lot more.

    Like

  11. Hey Alex, great post and I particularly liked how your prefaced your post with a disclaimer as it provides a sense of professionalism! I agree with your statement “It’s likely you’ve never came across Xiaomi or Linux before unless you knew what you were looking for,” as to be honest I hadn’t heard of Linux until your post! I am exactly like Padmé in your meme as I have not done any research into any other phones and just continue to upgrade to the newest iPhone model. Your post was very insightful and provided depth into the open and closed source topic rather than the continuing iPhone vs Android argument. Keep up the good work!

    Like

  12. Hey alex, once again great blog! Loved the way you compared both smartphones, showing extensive knowledge and research had been done when creating the blog post. I liked the use of the disclaimer in your blog, which kept the blog up to a professional standard. I myself has just made the switch from an Iphone to the new Samsung S8, and I personally believe it blows the Iphone 7 out of the water. http://landing.deloitte.com.au/rs/761-IBL-328/images/deloitte-au-tmt-mobile-consumer-survey-2015-291015.pdf This site has great stats relating to the Australian public and the market share of IOS holds in Australia, if you are interested.

    Like

  13. Hey, good job! This was a really professional and interesting article to read, I enjoyed the statistics and the formal approach you took on the topic. Super good use of the hyperlinking, and your quote at the end finished it off perfectly. Real well presented, with good content to back it up. The disclaimer at the beginning of your post was also a nice touch, I haven’t seen that on any other posts I have read recently and I just added to the professional and reliable vibe of your blog and post. Really good work!

    Like

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