It has been no secret that Apple’s iPad has pretty much eaten Google Android’s lunch both in terms of sales and the accolades of the technical press. However, in one area, Android has outshone Apple and that is flexibility. This is by design on both Apple and Google’s part. In the case of Apple, Steve Jobs was quoted in Business Week:
“I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.”
Even though this was 2004 and Jobs was referring to the iPod, this philosophy has carried over into both the iPhone and the iPad.
Google has taken the opposite tack and has opened the source code to the Android OS (minus Honeycomb). Groups from around the world have taken advantage of this and have:
- Ported Android to the now-defunct HP TouchPad
- Allowed owners to root and upgrade both the older and new Barnes & Noble Nook Color e-reader tablets.
- The new Kindle Fire can be loaded with a custom version of the new Android 4.0 OS
Just as Linux invited various development teams to port the OS to non-mainstream platforms by its openness, so too has Android allowed creativity to take full reign. Hopefully, some of this “mods” will move out into the mainstream and allow Android to flourish to a greater extent within the tablet marketplace.