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Is Google Cursed?

Posted by tomwiles at 2:37 PM on September 2, 2010

Back in the very early part of the 1990’s, the tech world villain of choice was IBM, and the underdog was Microsoft. As the 1990’s progressed, IBM began to move into the background and Microsoft took over the role as tech villain.

Windows 3.0 was the version that really started making waves in a big way. It was buggy and unreliable, but it offered a glimpse of the potential personal computers presented. Windows 3.0 made it possible to pick from a wide variety of standardized computer hardware parts and put them together and have a working personal computer that could do rudimentary multitasking. Windows succeeded because it worked on an open hardware platform. That same open platform forever cemented The Windows’ Curse.

In 2010 the new tech villain is Google. Smartphones are the new computers of choice. Google Android is the new Windows 3.0 morphing into 3.1, 3.11, and Windows 95.

My fear is that Google Android is doomed to repeat the muddled path of Windows.

Here is why.

My HTC Evo was recently updated to Android 2.2 “Froyo.” All well and good. However, the Android apps I have installed are constantly being updated. Fine – I can see how that would happen. However, I’m noticing that some of them no longer work. Incompatibilities are creeping in. The latest victim of Android upgrade fail is the latest Android version of the Foursquare app, which causes my phone to spontaneously reboot a few seconds after I open the app.

The Windows Curse is in very real danger of becoming The Android Curse.

The open platform is both a blessing and a blight. Open platforms are great so long as they are small. Once they become the majority market leader, their very openness makes them vulnerable to of errors of confusion as well as a giant security target.

It’s probably time for some company to start producing antivirus and antispyware software for Android phones. And it may also be time for some of us to start fleeing for the higher ground of walled garden dictatorships.

3 Comments

  1. From HunterA3 at 3:01 pm on September 2, 2010

    The problem is not the growing complexity as much as it is the pace at which the changes are coming. While it’s true that open source projects tend to slip on regression testing and thus break functionality from time to time, it’s the pace that often is the true underlying culprit. Third party companies, especially those use to a traditional upgrade cycle, are left spinning in circles trying to keep up with the rapid pace of OSS development. Android is no different. Android is a “desktop environment” that rides on top of Linux and because of that it tends to be hampered by the same flaws that effect other OSS projects like Linux.
    Though no operating system is immune to security threats, including Linux, most open source projects tend to be safer than their closed source equivalents because there are so many people developing for it and any flaws are generally transparent to all involved. If a vulnerability is discovered, it is quickly corrected by the overall community driven development groups. Android also sandboxes apps to help reduce the likelihood of viruses and their effects. Not to say that there are not ways to create havoc on Android, but it is certainly more limited than other mobile operating systems.

  2. From Windsphere at 5:15 pm on September 2, 2010

    I do not agree with you. Lets compare Apple and Google. I believe Apple is the Villain now. Anti-virus and anti-spyware get real it is google they do all the spying not some sneak attach from the web. Sounds like they need to work on code that is breaking the applications not anti-virus (both virus and spyware are Microsoft downfall). Apple does not believe in a free market. I will still go with Linux even if I do not get all the bells and whistles or instant self gratification that so many people need. Stick with the basics if it works. Let the companies show us if it will save both time and money buying there products. Chances are we will pay and pay and pay for less personal one on one time with others and have less in our pockets to go out on a date.

  3. From teemark at 7:17 pm on September 3, 2010

    It’s pretty much the same issues seen with Linux distro updates for the desktop.
    New releases (eg: Ubuntu Narcoleptic Narwhal, or something…)are notorious for breaking apps or functions from earlier versions.
    Android is Linux for the smartphone, so it’s no big surprise to see the same type of breakage of some apps.
    I don’t quite follow the Windows comparison, it seems to be a pretty clear parallel phenomenon between mobile and desktop Linux upgrade releases.