Apple and Google

The Smartphone Cultural Divide

Jessica Thornsby

Mike Loukides sees the App Inventor for Android as the perfect example of Google and Apple’s opposing views on app development.

App Inventor for Android
is more than just a new software tool;
according to Mike Loukides it highlights the cultural difference between Apple and Google.

By taking the coding out of app creation, Loukides perceives
Google as not only lowering the bar but “throwing it away
entirely.” This is in drastic contrast with Apple, which is all
about delivering the perfect customer experience. The App Store is
tightly regulated for the user, allowing them access to the apps
Apple deems the best. Google’s ethos is the exact opposite. The
quality of the user experience isn’t as important as the user
having control over the form their experience takes, and the App
Inventor is a key part of this ethos.

The accusation most commonly levelled at App Inventor for
Android, is that it could see an influx of lower-quality apps in
the Android Marketplace. However, the general consensus in the
blogosphere is that, although this will most likely be the case,
it’s a fair trade-off for empowering the general Android user to
create their own apps. Sharon Machlis predicted a rise in
“less-than-useful” apps, but also an increase in brand loyalty, as
customers opt for the platform that gives them the ability to
create their own “less-than-useful” apps, as they see fit.

In a previous blog post, Loukides again addressed
this cultural divide between Google and Apple, presenting it as
essentially the closed platform verses the open platform. He views
Apple’s closed nature, as its major stumbling block: “you can only
go so far telling customers that you know what’s best for them,” he
says. He cites Flash as an example: he personally hates Flash, but
admits that Flash is everywhere, and if you are building a
platform, you have to take into account what software is popular,
and give the people what they want. For Loukides, App Inventor is a
clear statement that Google disagrees with this policy.

“I cannot imagine Apple offering non-programmers the ability to
develop for the iPhone. If ported to iOS, App Inventor, or its
equivalent, would presumably violate the iOS developer agreement,”
he says. In fact, Apple did have something similar for a while, in
the form of Scratch, a programming language that aimed to make it
easy for people to develop their own interactive stories,
animations, games, music, and art. However, Scratch for the iPhone
and iTouch was removed in April, 2010, leading one Scratch fan
to comment “Apple wants to be in complete control of what can make
apps for their machines so they ban all app creators except their
own.” Revealingly, another visitor to the Scratch forum advised
“I’m sure an Android app is possible.”

Interested parties can sign up for the beta now, or watch a preview video of
Google’s App Inventor for Android.

comments powered by Disqus