The horse is dead. Design, feel, features, openness, customizability — we’ve heard it all. The main arguments are well understood by anyone with an interest in this discussion.
But there’s another one that I’ve not heard articulated yet — the argument for why both companies do what they do. Or, more specifically, why one would prefer one or the other based on their respective reasons for being in the mobile space.
I personally like Apple’s reasons for being there much more than Google’s. That is to say, I prefer the philosophy of an egotistical, overly ambitious design freak wanting to take over the world with perfectly designed, functional works of art to that of an ingenious advertising company wanting to drop millions upon millions of copies of their operating system — running on anything (toasters, toothbrushes, tricycles, et. al.) — for the sole purpose of getting more people to see their ads.
As an analogy I imagine two painters — one is an eccentric, pompous old man who spends 3 years per painting and demands of friends and enemies alike that they love his work. He sells very few, from his own home, and generally spends his time locked away trying to impress himself and others.
Another painter — younger and more financially minded — comes along and finds a template he can use to pump out thousands of paintings a year. He sells them for less but makes far more money because he’s on every corner. When Art Magazine asked both painters why they paint, the old man replied that, “Art is life.”, before rudely ending the interview to go back home and paint. The younger painter responded, “Are you kidding? I’m moving 4,000 of these things a year, and they all have my name on them!”
Don’t be confused — I dislike both for different reasons. But given the choice I much prefer backing a company that’s fundamentally tied to me being enthusiastic for my device and my experience vs. one that sees the entire game as a means to an end. ::