Open for the User

Hi Digital Diary Followers

Think of all the possibilities that could be available to the consumer if only we had a “magic phone”. However it seems that today we do have this opportunity with the idea of open, generative technologies.

“Generative technology, as defined by Zittrain, is a technology that allows third parties to innovate upon it without any gate-keeping” (Cathryn Ploehn).

The leading example of this type of technology is the Android Smartphone. Users are able to able to tweak their phones to align with their interests and take advantage of what the handset has to offer (Open Handset Alliance).

They can swap out the phone’s homescreen, the style of the dialer, or any of the applications. They can even instruct their phones to use their favorite photo viewing application to handle the viewing of all photos” (Open Handset Alliance).

This is only the beginning of what an open platform can do. Other nifty things Android can do include using a PlayStation 3 Controller to play games on the device.  Open devices such as Android empower their users to actively contribute in the development of a product. By using the idea of collective contributing it can allow for a continual mutation of technology and a user driven experience.

However it seems with all these possibilities people are still scared into using closed platforms. Alex Kessinger suggests the reasons for this are that consumers feel open platforms are inferior to paid software, they feel there is no support and generally they are insecure about open devices. With media warnings about hacking threats such as SMS Trojans and “Cold boot attacks” it is no wonder people are more inclined to use closed devices such as IPhone.

Convenience and risk seem to be key players in the success of a product and closed products offer this convenience at low risks. Closed devices however work on a permission culture tethered to a closed ecosystem (Ted Mitew). It is obvious that the ideological permission culture is slowly fading in today’s convergent society. Active consumers, who are becoming bored with being formatted, move to new and exiting generative technologies where they are able to format the experience for themselves. This can be seen in the Gartner Q2 2012 Mobile Sales Unit Report. Of the mobile devices sold, over the past quarter, 64.1% are powered by Google’s Android and 18.8% are operated by Apple’s iOS (Darcy Travlos).


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