How does open compare to Apple’s closed iPhone and iPad system? What it means is simple. Android device manufacturers and customers can, well, customize the OS to a degree not possible in an iPhone or iPad. That freedom of choice comes at a high price not found on Apple’s devices.
All That Glitters
Most cellphone and tablet device makers love Android. After all, Android is free, and with nominal tweaking each version on each device can be customized enough to differentiate the model from competitors, yet still keep it within the Android ecosystem.
Price is one thing and cost is something else. A new study claims that nearly 90-percent of all Android devices still running in the wild are vulnerable to almost a dozen different critical vulnerabilities.
That isn’t even news. Do a Google search for ‘android security problems’ and you’ll get a boatload of issues; so many that Google– which runs Android and makes it freely available to manufacturers– cannot stop the flood or plug the holes.
Just a few months ago Google announced it had patched the dangerous Stagefright vulnerability which affects all Android-based devices dating back more than five years– up to one billion devices. Great, right? Except for two things. First, the original patch actually didn’t work. And, second, very few of the one billion affected Android device users received the patch that did work because Android devices don’t get updated the same way Apple updates iPhones and iPads with new versions of iOS.
There are just too many Android device manufacturers, many of who do not have a way to upgrade their customer’s devices, for Google’s security fixes and improvements to be effective on any but a small percentage of the customer base.
One has to ask the obvious. ‘Why would anybody buy an Android device when they are known to have massive security and privacy issues?‘
The reasons are obvious, too.
Price. Android devices are mostly cheap knockoffs from manufacturers who don’t care much about their customer’s security and privacy (Google does not).
Knowledge. The vast majority of Android device owners have little knowledge of the security and privacy risks because they’re not tuned into how an iPhone is a superior device, and never read the comparative drivel from the technorati elite who swoon over Android’s freedom of choice, but minimize and marginalize the risks.
In short, Google can’t be trusted to deliver timely updates to plug privacy and security issues in Android, and even it it could, their manufacturer partners have little incentive to implement the updates.
That stands in stark contrast to Apple which regularly pushes annual and incremental updates to iOS customers, which helps to keep customers safe from a growing onslaught of malware and security vulnerabilities.