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Apple Patents Gestures, Secure Boot Is Here, Android Bests iPhone

Friday FOSS Week in Review

It’s been a busy week. So busy, in fact, I was unable to make my deadline for FWIR, so here I am with a special Saturday edition. Just so you know, there’s a precedent for this. Back in the days when ABC ran “Monday Night Football” they called any NFL game they ran “Monday Night Football,” no matter what the day of the week. Hence, we were often treated to “Monday Night Football, Special Thursday Edition” and such. In that spirit, I offer you “Friday FOSS Week in Review, Special Saturday Edition.”

Of course, if I’m going to get busy and miss deadline, it’ll happen on a busy week in FOSS news. The fates work that way, I’m convinced. Indeed, after a couple of ho-hum weeks, the news flew fast and furious this week. Hold on, it’ll be a hell of a ride!

More Apps Downloaded to Android than to iPhone

It was reported on Tuesday that ABI Research says Android now leads the pack in the number of apps downloaded. According to their figures, 44% of all mobile apps downloaded are headed for Android devices, with 31% going to the iOS platform. These figures are miles away from what the research firm predicted back in 2009 as the mobile wars were just getting heated up:

“Android has grown much faster than ABI’s earlier projections have suggested. In 2009, Google’s OS facilitated just 11 percent of total app downloads. At that time, the firm projected that figure might grow to 23 percent by 2014. Instead, 2011 seems to have been the year that Android made its move on iOS. As recently as August 2010, ABI reported that iOS still held a dominant 52 percent of the market for mobile app downloads.”

I’m certain many FOSSers will smile smugly and perhaps mutter “I told you so” at the reasons ABI gives for Android beating the oddmaker’s predictions:

“’Android’s open source strategy is the main factor for its success,’ says Lim Shiyang, an ABI research associate. ‘Being a free platform has expanded the Android device install base, which in turn has driven growth in the number of third party multiplatform and mobile operator app stores.'”

According to ABI’s figures, the Android’s installed base beats iOS by a margin of 2.4 to 1, and they predict by 2016 the margin will increase to 3 to 1. Anyone want to bet that guess will turn out to be low?

Android is winning on the advertising front too. Millennial Media has just released their quarterly report, TechCrunch informed us this week. According to this report, the mobile ad business is booming, with ad impressions on the iPad up 456% from year ago figures, and iOS up 60% during the same period.

FOSSers have no need to worry about Apple’s success, as they still have a long way to go to catch up with Tux based Android:

“…Android continued to dominate the mobile ad network, and led the Connected Device and Smartphone OS Mix on Millennial with 56% of the impressions. iOS was the second largest Connected Device and Smartphone OS in Q3 with 23 percent of impressions.”

If you’ve been looking for a reason why Google pays so much to keep its free mobile platform alive, you need look no more.

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  1. Michael Michael October 30, 2011

    At first the “Foss force – keeping tech free” heading at the top of the site seemed promising but after further reading I got very disappointed.

    Words such as “free” and “open” are used interchangeably altough these words have very different meaning when it comes to software.
    Surely the authors on this website should know this.

    Android is Not FOSS so why bother mentioning them at all other than to mention this fact?

    If Android were going for freedom then that would really be something but the facts are pointing in the other direction.

    Qt may be open but is it free?

    Please distinguish between “free” and “open” when writing abouts FOSS, that’s the least we should request from a site publishing news on Free and Open Source Software.

  2. Geckopia Geckopia October 30, 2011

    I get your point, but come one. Linux may have some long term issues with Android but in the short term, any success for Android is a success for Linux on the Desktop.

    Linux IS a real, viable DESKTOP OS. I believe in the FOSS model, but we need to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water.

    This new Secure Boot issue can kill the ENTIRE scope of Linux on the Desktop in 6 months time. Then we will have OSX or MS and that’s it. We need to quit throwing rocks at folks who actually make money with Linux (Android IS Linux) and team up with them. Anyone who is an enemy of MS is an ally of Linux.

  3. Christine Hall Christine Hall Post author | October 30, 2011

    @Michael I agree with you. Android is not free. About the best we can say for it is that it’s freer than any other mobile platform. If we want to point fingers here, the blame lies not only with Google, but with the handset makers who utilize the platform, and the wireless carriers who can and will pull the plug on anything they don’t want running on their website. I have written about the GPL problems with Android ( ).

    If you ever decide to take on the thankless task of delving into my articles on this site, you will see that I do make a distinction between open-source and free software. I do not do this with my use of the acronym FOSS, but will refer to “open source” and “free software”.

    We cover both on this site. In most cases, once we get away from GNU, Linux and LibreOffice, some sort of open source licensing is about as good as it gets, and we are much more likely to push non-free OSS projects to become truly free software than we are to convince Oracle or Microsoft (or Apple for that matter) to embrace free software.

    In the meantime, when you read my articles I’m sure that you can figure out where my heart and mind lie on this issue. I would much rather you judge me by the knowledge you glean about me as a person, than to have you judge me by whether my use of the term FOSS fits completely with your version of political correctness. I guarantee you, I will never fit your, or anyone else’s, version of political correctness – nor would I want to.

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