What it is: The nature of Android’s openness also makes it open for malware infections and scams.
If you want a smartphone today, you have two choices: Android or an iPhone. The big advantage of Android is that you can find a variety of smartphones that may match your needs. The huge disadvantage of Android is that its openness also makes it wide open for hackers to infect it with malware.
That doesn’t mean that iOS can’t also be infected. The difference is that Apple tightly regulates the types of apps you can install on an iPhone by forcing you to go through the App Store. Apple examines every app before posting it on the App Store but an occasional malware slips through.
Although Google runs the official Android app store, anyone can open and run an Android app store, including malicious hackers. That’s why Android users must constantly check for malware infections while iPhone users can mostly assume their iPhones are free from infections.
That’s the hidden cost of Android: malware infections.
If you have an Android smartphone, chances are good you won’t get infected, but there’s always that possibility. If you have an iPhone, there’s still a chance your iPhone could get infected, but that possibility is much less than the chance of an Android smartphone getting infected. Android and Windows are the biggest targets for infection because they both hold the largest market share and offer the easiest path to infection.
Both Android and iOS work nearly identically. The question is which one do you prefer? If you want greater openness and freedom in return for less security, go with Android. If you want less choice in return for greater security, go with the iPhone.
One crucial reason why iOS is different from Android is that Apple deliberately chose to create a “walled garden” around iOS, restricting the types of apps you can install on an iPhone or iPad. For power users, this restriction isn’t worth it, but to casual users, ease of use is far more important than openness. Where Apple planned ahead for iOS, Google essentially cloned the Microsoft Windows model and focused on letting anyone install software on its platform. Big mistake.
Assuming the future will be nothing more than an extension of the past and present is the biggest mistake you can make. The future may be similar to the present, but eventually it’s going to change drastically. Borders Books thought retail book sales was the future until Amazon and online selling took over. The Yellow Pages thought printed directories was the future until search engines appeared on the Internet. If you want to see the future of failure, look for any product that assumes the future will be nothing more than the present.
Google assumed that Windows became so successful due to its openness, so it made Android open as well. Now both Windows and Android struggle with security and that’s never going to go away because openness is the basis of both operating systems. Take away openness and you take away their main advantage while still not eliminating the security problems from the past.
Android is inherently insecure and there’s nothing Android supporters can say to deny this. That doesn’t mean Android is inferior to the iPhone in anyway but security, but it does mean that Android can never come close to matching the iPhone in security. If you’re willing to pay the price in keeping your Android smartphone secure, then Android may be for you. If security is far more important, then you probably want an iPhone.