To answer the first question, a locked appliance is also referred to as a closed media source. What does this mean exactly? A closed media platform is restricted and strictly controlled by its manufacturer. Closed appliances are tethered to a closed ecosystem; this means the manufacturer has complete control over the platform, content and ultimately the user. A prime example of a closed appliance is the Apple iPhone. Ultimately, Apple has the final say on what applications users can install it consists of a ‘walled garden’ of applications approved by Apple. ‘When you buy an iPhone, you’re not simply buying a piece of hardware, but actually a package deal that includes software, hardware, and a wireless contract.’ (http://techliberation.com/2009/08/02/newsflash-to-fcc-iphone-is-a-closed-platform-and-consumers-love-it/)
A Generative platform or open media platform has no central control. The manufacturer has no governing power over the platform itself, the content consumed or the user. Google’s Android is an example of an open media platform; it facilitates the flow of content and embraces connectivity. Unlike the Apple iPhone, Android users enjoy the freedom of an open garden of applications. According to Ray Walters of ‘Extreme Tech’, The Android consists of an open operating system, ‘once Android source goes live, anyone can do anything they like with it, even add to the source tree.’ Google has been highly critical of Apple’s iPhone stating, “ The Apple iPhone is a disney-fied walled garden”. In some sense this might be true, but there are also many benefits to Apple’s closed operating system. For example, Viruses and trolls are not common in Apple products largely due to their centralised control system. This is one major downside to open platforms such as the Android; the ability to gain ‘root’ access to the code allows complete control over the hardware and the software. This freedom of control opens up the device to manipulation and exploitation of the platform. The lack of centralized control makes them highly susceptible to viruses. http://www.extremetech.com/mobile/108911-is-android-the-most-closed-open-source-project
With the hotly contested smartphone market heating up, who will come out on top? The Android or the iPhone? According to the latest figures, it seems Google’s Android is the smartphone of choice with over 42% of all smartphones sold in Australia were Android phones compared to 37% of Apple’s iPhone. With the rapid rise in popularity of Android devices soaring in Australia and worldwide, the swing towards pro-sumer friendly products is evident. So what does this mean for closed platforms, such as Apple products? Is it time they relaxed their strict operating systems to compete with consumer demand? Or do closed media platforms still have their place in the media environment?