Android is a wonderful software, but Apple is trying to kill it
Open source software
Android is a beautiful and productive software gifted to the world by Google. It has everything you ask. There is nothing that cannot be accomplished in the world by using Android. It has become a popular operating system in the mobile phones. Samsung, HTC and many other mobile phone manufacturers are increasingly resorting to using Android in their devices. Android is free, open source software. Anybody can write his/her programmes in Android and use them in the mobile phones without any licence or permission.
Thousands of free applications
Apart from this freedom, there are many applications developed and stored in the Android market for download by users. After all, everyone cannot write programmes. Writing programmes is a cumbersome and time consuming work. Only a computer software professional can afford to write a programme for his use or for others’ use. There are more than one lakh applications in the Android market and the number is growing every day. Nearly seventy per cent of these programmes are downloadable free of cost and the remaining thirty per cent of the programmes cost the users marginally. The most popular game ‘Angry Birds’ developed by Rovio has been downloaded by more than fifty million people worldwide free of cost.
Some Android applications are charged
One may question, why some Android programmes are charged by the creators when they are using open source software. The answer is that these programmes would have been so complicated to write that the creator charges a small amount for his labour. In some other cases, the programme may be so productive to the users that they do not mind paying a little for the programme.
SMS invite application used in my coaching centre
I used an application called ‘SMS invite’. This application was meant to send party invitations to friends. You can mention the event (party), date and time and send invitation all your friends at once. The friends in turn should confirm their participation by sending ‘yes’ or ‘no’ message. If they send ‘yes’, they will automatically be reminded by the phone fifteen minutes (this time can be set as you please) before the party without the user intervention. I am running a coaching centre to train students for IIT, AIEEE, BITSAT, VIT, Medical, NTSE and other professional examination. I use this application for a different purpose. When I conduct special classes or tests at the coaching centre, I send the information through this application. Students generally confirm it by sending ‘yes’. They will be reminded fifteen minutes before the test. This is very convenient for me and the students.
My own programme worked well
I myself wrote an Android programme with the help of my old student. I have named the application as MCQ. The student will be given a question paper containing, say, 25 questions. He/she has to take the test in his/her home and send the answers to my mobile smartphone by way of SMS with the required code (for every test, the code changes). My smartphone where my Android programme SMS is stored with correct answers for every test will evaluate the students’ response and will send his marks, percentage obtained in the test and the correct answers by return SMS within three seconds. It is a wonderful thing and all the students love it a great deal.
Sleep timer stops music
Take another application ‘Sleep Timer’. If a person is listening to music at night through his mobile phone, most probably he will sleep and the music will be running throughout the night, draining the battery of the phone. This can be avoided by using ‘sleep timer’ application. You can set a time; say two hours, after which the application will automatically stop the music playing, thereby saving battery.
Android can be used to remote control homes. Google has shown that in future, it is possible to switch off lights, dishwashers and other appliances with the help of Android applications. It is possible to monitor your locked home when you are away travelling, through Android, thereby preventing burglary.
Apple not comfortable with growth of Android
But now has come the danger for all this happiness in the form of lawsuit by Apple against Samsung. Apple has been selling its expensive devices iPads, iPods and iPhones in the world market. These devices also offer users applications. Users have to purchase these applications from the Apple Store written in some other programming language. It is not an open source code and Apple charges the users for using many of these applications. Now, if an Android programme like say ‘sleep timer’ does the same thing as one of Apple’s applications, Apple gets angry and challenges the Android application creator and user in the court.
Do not kill software innovation
One has to understand that for achieving the same thing, different programmes are possible in different programming language. That is the beauty of computer software. If the US court gives judgement in favour of Apple’s contention, it will strike a vital blow to the innovations of software taking in all parts of the world. No software engineer worth the salt will be prepared to write programmes if he is hauled up by a court for achieving a result which was already achieved through another programme written in a different language. No mobile phone manufacturer will encourage any software engineer to develop programmes for his mobile phones.
American products will be targeted
It will also seriously affect American companies and products selling worldwide. If Apple blocks sales of Android phones in USA, will other countries allow Apple products to sell in their turf? Already, Apple derives 62% of its income by selling overseas and especially in Asian countries. Apart from Apple products, other American products may also be targeted. For referring to my article on Apple products and their future, click below:
Product patent and process patent
In pharmaceutical industry, product patent and process patent clashed some years before. Advanced countries like USA and Europe were following product patents. But developing countries like India were following process patents. If a painkiller like Ibuprofen could be produced through a different process, it is okay in India. Through GATT, USA and other advanced countries forced their views on developing countries to adopt product patent rule. This has pushed up the cost of medicines beyond affordability for many poor people.
Juries should weigh consequences carefully
A similar change in software industry will not only kill software innovation, but also will affect the American and European people. They will have to shell out higher prices to buy expensive products from companies like Apple. They cannot have the option of purchasing Samsung smartphones to access many efficient applications free of cost. Therefore, the whole world is hoping that sanity will prevail over the minds of the juries of American courts when they pronounce their judgements on this important matter.