It's a debate that's always hotly argued between the team at Kogan headquarters: which is better - an open system or a walled garden?
For many this discussion ends up being about Android vs iOS, but it's more than just that. The battleground is about to move to the biggest screen in your home - your TV. It's already being waged on tablets, and it's been a big factor in which computers and smartphones people use.
With open source systems:
- The price of technology is driven down (companies like Kogan can take on huge multinationals and create lower priced gadgets, by loading open source software like Android onto our tablet design, or Linux onto our laptop design).
- There will always be more variety in hardware options for consumers. You can already see Android and Linux in phones, cars, tablets, computers, TVs and more. Don't want a 10" tablet? No worries. Pick up a 7" one. Don't think the 3.5" screen is big enough on your phone? Use one that has a 4.65" display. Don't need 3G and you'd rather keep $200 extra in your pocket? No worries.
- You can achieve greater market share by weight of numbers, meaning more developers building great apps and programs. Just look at the growth of Android - and the massive amount of great development happening for the platform right now.
With a walled garden system:
- You generally have greater reliability and fewer bugs. The company that makes the system, and the developers around the world who create software for it, know exactly what device their code will be loaded on. They know the size, specs, and feel of the device. This invariably leads to fewer compatibility issues. If you are making an app that could be loaded onto thousands of combinations of components, you’ll often have more bugs that need to be fixed in later versions.
- Seamless integration happens out of the box. Because a company like Apple can build a device knowing exactly how it interacts with their accompanying products, they'll be quicker to market than an open system with effortless cross-device computing. Flicking content between your MacBook, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV is dead simple out of the box.
At Kogan we’ve given customers the choice by offering products that support both open source software, and walled gardens.
We think there are pros and cons to both open source and walled garden systems. Which do you prefer?