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Apple, Google, and the value of iOS

Google continues to enjoy a unique position in the mobile space -- they make money off of pretty much every platform. If you use their own, freely licensed Android platform, they earn revenue off of advertising. If you use anyone else's platform, including Apple's iOS on the iPhone or iPad, Google still earns revenue off of advertising.

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Google's new privacy policy and of "don't be don't be evil"

Probably like many of you, I received my new Google Privacy Policy via email this week, and while couched in language about creating a more "beautiful" experience for us, the users -- read: products -- it's also clearly about Google leveraging their popular services like Search and Gmail to help their new services, like Google+, become competitive with Facebook and Twitter.

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HP open sources webOS

HP announced today that they're going to open source the webOS operating system that once upon a time ran Palm Pre and HP Touchpad software, and showed the world how elegant multitasking metaphors and synergistic data handling was meant to be done. Derek Kessler from PreCentral pegs it thusly:

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Less than openy

According to 9to5Google, the reason Google Wallet is nowhere to be found on the upcoming Android Samsung Galaxy Nexus is because... wait for it... Verizon has blocked it. That's worth repeating. Google has allowed a carrier to prevent users from having a Google app on a platform marketed as being open, on a device meant to be the very flagship, the beacon of that openness.

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Mobile Nations 10: The F-word

Phil Nickinson, Rene Ritchie, and special guest Michael DeGusta talk about fragmentation, legacy, forks, and flexibility and how they challenge developers, designers, but most importantly -- consumers. This is a Mobile Nations Special Edition!

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iPhone vs. Android phone update-ablity

Michael Degusta from the understatement did a tremendous job putting together a breakdown on iPhone vs. Android phone device update and support history. [Click/tap on the thumbnail above to go to his site and see it in full.]

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Have Apple's closed apps killed Google's open web?

Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners -- who previously made headlines before they sold Palm to HP -- is back with some interesting views on how Apple's App Store might have already killed Google's open web.

McNamee asserts that search, which makes Google billions in advertising revenue on the desktop, has been reduced to 1% of mobile activity, effectively obliterating it as a business. He blames/credits that to Apple and their App Store model, where they present the internet not in open, standards based web pages but closed, proprietary native applications.

The open web was too wild for the mainstream, MacNamee says, which makes Apple's iPhone and iPad far more accessible, approachable, and comfortable. (He also thinks iPad is the most important device since the IBM PC and urges everyone to get one.)

McNamee doesn't seem to be casting Apple as the villain of the open web, or the hero of the app mainstream, but rather both, or rather still commenting on the re-closing of the web.

That's something we've been speaking about a lot on our podcasts lately. Compuserve, Prodigy, AOL, etc. all started as mainstream-friendly, walled-gardens built on top of the internet. Eventually, they had to give users real email and real web access, and the walled gardens fell.

Now, however, the App Store has repackaged it again. And Facebook has erected a new, more social, but just as walled a garden. And Google is having to walk the line with Android and Plus and other services to provide a good experience while still staying as open as their original philosophy allowed.

MacNamee thinks it's done in Mobile. Google's model lost. I'm not so sure. "It is what it is" is far too easy and final for the turbulence we're still undergoing. Apple is all in on open HTML5 as a second development platform, for example, so just like Google they're embracing what they feel is the best of both models. That might be the new normal. We might finally be recognizing one model doesn't work for everyone, and a combination of the two is more than the sum of it's parts -- or its soundbites.

Video after the break.

[Fortune via Android Central]

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Google won't be releasing the source code for Android 3.0 Honeycomb any time soon. (For an excellent overview of why that is and what it means, see Jerry Hildenbrand's article over at our sibling site, Android Central.) What makes this interesting for TiPb is that, for a while now, Google has used the term "open" as a hammer to differentiate themselves from Apple, iOS, and the iPhone. From Eric Schmidt's "completely open" quips to Vic Gundotra I/O smack-talk to Andy Rubin's now-ironic tweet, it's been clear from the start that "open" wasn't a development philosophy for Google so much as a business and marketing strategy. It was a brilliant if disingenuous move that rallied many hardcore free and open-source software advocates to their cause (and platform) and got a bevy of tech writers to skewer Apple for being equally and oppositely "closed".

That it was business and marketing rather than philosophy was fairly clear from the start -- "open" is such a nebulous term to begin with. Open to whom and in what way? Even if we restrict ourselves to open-source, Android was never Stallman-class open, GPL licensed and patent unencumbered. It was never even Mozilla-class open, where the source was freely available even during development phases (most of us couldn't download, compile, and contribute back to Gingerbread before the Nexus S debuted). It was Google-class open, which meant it was only released when it benefitted Google, and only really meant for manufacturers and carriers. We've spoken about it plenty of times here at TiPb, and so has Android Central. (Phil Nickinson and I even did a special podcast on it back in October.)

It's kind of like that popsicle you get at the corner store -- it's not chocolate, it's chocolaty. Android was never open. It was openy.

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