My friends and I have been debating the open versus censured aspects of the Google Android Marketplace and the Apple App Store. Although skeptical at first, I have seen become a big fan of Apple ‘censors’ qualifying each app and otherwise controlling the range of possibilities that would otherwise be made available. [NOTE: this may change as I prepare my app for publishing….] Of course Apple has taken a lot of flack, even from these pages, for controlling the quality of apps available to users of its iconic iPhone and now big winner iPad.
In this report, Google invoked its only option to remove a malware app attack from its users smartphones – but only after more than 50 Android apps were released on over 50,000 unsuspecting Android users – a ‘nuke’ option which removes the offending app from installed devices (when they connect to the Internet and the user allows the dialog to remove the offending apps).
Apple doesn’t have to do this since its App Store prescreening process shuts down these attacks before they get to a user.
This shows another tradeoff between the open-but-insecure Android and the more tightly closed-but-safe-even-for-kids Apple kind of smartphone environment. Promiscuity made Windows the security disaster it is today, and the same is possible with Android, but the ramifications will be much worse since people are always taking their phone wherever they go where it can spend more time in contact with the network and with other similar devices.