The debate over the closed nature of iPhone apps and Android apps has raged over several developer blogs and media outlets. But from the point of customers, users care about overall user experience and not how open or closed is the underlying platform. They are concerned about the availability of utilities which would enhance their phone delivered in a consistent and error prone manner.
Android’s open source tools are basically free to developers; however this comes with a risk. There is no control on application quality, development consistency and user interface.
I have been an early Android phone user (right from version 1.5 to 2.1 on the faster Samsung hardware). The number of apps that have crashed my phone and continued to run in the background thereby affecting my overall user experience makes me wonder if my experience as shared by other users .
I believe there are couple of options to address this apps quality issue: first, constitute a community driven quality control process (with extensive test suites) like the ones for other open source projects like Rails. Second, Google should take control over the app approval process to ensure these apps have sufficient quality.
Between the two, I can see the second option having in principle opposition from the developer community and hence a remote possibility. While for the first option to be really functional, we need some open source frameworks for designing apps on Android. I think with growing adoption of Android handset, this opportunity for a business to exploit is going to improve further.