Ever since Android operating systems hit the market in 2008, there has been a battle between Apple’s iPhone and Android devices over the domination of the smartphone market. However it seems that Android offers something iPhone does not.
“The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore” – Steve Jobs on why he did not make iPhones open platform devices.
Android on the other hand disagrees with that statement, welcoming the altering and changing of its code. In other words it is open source.
But the question is, which Philosophy (open or closed platforming) is better for the user? Well that is debatable, on one hand closed platforms are often more stable and work quite well as everything put on/into it is there for a reason and it is guaranteed that it will not break the device. However, it does mean that you have less freedom with your device and are restricted to what the developer want you to use the device for, thus labeling you as a consumer. Open platforms however, allow users to alter, create and change everything about the platform, allowing total freedom of the device. This does cause problems though as Steve Jobs outlined when discussing open and closed platforms, that the device can become useless due to the clogging up of the system. However the ability to create and alter the device yourself (as a prosumer) can – for some – outweigh the problems.
But for 3D Printing, what does it mean? Well as 3D Printing is an emerging technology, not limited to one company, there are many aspects to the situation. RepRap (an open source 3D Printer) is an example of how 3D Printing can be successful as and open technology. But if you were not so knowledgeable and dealing with something as expansive and complex as 3D Printing, would you really want to alter the way it works?
So, what kind of “-sumer” are you?