BCM112 Convergent Media Practices Blog No. 3

I Love Gadgets: Platforms, Permissions and Ideologies in technological convergence.

This is not about which platforms are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It is also not about aesthetic preferences or features. It is about the affordances implicit in media platforms and choices and their absence.

Remember, the medium is the message.

Convergence: By convergence, I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms.

Media Technologies become content platforms and towards always on connectivity.

Key dynamic

  • Ubiquitous Connectivity
  • Always on, always connected
  • We are in the medium
  • Mobile supesedes legacy infrastrcture

Key dynamic

  • The smartphone as an interface to the internet
  • Always on, Always connected, Always on you
  • The internet is now part of your body


Locked Appliances vs Generative Platforms

The fundamental difference between a PC and an information appliance: The PC can run code from anywhere written by anyone.

Main Dynamic is control over use. The main theme is to access permissions and they are ideological choices.

Close Appliance (Apple) vs Generative Platform (Android)

Device Philosophy-Apple

  • Closed Devices
  • Walled Garden of Apps- The App Store
  • Complete control over platform, content and user

Device Philosophy- Android

  • Open and free platform based on Linux kernel
  • Anyone can access and modify the code
  • Open garden of apps- Google play and independent Android markets.
  • No control over platform, content and user.

Google’s Response

Despite all of the very interesting speculation over the last few months, we are not announcing a GPhone. However, we think what we are announcing- the Open Handset Alliance and Android

Apple’s Response

I think Android hurts them more than it helps them. It’s just going to divide them and help people who want to be their partners- Steve Jobs.

The Apple iPhone is a sterile Disneyfied walled garden surrounded by sound-toothed.

Closed Appliances tetherd to closed ecosystem. Philosophy. We define everything that is on the phone.

Control over choices

  • The product is connectivity
  • Generative platforms facilitating flow of content
  • 5th November 2007- Open Handset Alliance-34 Companies (Hardware, OS, Telco)

Open standards for mobile devices. Android allows rooting of OS. Gaining root access to the code allows.

Result of rooting: Cyanog enMod-12 Million installs- March 2015.

Locked Devices= Generative Platforms

Total control over iOS- Android available for free

Total control over appmarket-Allows independent app markets

Total control over developers- Android is open source

Only apple developers can work on OS- Millions of independent OS developers.

One Hardware

Manufacturer: Apple- Cutthroat hardware manufacturer competition: Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei, Tiaomi, Meizu and ZTE.


We are locking your options for your own good (Permission Culture)

You take responsbility for your free choices (Open Culture)

Locked owner empowering-Generative user empowering

Content (Consumption) Appliance

When open platforms becom closed (generatively dies), the intended result is pure consumption.

Twitter was originally designed as a broadcast medium (sharing was invented by users)- Evan Williams

A network is built to ensure content flows freeely no mattew what.

Distributed COntrol

Each individual node in the network can broadcast to the entire network. The internet is a copymachine.

Imagine a world where there are two kinds of media power: one comes through media concentration.

The paradox of convergence

Expansion of choices- Concentration of ownership


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