How can Google and the Open Handset Alliance avoid this pitfall? Easy. Form an OHA quality control board that approves software applications for the Android platform. They would be responsible for testing applications before they are released to the Android public, but unlike Apple’s process developers would voluntarily submit each individual application to the board for approval. This would give consumers peace of mind when choosing whether or not to try a particular application. If it doesn’t have the board’s seal of approval they could still download and install it catering to the open source community, while developers and publishers could use this seal as a selling point on their websites or other points of distribution.
What’s most interesting about the coming iPhone/Android rivalry is that Apple and Google are taking completely opposite approaches to the issue of openness. Still though, the first test Android-based phones have to pass is whether they’re any good technically.