Pick a Free OS

Where iPad beats Android 3.0 tablets

It is easy to write Android applications and them upload them to the Android marketplace. The level of app policing is not as strict as Apple's App Store, where every app is strictly vetted before becoming available.

Mobile devices are moving threats for malware, and the crazy levels of policing is a great way for Apple to keep iPads and iPhones safe. By comparison Android devices are more vulnerable. Apps can be downloaded and installed from a browser (if a user chooses to install apps from unknown sources). It's only a matter of time before malware to steal personal information from a phone is written.

Think about it this way: Apple's Macs do not require antivirus software. But as Android becomes the dominant mobile operating system, it will need an antivirus to prevent hacks from gaining root access to phones.

Threats could come in from many directions. Google's AdMob advertising service, which serves out ads for mobile devices, is one area. One click on a rogue ad while playing Angry Birds could send your Android device in a tail spin.

To exacerbate the problem, no company wants to take control of vetting what could be a growing problem. Google makes the OS, but device makers and wireless carriers are responsible for upgrading the OS. Device makers care less, which is one reason why you may see a limited number of OS upgrades pushed out.

And there is always a bad apple among developers with evil intent. The attack on London Stock Exchange's new Linux-based trading system is one example of how exposed systems can be. I'm not  saying the problem is immediate, but the day Android becomes the Windows of mobile devices, the juxtaposition of Android's security vs its practicality looms.

But that is beauty of open source too -- there are many developers available to resolve the security problems. By comparison, the kernel of an operating system like Windows will always remain closed, which will always be hard for developers to code workarounds.

Apple also places too many restrictions which makes the device limited in scope, Android's flexibility will always make it charming than any device. More freedom to people!