Jan 10

Some fine print from Google

nexus_one_asteriskAndy Rubin is the founder of Android and currently VP of Engineering at Google. In the afterglow of the Nexus One unveiling, the Washington Post ran an article noting his similarities to Steve Jobs.

Unfortunately, our friend Andy is actually sounding more like Steve Ballmer.

When asked when existing Android phones will be upgraded to be on par with Nexus One, Andy explained that “older” Android handsets may not be able to support the “full experience” of the newer Android releases — just as older PCs may not be able to run the newest version of Windows.

Come again? I could have sworn that the planet’s entire supply of Android phones was less than six months old. (Turns out HTC, manufacturer of Nexus One, did start making them at the end of 2008.) Whatever, it seems incredibly early to be talking about creeping obsolescence.

Remain calm, Droid enthusiasts. Motorola says you’re definitely getting the upgrade. As for the others, Google says they’ll make the software available within days, but it’s up to each manufacturer to decide when — and if — the update gets rolled out to their devices.

So. If Google was indeed harboring dreams of becoming the Microsoft of the phone world, I’d say they’re well on their way.

This should further fuel the debate over open systems (Android) vs. closed systems (iPhone). Yes, you get a lot more choices when you shoot for ubiquity — but things can get messy quick.

A Nexus One Q&A, including Andy Rubin’s comments, can be found at Computerworld.

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  • Thanks so much for posting this, Ken.

    As you said, this is just the beginning of an awful Android experience for customers.

    A fragmented market like Android will end up being a really frustrating experience for customers, just like Windows is a really frustrating experience for customers now.

    And not only does Android have a much smaller marketplace for apps, but are developers really going to bother making an infinite number of versions of their apps to work with every Android phone? History tells us NO, as seen by the awful fragmentation that occurred in the Palm OS market.

    Not to mention the inevitable viruses & malware & freezes & crashes that are going to come on people’s CELL PHONES because the apps are never preapproved (so they could make the phone totally insecure & unreliable) and the apps are allowed to run rampant in the background eating up memory.

    Plus, there are some serious limitations to the Android, such as the fact that users can only use a measly tiny 190 MB (not GB) to use as app storage on their Android phones.

    Make no mistake:

    iPhone is the Mac, and all the elegance and reliability and user-friendliness that goes along with that.

    Android is Windows, and all the suicide-inducing nightmares from hell that goes along with that.

  • so exactly HOW many chefs does it take to kill the meal?

    but apparently, the more the merrier …

    Android will not rest until it finds out …

  • no

    Droid is a Verizon marketing term
    licensed from George Lukas.
    Please get that straight.

  • ChuckO

    no, I’m assuming you’re being facetious but you make a great point about what a confusing mess this whole android marketing business is.

  • ChuckO

    It seems to me like the marketing of these android phones is bass ackword. No one needs to be aware of Android number one. Number two by making Android the point the phone makers are making themselves commodity manufacturers of Android phones. To me the way to go here is using Motorola as an example: “Motorola Blur with Google mobile” meaning Motorola Blur is the brand which is good at social networking that ALSO features something useful: Gmail, Google maps, etc.

    Marketing Android is lazy and self-defeating.

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