Sometimes Google seems to do some extraordinary acrobatics just to prove it isn’t Apple.
Speaking at the All Things Digital conference in Asia yesterday, Andy Rubin made it a point out their difference in philosophy.
1. He doesn’t believe in tablet-specific apps. All apps should work on a phone and scale up.
2. He doesn’t believe the phone should be an assistant. “You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone — you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone,” he said.
Statements like these diminish Google, mostly because they fly in the face of common sense. Rubin makes it sound like it’s more important to dismiss Apple’s advances than it is to move forward.
His view on tablet-specific apps appears to be a defense for the Android Marketplace having so few of them. That number has been cited as anywhere from 300 to 3,000 — whatever, it’s way less than Apple’s 140,000.
Obviously, many apps can scale perfectly well from a phone to a tablet if they’re written to do so. Just as obviously, there’s a big difference between a 4-inch screen and a 10-inch screen. Though many apps can successfully scale, common sense says that a bigger screen opens up new possibilities. Otherwise, we’d all be running phone apps on our 27-inch screens too.
To be dismissive of Siri is to appear almost Luddite-ish. Even in its beta form, Siri is shaping up to be a monster hit. Again, common sense. It’s infinitely easier to say “Set alarm for 8am” than it is to go through the normal routine. Controlling the phone’s more advanced capabilities the same way feels nothing less than miraculous. And phones are just the start.
Apple didn’t denigrate Android’s superior voice recognition capability, they pushed it to a much higher level — the ability to intelligently interpret words to initiate actions. You’re a smart guy, Andy, but to dismiss this kind of leap with comments like “you shouldn’t be communicating with the phone” is pretty embarrassing.
Common sense says one other thing, too. Not too far in the future, Android will feature a built-in intelligent assistant. It may even help you explore Android’s library of made-for-tablet apps.