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October 12, 2010

Does the World Need Another Mobile Platform?

Andy Rubin, Android architect and vice president of engineering at Google, says that the world doesn't need Windows Phone 7 or any other new mobile platform.
The world doesn't need another platform. Android is free and open; I think the only reason you create another platform is for political reasons. Why doesn't the whole world run with [Android]? They don't like the people who developed, or "not invented here," but [Android] is a successful, complete, vertically integrated free platform. I encourage everybody to use it, but I'm also not under the impression that everybody will use it, which is a good thing, because competition is good for the consumer and if somebody has an an idea for a feature or a piece of functionality in their platform and Android doesn't do it, great. I think it's good to have the benefit of choice, but in the end I don't think the world needs another platform.

Does the world need a better phone? Does the world need a phone that boots faster, a phone based on a web application framework, a phone that has a consistent interface? Just because Windows Phone 7 doesn't use Android, it doesn't mean that it's reinventing the wheel. Android is flexible, but it can't be used to build any kind of mobile operating system.

Millions of people will buy Windows Phone 7 phones and they'll find a new way to experience the Web. They'll probably use Bing, a browser that doesn't support HTML5 and they'll run Silverlight apps, but that's great: more people will buy Internet-enabled devices and will make the Web a better place. Great ideas come from everywhere and competition can only make Android better.


  1. Yes, but one that can really make competition with Android, another free open source mobile platform maybe, in computers we hace dozens, and we can change whenever we want..., I thik hopefully it will happen the same in the mobile market.

    Doesn't matter what mobile you buy, you can change the platform..., that would be great...

  2. I disagree. That's like saying opening a McDonald's next to a Starbucks will only make Starbucks coffee better and that's great. Sure, it might hurt Starbucks' coffee sales by letting people get cheaper, crappier coffee at McDonald's and force Starbucks to do some small things like lower prices and offer more variety, but the negatives are far worse than those positives. Starbucks has standards just like Google has standards, while McDonald's and Microsoft have laughed at and ignored those standards for a long time. Competition may be good, but that's not what Rubin was referring to. There is ALREADY great competition between Google and Apple and other OSes. Another OS, one which uses Silverlight and doesn't support HTML5 and is closed, etc. is just driving industry standards lower and failing to expose consumers to really great OSes that deserve their money, as well as making it harder on devs whose customer base could be higher.

  3. Absolutely right: what a stupid thing for Google to say. Let Android win on its many merits, not by shutting down competitors.

  4. I also disagree, does a diversity of web browsers help the web? To a point, but when you've many still with IE6, then no! That holds up web development. Surely a new mobile OS which lacks good support for HTML5 will also be bad for the web.

  5. Woah... Vice President at Google says there's no need for competition?

    I have an Android phone and I like how flexible it is, but I have to admit that it often feels like a work in progress. It can be slow to respond, it sometimes crashes, and the design of the user interface is not good in many respects. I'd like there to be lots of competitive pressure on the developers, just to make sure they have a strong incentive to continue improving it.

  6. What about Meego and/or Maemo? They are MORE than "mobile platforms", and still are and will be used in cellphones, and other devices.

    The "we want diversity till we are on that market, then our option should be the only one" message is a bit negative. There were several "linux mobile" distributions before android, why should be it the only open one?

  7. I agree.

    Google has been helpful to fight for openness but this sounds like rubbish. Microsoft should be encouraged get their platform going. It would be depressing to only have Android and iOS fight it out for smartphone market. Diversity only within Android is not truly diversity.

  8. Wait - WP7's browser doesn't support ANY HTML5 features?

    Deal-breaker right there for me as a web developer.

  9. Competition can be good, but crappy silverlight on phones isn't. Thankfully, I don't think Microsoft will be able to embrace/extend the mobile web with a port of their subpar browser.

  10. Sorry, but Microsoft has never made the web a better place. Maybe earlier versions of IE, like 3 or 4, or even 6 when it came out, but in the long run 6 has done more damage to the web than anything else by far.

  11. i think because of there is many company fight in this field there's will be many mobile paltform in the future

  12. Maybe he should've said: The world doesn't need another proprietary OS


  14. I say this on an HTC hero: more competition in the smartphone game is better for consumers. As a caveat, there do need to be standards to encourage interoperability...

  15. These people know how and when to release statements though. Whether it's for political reasons or not, all is fair in technology and consumerism.

  16. Competition is required. CEOs come and go and the company policies keep changing. Red hat was free now its not. Who knows what happens to Android with its potential to create value(?money).

  17. Peace - The Mobile OS/Platform is all right.
    It's all depends on the people and needs.

  18. There's competition and then there's a race to the bottom. If competition brings innovation then it's good; if they just try and make it cheaper and cheaper on slimmer and slimmer margins then the consumer is going to be left choosing between crap A and crap B.

    The competition is between Android and iOS. Symbian, Bada, Meego, etc. can push some innovative features to Android because they're also open source and a developer could work on more than one, but I'm not expecting much push to come from Microsoft since their OS proprietary and their developers are contractually limited.

    If the manufacturers want to beat Apple they're going to have concentrate their efforts, not spread them out.

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  22. Great post, Alex. I'm glad to see that you aren't influenced by the company you follow with this blog, unlike some other blogs and Apple.

    Well said.

  23. Another good post Alex, Im suprised WP7's browser doesn't support ANY HTML5 features

  24. Take that "be no evil" !! Now Google moto is more "Resistance is futile"

  25. lol googles moto of be no evil was dead 2 years ago....

    and lol ad article by google employee saying no toher os is needed hahah

    why is html5 a deal breaker...its not like you are running a PC, and its up to developers to see how they utilize silverlight... time will telll, but its all up on merits only

  26. Silverlight for Windows Phone supports core Silverlight capabilities in managed .NET code with XAML including:

    High quality video and audio using a wide range of codecs, DRM and IIS Smooth Streaming
    Deep Zoom for enhanced reading and photo browsing experiences
    Vector and Bitmap Graphics and animation
    Silverlight can also access the unique capabilities of the phone including:

    Hardware acceleration for video and graphics
    Accelerometer for motion sensing
    Camera and microphone
    Location awareness
    Push notifications
    Native phone functionality
    Silverlight can also utilize the XNA Framework for Audio capture and playback, Media Library Access, and even accessing Xbox LIVE.