By: Hillel Fuld
At a tech event I was at yesterday, which was covered by my friend Roi Carthy here, one of the many conversations you heard echoing through the hall was the old Android vs. iPhone debate. I have to admit I took part in many of these conversations mainly on the side of tablets and less in regard to smartphones. I already wrote about why one would prefer a Galaxy Tab (Android tablet) over an iPad, and I am personally looking forward to getting my hands on the Galaxy Tab so I can do a real side by side comparison.
This topic has been covered so many times that it is truly getting old. The bottom line is that there is no bottom line here. If you prefer an open source operating system on your smartphone/tablet, Android is your choice. If, however, you prefer more apps and some might say a superior user experience (although Android is catching up fast on that front), the iOS devices might be better for you.
Whatever your choice, both platforms are taking off with unprecedented numbers and the latest statistics about Apple’s last quarter are truly phenomenal. Just to name a few milestones, Apple had its first $20 billion quarter with over $4 billion in profit. They sold a record number of Macs (3.89 million), iPhones (14.1 million), and iPads (4.19 million). The Apple stock is at a record $317.93 up from $190 a year ago. You can read more about Apple’s quarter and its unprecedented success here.
OK, all that is impressive, but who cares? I mean unless you own Apple stock or are into the markets, why am I even mentioning this here? Well because Steve Jobs himself was so impressed with these numbers that he graced the Apple employees with his presence on the 2010 fourth quarter conference call. Steve did not hold back and spent approximately five full minutes outright attacking his main competition, Google.
Without taking sides, one of the main points Jobs spoke about and one that I have mentioned on numerous occasions both from a consumer’s perspective as well as a developer’s, is the mess that is caused by fragmentation on the Android platform. With different versions of the OS, different handsets, each with its own dimensions and capabilities, as well as a growing number of tablets that use the same Android apps, Android is quickly becoming a huge mess.
Jobs mentioned Tweetdeck (he actually called it Twitter Deck, but we’ll let that one slip, since the community manager of Tweetdeck did) and their new Android app. He pointed out that instead of letting developers spend their time innovating and coming up with better ideas, they are stuck creating various apps for Android so as to support all the devices on the market. I have personally heard the same thing from two Android developers who find it extremely difficult to create an Android app that will be compatible with all the devices out there.
Jobs also addressed the issue of a 7″ tablet and said that in this case “Size matters”. Well that put all the rumors of a smaller iPad to rest. In any case and whatever your opinion of Apple, Steve Jobs, or the iOS operating system is, Jobs made some valid points and as always, presented them in a clear and interesting fashion.
What I found most interesting was how Jobs took the open vs closed argument generally associated with Apple and Google and transformed it into a fragmented vs integrated debate. While Apple creates the software for its devices, as well as the hardware, which at the end of the day translates into a smoother user experience, Google developed the software and the hardware is manufactured by companies like HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and many others.
Jobs points out that not only is the software not integrated into Android devices, but each manufacturer designs its own proprietary version of Android on its devices, which again contributes to the mess that is Android (He said it, not me, relax there, Android fanboys).
Below you can hear the recording of the five minute Steve Jobs rant about Google. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or you can reach out to me on Twitter.
Update: You can hear the entire recording of Jobs’ comments here. Additionally, there is now an ongoing debate on Twitter about Jobs’ use of Tweetdeck as an example of the Android fragmentation issue. The CEO and Founder of Tweetdeck denies that they had difficulty developing for Android.