The Apple iPhone Has a Lot of Restrictions vs Google Android


It’s only Day 2 of eComm and I’m already exhausted! As Dryburgh promised, this is a really fast paced event: 15-mns sessions, followed by 5-mns lightning talks and a few 30-mns keynotes… and this all day long! This afternoon will be the first one hour panel on mobile mashups. But the lack of proper Wi-Fi connectivity is really annoying.
Anyway, this morning starts with Google’s manager of Wireless, Rich Miner (pictured) sharing his views of the mobile telecom space and about his baby… Android.

Inspite of his telco pedigree – he was working in the past at France Telecom’s Orange Labs -, Miner had little sympathy for carriers who “failed” to bring the Internet to mobile devices and “came up with web browser standards who were very limiting”.

“They came up with arcane limited versions of HTML. So our whole world is moving to XHTML and more robust versions of browsers, these guys focused on limited sets. Turns out the iPhone proves what you can do on a mobile device and the Internet… What you’re going to see is Webkit like full HTML and XML 2.0wy type web browsers appearing in phones. They are now in all the series 60 mobile phones that are shipping, the iPhone, Android.”

With Android you can build any type of phones: from low-end phones to smartphones
During Q&A, Miner admitted that the first phones will probably be focused on very powerful internet connected mobile devices but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

“This is a completely open mobile stack. If you’re a hardware OEM and you’re trying to reduce the cost it takes to manufacturing mobile phones, you have one powerful operating system that can scale your range from low-end feature phones, all the way up to the most powerful smartphones, simply by striping elements out or reducing the capabilities”

Android is not an open development effort
Inspite being a collaborative effort between Google, software developers, handset OEMs and carriers that helped Google create the stack and make decisions about what should be in the platform or not, Minor insisted that Android was not an “open” development effort, like for example OpenMoko is.

“Google had reference designs. We were effectively the architect. Because we’re not building this as an open community development effort. We’re building this as a well engineered design system with strong design leadership, with clear knowledge of what pieces we needed… to build that system”.

However, Miner confirmed that the whole Android stack will be open source. At which point the community will have more say in future functionalities. Something similar to Apple’s management of the Webkit development process, where Google, Nokia, individuals and others contribute to the open source browser development.

Miner also confirmed that the first Android handsets will be launched in the second half of 2008. In response of a question as to whether developers should build apps for the iPhone or Android, he said that it depends on the app developers want to build.

“There are just certain apps you can’t build on an iPhone. They don’t let you do multi-process things, they don’t let you run app in the background after you switch from one app to another. You can’t interpret things. You can’t have interpreted languages in your apps on an iPhone. There’s a lot of restrictions. So you should first look and see, does the iPhone allow me to do what I want to do. Ultimately my belief is that any start-up company or company that is trying to build a popular app will see that app on both platforms. They are both very contemporary programming environments. As long as somebody cleans the architecture system and uses contemporary programming techniques, it shouldn’t be too hard to maintain multiple versions of successful apps across the iPhone and Android”.

22 Replies to “The Apple iPhone Has a Lot of Restrictions vs Google Android”

  1. Rafael Guzman

    I don't like restrictions. I love that Android allows customization. Also lack of flash on Apple iPhone sucks. People that have iPhones always wish they had Android web browser.

  2. marcandsebe

    Yes Android will be just like Windows. Plenty of spyware, viruses etc. Apple all the way for me. I love the fact that it's locked down and not an open platform like Android.

  3. aemakes2

    Look Android os is good but there is a big problem with open source. There are morons that will make spyware and viruses for the Android os. ya I know you thinking no way, your stupid, that will never happen, but your wrong it has happened already. Now if your a developer think about making a antivirus program for the Android OS. Im just saying.
    Well good luck Android your going to need it.

  4. Nomoreidsleft

    I'm not an Apple or iPhone fan, but google is stupid to actually think they can out market Apple. The best scenario is that they can take some market share away from Windows Mobile. Open source is meaningless to consumers, unless it translates to cheaper and better. Unless they give the phones away for free, the only benefit of open source is to the phone makers.

  5. Afarro

    Open source, closed source. Consumers don't give a Sh#t.
    Anyway, I think Apple should stay true to their DNA, just make the best product they can make. It is a bad idea for them to sacrfice the quality in order to be dominant, i.e. go open source or whatever it means to be open and everywhere. Let Apple be BMW with lots of Hyundais, Hondas, and Toyotas (they are good cars too) around.

  6. Kyle Ray

    @shadie452 Ever wonder how Apple's App market picked up over 70,000 apps overnight? Partly due to selling eBooks as Apps!

    On Android, I can get them FREE or from Amazon & any web site I want. Aside from the DRM container Apple puts them in, they're merely Text Files, NOT an application!

    Plus Apple pushes developers to offer several versions. Along w/ other tricks to pad their Store #s w/ junk apps. Nobody is ever going buy 1000th of Apps offered ever! DRM= Digital Rectal Manipulation!!! xD

  7. RocksteadyRacer

    Now yes open projects are way better. Take linux for example. I'm running ubuntu and the only things that don't work are flash which is closed source and direct x which is also closed source. However, windows still hasn't been beaten by linux. But at the rate the android os is growing I think it will defeat the iphone and blackberry especially if the android market grows exponentially as soon as the phone market share grows. But then I thought that about linux, and most people still run Windows.

  8. zoromachlah

    how about measuring you blood pressure( new high tech sensors) and inform you with human voice that your blood pressure is high or low( this is for old people feature. how about increasing the web browsing speed to over double the 3g iphone.

  9. zoromachlah

    How about sending sms to your coffee machine to get you coffee ready. how about translating ON TIME calls from english to other languages. how about reading the news for you while driving or taking you breakfast in human voice.

  10. zoromachlah

    Apple is preparing for something will shock the world….something more advanced than the iphone and with alot of fast and great applications…!!!!

  11. Jerel Boza

    actually the the idea of a touch phone came from htc apple's first iphone was different and great but the 3g version is the same damn thing expect the internet is 5 seconds faster that really it

  12. Mika

    the android is not a copy of the iphone. actually the iphone is a mobile phone and android a open source (!!!) operating system for any types of new generation phones. It is so powerful because everyone can improve it!

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