Google VP Hits Out at ‘Political’ Windows Phone 7

Sounds like competition in the mobile phone market is getting more intense every week …

With the official launch of Microsoft’s long-overdue new Smartphone operating system, Windows Phone 7 just two days away, it’s little wonder that people at Apple and Google might be more than a little worried about the publicity it’s bound to receive and how it will impact on their own businesses.

In an interview this week with PC Magazine, Google’s Vice-President of Engineering was asked about Microsoft’s new OS.  His answer says more about Google than anything else…

I think the screen shots I’ve seen are interesting, but look, 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.

He’s definitely an Android evangelist, going on to say…

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.

He goes on to partly answer his own question, saying that he knows not everybody will use it and that competition is a good thing.

Let’s have a look at why not everybody will use Google’s Android operating system, and why Windows Phone 7 can’t fail to be popular.

The primary reason, at least from this commentators point of view is that WP7 treats a phone as a phone first and an app platform second.  Android on the other hand is primarily an app platform that treats your phone as a blank desktop space onto which you can drop apps and widgets.

This is suitable for some people but not for all, and I believe it will become less and less popular and relevant to people as smartphones become more popular and traditional mobile phone handsets (with buttons and everything) become rarer.

With the preponderence of smartphones now and people already complaining that it’s difficult to  buy anything else, Windows Phone 7 could be exactly the right product coming along at exactly the right time, clearly this will have Google worried.

The other reason why Google will be inevitably worried about the launch of Windows Phone 7 is that by far the most popular and best-received Android handsets on the market have been those from HTC, who’s Sense UI skin has made them considerably easier for people to use, just as HTC did with the frankly appalling effort that was Windows Mobile 6.

Then there’s the most important reason for Google to be worried.

I think it’s good to have the benefit of choice, but in the end I don’t think the world needs another platform. What Android is particularly good at that I think some of the other platforms lack, besides being open, is it’s really a platform that’s enabling a bunch of services.

The open platform that is Android is now enough to worry security researchers.  Google simply don’t have the same rigorous controls over apps that Apple do and Microsoft will have very shortly.  Android has already found itself vulnerable to viruses and malware and this problem is only going to get worse.

There are many versions of Android in use already, with many variants of those for individual carriers.  This means that not only do Google have to write several different versions of patches and updates, but before these can be deployed they then have to go firstly to the handset manufacturers and then to the carriers to be tested and, if needs be, modified and recoded.

This can hold patches and updates up for several months which leaves Android, not only as an open platform, but one that’s wide-open!

Yes, Google should be worried about Windows Phone 7, and the words of this particular VP should come as no surprise to any of us.


© Mike Halsey for gHacks Technology News, 2010. | Permalink | Add to del.icio.us, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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