Android News

Andy Rubin Talks Nexus One, Apple, Windows and Nokia

December 7, 2010 | by Michael Heller

Android News

Andy Rubin Kara Swisher Walt Mossberg

Originally we were expecting the announcement of Gingerbread and the Nexus S to come from Android creator and ultimate guru Andy Rubin when he spoke at the opening of D: Dive into Mobile. Google jumped the gun on those stories, but Andy wouldn’t let it steal his thunder, and still came with a great interview and more than we ever expected. Andy shared thoughts on the Nexus One, iPhone, Windows Phone 7, new Google Maps, then dropped the bombshell by pulling out a Motorola tablet running Honeycomb.

On the subject of the Nexus One, Rubin said “We bit off a little more than we can chew” in trying to be the “aggregator of the world’s carriers” in their web store. The time required to pull in each carrier was too much, and he is much more optimistic about the model they are using with the Nexus S.

Rubin noted on carriers changing the essence of Android, saying, “One of the things with Android is that we can differentiate. We let people go in and make them look completely different but all the apps magically still work — that’s a feature of Android.” He also echoed my sentiments on the issue of manufacturers choosing Bing over Google, saying, “That’s consumer choice, they vote with their wallet on one side and their feet on the other.”

Rubin was diplomatic in talking about competitors, clearly aiming to take the high road, setting himself in contrast to how Steve Jobs has spoken about Android, and in effect making Steve seem defensive and arrogant in the process. Rubin said that although Windows Phone 7 contains code that is “20 years old”, “It’s a good 1.0 product. It does look good, it looks unique,” adding that the XBox integration has “huge potential”.

In clear contrast to the rhetoric often used in the iPhone vs Android debate, Rubin said that Apple is “fairly open,” adding “There’s different degrees of open.” He went on to praise Apple for their forays into different services with books, apps and iTunes saying those services “[create] a lot of new opportunities. If Android is the razor, the blades are the services.”

The only company Rubin had trouble being diplomatic about was Nokia. On that subject, he said Nokia was not competing, and was running into problems because they had hired the UI team TAT, which had worked on Android, but in the process of updating their product Nokia was having trouble bringing along their users.

For a transcript of Andy Rubin’s interview check out Engadget.