Google demos iPhone-mimic Android; dismisses idea of battling Apple in handset market

“Google’s eye-catching demonstration of an early Android-enabled mobile phone Wednesday appeared to mimic Apple’s iPhone. But Google officials downplayed the notion that they will face off against iPhone in the handset market,” Paul Krill reports for InfoWorld.

“The company at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco showed an Android device, featuring touch screen functionality, advanced graphical capabilities and Internet access, similar to iPhone. With Android, the company seeks to extend the browser to handheld devices, a capability currently limited to systems such as iPhone, said Vic Gundotra, Google engineering vice president,” Krill reports.

“‘We believe over time, the browser on mobile devices will be the entry point for many, many applications,’ Gundotra said,” Krill reports.

“Android, though, does not represent Google’s countermove against the iPhone, Gundotra argued,” Krill reports. “‘I wouldn’t say that at all. I think the iPhone is just a world-class device with a great Web browser that delivers in many respects on one of Google’s key goals: To bring the Web to the mobile device,’ Gundotra said. ‘We wish every mobile phone was as good as the iPhone.'”

Krill reports, “The first Android systems are due in the second half of this year, with an Android SDK available now that leverages Java development tools. Android also relies on Apple’s open-source WebKit browser engine.”

More in the full article here.

Google Android images and videos can be found here.

In an interview early this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was said to be “skeptical about Google’s decision to develop smartphone software… ‘Having created a phone its a lot harder than it looks,’ he said. ‘We’ll see how good their software is and we’ll see how consumers like it and how quickly it is adopted.’ In seeking not to get locked out of the mobile phone world, ‘I actually think Google has achieved their goal without Android, and I now think Android hurts them more than it helps them. It’s just going to divide them and people who want to be their partners.'” – The New York Times, January 15, 2008

32 Comments

  1. Of course they want to give the iPhone props. That way, it stays viable enough that Apple will continue to innovate with it so that Google and all of the others playing catch-up can blatantly rip off its design.

  2. Why can’t the iPhone become ‘Android Compatible’ and run programs for both? Its my understanding they’re both Linux-based. It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to virtualize it on the iPhone and run programs written for both.

  3. @ Derelict

    The iPhone runs OS X, a variation of Mac OS X, which is BSD UNIX, not Linux.

    And given the tight control Apple wants on the core operating system on the iPhone, they won’t let another operating system on there. However, users will find a way.

  4. “Java development tools”
    Java is very heavy for mobile processor, Java is a very “simple to use” programing tool, but it is not a powerful or processor optimize tool. Hardware on android phones must be very powerful in order to achieve at least half of the functions on the iPhone and even that, they will run much slower.

  5. “MacDailyNews Take: In an interview early this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was said to be “skeptical about Google’s decision to develop smartphone software… “

    Oh no, not this Mr Markoff guy from New York Times again!

    You can read in the lengthy MDN Take from yesterday
    http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/17396/
    how this guy has no credibility.

    Yesterday he used a NOKIA, MOTOROLA, SONYERICSSON, AND OTHER TELECOM analyst to cover APPLE IPHONE!
    In today’s MDN Take reference he used an APPLE CEO to cover GOOGLE!

    As MDN put it so eloquently yesterday:
    Some stories don’t require contrary points-of-view from random crackpots.

  6. i think google’s android platform is the only thing to rival apple’s phone OS. symbian, microsoft, palm, rim – they are all lightyears behind. that google will essentially give away their OS for free let the comeptitors come quiet close again. something they couldn’t have achieved on their own. (the looser here will be microsoft. who will pay them licencing fees to have windows mobile on their phones when they get a better OS from google for free?)

    i hope the good relationship between apple and google stays where it is though they are now direct competitors in the biggest and most important technology market of the world: mobile phones.

    i think that apple is thinking big here. 1,3 billion units will be sold in 2008. imagine apple having 10% of that one day. ah, i am dreaming.

  7. “Why can’t the iPhone become ‘Android Compatible’ and run programs for both? Its my understanding they’re both Linux-based. It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to virtualize it on the iPhone and run programs written for both.”

    1 – Mac OS X is built on Unix NOT Linux (though Linux is a very close approximation of Unix).

    2 – That assumes there are Android built apps out there that people want to run on their iPhone. At present there are zero shipping Android phones and no apps running on them. So going to the trouble of making an Android compatibility layer in the iPhone OS X benefits Apple how?

    Sure there are thousands of Windows apps I can run on my Mac via Parallels, but why bother when there are Mac apps that do all I want to do? My bet: There will be tons more iPhone / iPod Touch apps than Android apps.

  8. This is a perfect example of how to play with and compete with at the same time. Ballmer doesn’t get it, instead he brings out fake hardware numbers like 270 million computers(which M$ didn’t make even one) versus 10 million for Apple, whose true installed base is above 20 million and they truly make their own hardware.
    Expect, in spite of this article to see Eric Schmidt sometime during the keynote on June 9th.

  9. Yet again and again, Apple is all about making money on its hardware. Sure, the OS is important, but if the iPhone, like the iPod, is the cult thing to desire and have, their OS numbers are going to be high anyway, despite which competitor. Anything against Windows Mobile is a win for Apple…let the evolvement of hardware eventually decide. Patent, patent, patent. Enforce, enforce, enforce.

  10. Um actually no OS X is built on BSD not UNIX. Just because it meets the UNIX spec doesn’t mean it is buitl on UNIX.

    Also Linux also meets the specs for UNIX. Hence why porting software between the is so easy. the hard part are the GUI differences. Linux however doesn’t have a company willing to put up the thousands of dollars in testing fees need to have UNIX specs. that is also why only OSX 10.5 is UNIX, 10.4 isn’t.

    so only Leopard meets UNIX specs. stop telling lies. or at least learn to understand what your talking about.

    android is to crush Windows Mobile. Nothing More. Apple will always have it’s niche of awesomeness

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