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Top Android champions fire back at Steve Jobs

Android defenders refuted some of what Apple CEO Steve Jobs said about the system on Monday.
Android defenders refuted some of what Apple CEO Steve Jobs said about the system on Monday.
  • Android defenders fired back after Apple CEO Steve Jobs attacked the system on Monday
  • TweetDeck CEO says he had no trouble with Android; Google coder cited openness
  • Jobs called Android "fragmented"

(Wired) -- Two prominent Android enthusiasts aren't taking Apple CEO Steve Jobs' tirade against the Android mobile operating system lying down.

Iain Dodsworth, the CEO of TweetDeck, and Andy Rubin, the brains leading the Android OS development, have both refuted Jobs' claims about the effect of fragmentation on users and developers because of Android's open source philosophy.

"Did we at any point say it was a nightmare developing on Android? Errr nope, no we didn't. It wasn't," tweeted Dodsworth Monday evening after hearing Jobs say that "Twitter Deck" faced a major problem with fragmentation.

"A Twitter client, Twitter Deck recently launched their App for Android," Job told analysts on the conference call. "They reported that they had to contend with more than 100 different versions of Android software on 244 different handsets."

Dodsworth is not the only one rebutting Jobs' strange trash-talking of Android. Android creator Rubin took to Twitter to post his first tweet, a coded message to Jobs:

the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git:// ; repo sync ; make"

Those are the commands needed to compile Android on a home Linux machine -- a way for Rubin to emphasize that anyone can take Android and play with it.

Since it debut in 2008, Android has grown into a major operating system, gathering support from phone manufacturers and wireless carriers.

Android is now the most popular operating system among people who bought a smartphone in the past six months, while Blackberry RIM and Apple iOS are in a statistical dead heat for second place among recent acquirers,according to August data from The Nielsen Company.

With its rapid growth, Android could eclipse Apple's iOS and iPhone. It may be one reason why Jobs seemed to launch in to what seems like a long rant against Android.

"We think Android is very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day, and as you know, Apple strives for the integrated model so that the user isn't forced to be the systems integrator," said Jobs.(You can listen to the entire conference call here.)

But data shows Android fragmentation, caused by the different versions of the Android operating system on devices, is on the decline.

The Android OS is coalescing around three major flavors: Android 1.5, aka Cupcake; Android 1.6, or Donut; and Android 2.1, nicknamed Eclair. As of June, almost half of all Android devices ran on Eclair.

Still Jobs tried to convince listeners of the superiority of iPhone's walled-garden, tight-control approach over Android's open philosophy.

"We also think our developers can be more innovative if they can target a singular platform rather than 100 variants. They can put their time into innovative new features rather than testing on hundreds of different handsets, so we are very committed to the integrated approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as closed," Jobs said.

"And we are confident that it will triumph over Google's fragmented approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as open."

Developers such as Dodsworth disagree. Dodsworth tweeted his company has just two developers working on the Android app. "That shows how small an issue fragmentation is," he says.

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Copyright 2011


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