Android founder says carriers add value, we do a spit take

Given all the Verizon iPhone rumors of late, and given our fears Verizon would try to mutilate iOS the way it's mutilated Android, it's rather shocking to hear Android founder Andy Rubin say the following to PCMag's Sacha Segan:

If I were to release an operating system that I claimed was open and that forced everybody to make [phones] all look the same and all support very narrow features and functionality, the platform wouldn't win. It wouldn't win because the OEMs have a lot of value to bring and the carriers have a lot of value to bring, and they need a vehicle by which to put their interesting differentiating features on these things. Every phone shouldn't look like every other phone. If that was the case there would just be one SKU, right? The whole idea here is just to figure out what consumers want, build phones and tailor them to what consumers want.

Which must be locked down search engines, aGPS, bloatware, and the various other sins Verizon, AT&T, et. al have visited on other platforms, including Android, right?

No thanks.

He also thinks Microsoft shouldn't have bother innovating Windows Phone 7 and just used Android. He thinks everyone should just use Android and no one should bother innovating anymore. By that logic, he shouldn't have bothered founding and innovating Android either and just waited around for Symbian Foundation to give him a build of their old OS. Sigh.

Unfortunately, it looks like he's already getting his wish and those of us who were looking forward to a few more innovative takes on a smartphone OS might just be disappointed.

[PCMag via Android Central -- love the new logo!]

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Android founder says carriers add value, we do a spit take

29 Comments

Everyone I know that has a android powered phone (and actaully knows that they do), hates the fact that they get all that moto blurr sense ui and bloatware on their phone, and therfore root to get it off..now the people that just has the phone cause its touch screen, and "like an iPhone on sprint", think their sprint nascar mumbo jumbo bloatware is android.

I've used a few Android phones, and by far the biggest negative was the bloatware. One literally had EVERY app duplicated, news/weather/social/maps/search with the Android version and re carrier version, and none could be removed/deleted - the main menu was a rambling mess!!!
I like how they talk about "customization", but then force a whole heap of unremovable garbage on you lol.

Well, what can you say. Rubin is a company man, through and through clearly. The carriers using Android is presumably a monetary win in some way, even though they give it away for free, so he doesn't care. Money in the bank!

Oh please...carriers can add value - on the iOS side of the fence, visual voicemail is a prime example. But hey, any excuse to trot out some pointless, hypersensitive, defensive Andoid bashing, I guess...

@Dev: Visual Voice Mail is a feature developed by Apple and AT&T (and other carriers), did Google help develop the Bing lock, the side-load lock, the bloatware? I doubt it.
Nexus One is the phone Google made and IMHO it's heads and shoulders above anything the carriers have done with Android.

c'mon man! HOW MUCH INNOVATION DO YOU WANT!! quit complaining and design your own OS if you aren't satisfied with the innovation in the current line up. do you not remember even 5 years ago??! EVERYONE WAS USING FLIP PHONES WITH NONE OF THE FEATURES THAT WE HAVE IN SMARTPHONES TODAY!! geez, i like this blog but you are a huge whiner! it seems like you have no memory or perspective of how things used to be less than even a decade ago.
you didnt see the "carriers locking down android" thing coming?! you bitch about it almost every day, thats what carriers do!! they nickel and dime and change things so ignorant average joes "fork" over their money to them. its beautiful! i absolutely love it! having said that, i'm informed enough to purchase my devices with as little bloatware as possible, modifying(rooting) them in cases where need be. carriers are ALWAYS going to try to screw you, that will never change, these "mini computer" phones dont actually cost $200, they're much more expensive. the only way to give them to people at that price is to "cripple" them as you say with programs and "bloatware".quit bitching rene, go read a book or go outside. dude, its just a phone.

Pssh.. Installing iTunes is the biggest slap in the face piece of bloat-ware EVER.. I'll take a damn nascar icon I have to avoid over installing iTunes on any machine / any day.

With all the Android devices released in the past year, you would think the OEMs would have gotten it right by now. Plus they definitely aren't looking or listening to what customers want since they are still loading up the bloatware....

One could argue the value was branding. Think about mindshare for android before the "Droid Does" campaign.
I agree that most (maybe all) "enhancements" carriers bring to android are negative. But at the same time, android wouldn't be nearly as big as it is today without the marketing dollars, Verizon (droid) Sprint (evo) and even Tmobile (mytouch) put into the OS. I think andy rubin knows this, and android's not at the point (yet) where he can bite the hand that feeds.

@allex. um, dude, Rene is a blogger whose job is to talk about the smartphone industry, specifically iphone, and it's competitors. HENCE, the name of this website "The IPHONE Blog" . fyi, yeah when you buy a phone for $200, it's being subsidized. you get it on a contract as i'm sure you know. so your new toy/communication tool costs you around $2000 or more during that contract. They're not putting bloatware on the phones to make up for their "tragic" loss of subsidizing it.
2nd, Rubin wtf man. no. just no
crapware on my phone .. um no ,but if you insist, i insist on the right to delete all of it.

Thanks for the laugh Shane. It's so true that Apple forces on users the biggest, slowest, horribly piece of bloatware in existence. It's called itunes and Rene never bitches about that. I have an Evo and this horrible bloatware Rene is and others are so upset about simply sits in my app tray, unnoticed and out of the way. Actually I use Sprint Nav from time to time as a its given my slightly better directions than Google Nav and rerouts for traffic delays. I've used Sprint's apps much more than the garbage apps Apple preloads. It's truly amazing how a couple of Apple lovers like MG Siegler and Rene Ritchie constantly have their panties in a bunch over the state of Android.

Wow, quit whining? He's not whining. I'll use one of ya'lls examples against you. Look at what we were all carrying 5 years ago. I had a Treo. The features on my webOS phone and my iOS device have smushed Palms Treos of the past. That's innovation at it's best!!! If companys stop innovating and stop pushing the limits, this would be it. We would miss out on new and amazing features and devices because Palm/HTC/Moto/Samsung wouldn't have to compete with anyone. Everyone would be using Android with nothing to look forward to. Making the argument that innovation can stop with Android is ridiculous. This has to continue.

@Jeff
thanks, you really swung for the fences on that one. innovation is good,got it.
@wes
i totally understand this is a smartphone industry blog but lately it just seems its been nothing but a soapbox of editorials damning carriers(and android) and the whole way mobile phones work here in america. it's like rene forgot what the bottom line is(making $$$$) and not the end-user experience. carriers dont care about the latter one bit, you're naive to think that they do. i've just accepted this fact and moved on, choosing to be informed rather than bitter.

@Jimbo
Hey buddy, I got a box of tissues for you.
As far as the article, I can't believe the double standard. Apple fanboys get called "sheep" but it's quite clear by Rubin's comments that he's the one who had drank the android Kool-Aid.

Whelp as I always say...
People will vote with their wallets.
If everything you posted is "OMGZ...the hell on earth" then so be it.
But until people start showing it with their wallets...it won't change.
End. Of. Story. hugs unbutchered Nexus One

@jimbo. Wow. You have been quiet lately. Only problem is you changed your name, Mr Tebow. Come to think of it... It has been nice to not have to listen to your genious takes....bottom line is you are still a jackass!
Aren't you going to pull your tired sheep drivel? You are a tool.
Some things never change. Jackass!

Android is sold to carriers, iPhones are sold to customers, apple knows we don't want carrier crap on our phones, all we want from a carrier is decent service, we don't need your terrible apps, we have the app store for anything you could ever imagine

I am starting to get pissed off with Google, and the whole Android is open bulls**t. Android was open, now with this OS lockdown, it's almost crap to say that. Rubin needs to grow a pair of balls, make certain requirements that must be followed. Examples would be making bloatware easy to remove, able to switch from "Vanilla" (full stock) to whatever crappy skin the OEM and carriers throw on, and let full rooting occur. They claim customizability, and releasing source codes, but also allowing the manufacturer to put blocks to prevent that. Seriously, how "open" is the HTC G2 if you try to put any different coding then what was loaded on the phone, it automatically reverts back to the original state? What about the Droid X bootloader lock? If you try to change anything other the /system, your phone is pretty much bricked, which has been turned into a process to get back to where you were before.
The Droid 1 has been labeled an unofficial dev phone, since it was easily rooted, vanilla, and the user was given full access, able to change anything they want with a little know how, and if needed, some help from the community. If you did make a mistake, and bricked, restoring everything took minutes.
Now I want to know what innovation and value are the OEMs bringing by giving the middle finger to the dev community, especially the one that basically bought Moto back to life, and blocking out the open-sourceness that Android is supposed to be?
\end rant
PS. I'm tired, felt like ranting a bit. To sum everything up, Rene, I'm siding with you on this. I may be on Android right now, but competition is what keeps technology evolving. Without it, where the hell would we be technologically right now?

BTW. I came back to life for three things:
1. To pay glory to Jah.
2. Make sure Tebow ( now Timbow) gets put in his place.
3. Ask Georgia to marry me!
ONE LOVE!

@Allex Your exact words were "HOW MUCH INNOVATION DO YOU WANT!!!" We can never have enough. The more innovative a company tries to be, the better off the end users are. I will always want more innovative features and devices. I will never be satisfied. That was my point. Forgive me if you felt my comment merited a sarcastic response. I don't believe it did.

It's funny how people chime on about itunes, i'll be the first person to say it could do with a complete rewrite and a hell of a lot of streamlining, but just because you don't use a feature doesn't mean it doesn't get used. what are your solutions to itunes ? separate apps for each section ?

I don't know what people have against iTunes. When I set it up the way I like, it's hands down the best music program I've ever used!

The more successful ANdroid gets. . the More angry Rene gets..
Android is Open .. you can't take that away from it Rene .. no matter how you try to spin it to make it sound like it's not..

Android is open - open to teh carriers to do what they want with it. That is, was and will always be the point.

Hey Jim, if I imagine an app to download free mp3s and sync them into my music player will Apple make it? No, Apple's app store is about as useful as a computer without a monitor. I would much rather have too many apps with some I don't need than barely any at all.