TweetDeck to Steve Jobs: Android wasn't a nightmare

Iain Dodsworth, CEO of TweetDeck, follows Andy Rubin with Twitter comments refuting what Steve Jobs had to say during Apple's Q4 2010 earnings call:

Did we at any point say it was a nightmare developing on Android? Err nope, no we didn't. It wasn't.

This in response to Jobs' statement that TweetDeck (he called it TwitterDeck) recently launched their Android app, and the "daunting challenge" of having to contend with 100 different versions of software on 244 different handsets.

Dodsworth added:

We only have 2 guys developing on Android TweetDeck so that shows how small an issue fragmentation is.

The flip-side of open source and multiple handset choice is fragmentation, there's no denying it. We've heard from developers that it definitely is more challenging to code and sell Android apps than iOS apps, but Dodsworth's point is that the difference is negligible. Any developers who work with both Android and iOS care to weigh in?

[@iaindodsworth, tip of the hat to Phil Nickinson]

by Brian Tufo

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Reader comments

TweetDeck to Steve Jobs: Android wasn't a nightmare


Nightmare no, but a daunting challenge? ;)
For many applications, many different devices and resolutions won't be a problem. For others, graphics intensive ones, games, any that doesn't use the native frameworks a lot, CPU intensive, yeah it's going to be challenging.
Lastly, it leads to less polish. And this is Steve Jobs. He's OCD about polish.

I think they were missing the point. He never said they had trouble developing, or that it was a nightmare. He simply used them as an example to say that there's a LOT of fragmentation out there, and not every app works on every phone. Both of those things are true. How easy or hard is was to develop "twitterdeck" itself is beside the point.

As far as I can see, updating 100 app variants is a nightmare no matter what they tweet. Sounds like a lot of wasted time to me.
What we as consumers need is an app that works on all OS' so that we can change hardware and not be trapped. I don't see this ever happening, even though it is the real issue.

Seems that a lot of iOS fanbois keep bringing up the fragmentation "issue" as the key reason why iOS is better than Android, just like Android fanbois keep talking about how the platform is "open". What both sides forget about is the actual user experience which is very good on both platforms. The iOS has more polish but some could argue that Android is more efficient and more functional for certain users than iOS. These quotes by Jobs are more politics than truth and unfortunately a lot of his supporters, just like Democrats and Republicans fall for his line of thinking (and Google's) hook line sinker. It becomes an issue of us vs. them with only one winner, which isn't reality. Android won't cause the ruin of iOS, but iOS isn't going to stop Android's momentum. I'm tired of hearing about fragmentation, openness, and closed OSs. I don't care how hard or easy it is for a dev to develop an app. Just tell me how well they work and that there's a big enough number of them to let me do what I can do with them.

Mr. Dodsworth wasn't paying attention to Steve. Jobs never said that TweetDeck was a nightmare to maintain. As a primarily text-display app, it understandably isn't. Jobs just used their conveniently available chart to show Android fragmentation.

Sorry, but I class 100 different versions for 244 devices to be a nightmare. And Tweetdeck is a very basic app lol, image a more complex one! Bet they have more iOS users anyways, indeed I'd go as far as saying Tweetdeck for Android would not exist if not for the iPhone.

Derek schweitzer is a queen. In other news, 2 full time Android developers isn't a lot? Guess I won't be writing any Android apps anytime soon.

Hey Iain,
You got mentioned in Apple's earnings call. STFU because you can't BUY that much PR exposure numb nuts...

jd, did anybody say these guys were working full time soley on the android tweetdeck? bc if you read the quote, you won't find that. he just said two dudes are working on it

What's Steve going to say?! Oh my gosh! It is like he makes up something new every time he speaks.

I think they took some kind of weird offense to jobs statement. Since the app is manly text based I think we should ask the makers of angy birds just how difficult is is to make a " real" application that actualy relys on the specific hardware and os performance how difficult it was to make. Then look at that app on your evo,droid,galaxy, moment, hd2 whatnots. Ask them which took more time, thought and energy.

I really dont think it should be that much of a challenge, at last for most apps and devices.
IOS has the advantage of the standards (and closed source) in its system. Again, I dont think it's such an issue in most current devices

Tweetdeck is a POS app anyway. Crashes on the iPhone & crashes on the iPad. Stopped using it and went to TwitRocker. Maybe they need to hire a few more developers all around.

I twitter based app is not a good example to a app that depends on different hardware, now games for example are much tough to make work on multiple phones...

Funny when people don't want to play ball. Honestly feel that Steve Jobs got this info from one of Tweetdeck's developers and used it. For tweetdeck to come back like this and stab Jobs in the back for some free publicity is asking for it.

The guys behind Angry Birds also said something about the fragmentation issue and that they had to do a LOT more testing on multiple devices & Android versions.
Android = open, sure.. but the carriers are messing it up pretty bad.

@Loz @frog You people obviously don't know anything about developing for Android so your input means nothing. Developers don't need to recode their apps 100 times over so that it'll work on every variation of software. Jobs is simply saying that active Android versions 1.5-2.2 multiplied by skins available (Blur, Sense, TouchWiz, AOSP) equals around 100. If you develop an application for 1.5 up on AOSP it will also work on all the other 99 variations of Android automatically. Notice how iOS developers didn't need to recode their apps when iOS was updated from 3.1.2 to 4.0? Its the same thing on Android.

So your theory is that Jobs got information from a tweetdeck developer (presumably privately, since it was never published), Jobs used it publicly, and the tweetdeck guys* are the backstabbers?
The distortion field is strong in you.

"Honestly feel that Steve Jobs got this info from one of Tweetdeck’s developers and used it"
The "published" comments on the blog did not say they developed different versions, but that they were surprised to find their app ran on so many. Big, crucial difference. The extra information, that they somehow struggled to contend with support, was not published, so either it was a falsehood, an assumption, or it came from somewhere not published. The above commentor hypothesized it came from the devs themselves. You might want to try reading before responding.
Oh, and now apologize.

Well, it's certainly more of an issue than on iOS, but its not a deal breaker for sure. Each platform has its own troublesome issues. When it comes down to it, both platforms have excellent development tools and are worthwhile and profitable to develop on.

You Iphone fanboys kill me .. just because there are 100 different phones .. does not mean it takes 100 different version of the app to make an app work on all the phones. .. most app work on all the phones .. I an count on one hand how many apps have a 1.6 version and a 2.1+ version
and to the people saying not all apps work on all the phones.. ITS THE SAME THING FOR IPHONE .. . All the compass apps dont work on the IPhone 3G ..

@Jimbo: You're looking at a tree (a sidetracked comment) and not seeing the forest (what was the main topic). Jobs NEVER said that TweetDeck was a nightmare to maintain - check the transcript. As a primarily text-display app, it understandably isn’t. Jobs just used TweetDeck's conveniently available, publicly published, chart to show Android fragmentation, even if that's not the point that TweetDeck tried to illustrate.