While lauding Apple's iPhone as being innovative in the mobile space, a Google official later cited disadvantages of the device, which is expected to compete with upcoming Google-backed Android phones.
Speaking at the eComm conference in Mountain View, California, Google's Rich Miner, group manager for mobile platforms, discussed the long-standing obstacles to mobile application deployment and how they are being overcome. Apple's iPhone was cited for its innovations.
"[Apple] came out with the iPhone and did a number of things right first time, first device," Miner said. Apple is offering a great user experience and a seamless experience between applications; Google is providing maps for the iPhone, he said.
But after hailing Google's own Android platform as another innovative step in the mobile arena, an audience member raised the question of whether to develop for planned Android phones or for the existing iPhone. The audience member asked how many Android systems would be on the market in a year.
"That's a hard question to answer," Miner said. Four original equipment manufacturers in November announced plans to build Android devices, Miner said. He added he has seen Android prototypes and that the number of OEMs probably has grown. The first Android handset is due in the second half of this year, he said. Android is under the jurisdiction of the Open Handset Alliance, which features Google.
Miner also said he believes there will be a lot of Android phones out in 2009. Then he criticized iPhone.
"There are just certain apps you can't build on an iPhone," he said. For example, an application cannot run in the background when switching to another application, and interpreted languages cannot be supported in applications, he said. Multiprocessing applications also are not supported, he said.
"There's a lot of restrictions," Miner said.