Andy Rubin Talks Android 3.0 Gingerbread

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A PC Magazine exclusive interview with Andy Rubin, VP of Engineering at Google, gives us a glimpse into Google’s plans for Android 3.0, among other things. From his remarks about Android 3.0, it would seem that gaming is going to be a big focus. On another topic, he criticizes Microsoft’s upcoming launch of Windows Phone 7 by mentioning that the “world doesn’t need another platform.” Here are some highlights from the interview:

PCMag: What are some of the themes and ideas that are going into the next version of Android?

More forms of communication. I think social media is a form of communication. I think you would just talk about general improvements to the platform and make it faster and more robust. I think gaming is an area that I think is underserved right now. We’re actually going through a reinvention of casual gaming. If you look at a console game like an XBOX or a PlayStation or a Nintendo, I think it’s very, “sit down and try to get to the maximum level possible.” On cell phones and devices that are battery operated, I think there’s more kind of “what do you do in between the times when you’re doing something?” It’s more about running a game to fill time rather than running a game to be a dedicated event.

If we were to carefully look at what new features and functionalities in the platform that we would need to support all forms of gaming across the entire spectrum, I think that would probably be an interesting thing to pay attention to. I think that more blending of the Web and native is probably interesting. If you look at things like HTML5 support, more features, more functionality, our browser right now is probably one of the best performing browsers on a mobile phone. It’s the fastest, it’s the smallest. We’ll be adding more functionality to the browser to give it an updated user experience as well.

PCMag: We have all these versions out there, people are still releasing phones on 1.6 … how can you guys give developers and consumers a consistent experience when there are all of these different versions and different overlays going out there?

I think the OEMs seem to learn pretty quickly what sells and what doesn’t sell. I’m pretty happy with the pace at which we’re innovating. If we come out with a 2.3 or a 3.0, that’s going to be state of the art, because it’s going to have new functionality and new innovations that all the OEMs are going to want to adopt. The OEMs who don’t want to do the work to adopt the latest release are just going to see the impact on what consumers want. We’re actually in the middle of an interesting time because we’re actually seeing whether consumers recognize the value of each one of these releases. So far it looks like they do. So I think OEMs will adjust their strategies and their time to market for these new releases accordingly.

PCMag: On Monday, Microsoft is announcing their first Windows Phone 7 phones. What do you think of that platform as a competitor?

I think the screen shots I’ve seen are interesting, but look, the world doesn’t need another platform. Android is free and open; I think the only reason you create another platform is for political reasons. Why doesn’t the whole world run with ? They don’t like the people who developed, or “not invented here,” but is a successful, complete, vertically integrated free platform. I encourage everybody to use it, but I’m also not under the impression that everybody will use it, which is a good thing, because competition is good for the consumer and if somebody has an an idea for a feature or a piece of functionality in their platform and Android doesn’t do it, great. I think it’s good to have the benefit of choice, but in the end I don’t think the world needs another platform. What Android is particularly good at that I think some of the other platforms lack, besides being open, is it’s really a platform that’s enabling a bunch of services. When we talk about the Web and we talk about mashups, we’re really talking about cloud services.

The back end part of that, the services that the actual cloud offers, Google has been in that business since day zero. Search was the first thing, and then Gmail, and YouTube, and Google Talk and everything else. So those cloud-enabled services actually give the device a better experience because the cloud is doing the heavy lifting. The cloud is humming away with unlimited bandwidth, acting on your behalf.

(via: PCMag)

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About The Author
Brandon Miniman
Brandon is a graduate from the Villanova School of Business, located near Philadelphia, PA. He's been a technology writer since 2002, and, in 2005, became Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow, a then Windows Mobile-focused website. He has since helped to transition Pocketnow into a top-tier smartphone and tablet publication. He's so obsessed with technology that he once entered a candle store and asked if they had a "new electronics" scent. They didn't.