Google mobile chief Andy Rubin just got off stage at AsiaD with Walt Mossberg where, among other things, he answered questions on the recently unveiled Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and showed off the latest OS running on a Galaxy Nexus.
After talking Ice Cream Sandwich for a bit, an audience member asked about the lack of support from developers for tablet-specific Android apps (noting the absence of a Twitter and Flipboard on Honeycomb).
“I don’t think there should be apps specific to a tablet, Twitter phone app runs fine on tablets. I don’t think it’s necessary to make the distinction… If somebody writes an ICS app, it’s going to run on phones and it’s going to run on tablets… I want an app written for televisions to run on phones…”
Walt then questions him, “There is a difference in the way you can run an app on a smaller screen vs a bigger”:
“Not after ICS, there’s no difference… a developer that develops an app for ICS will run fine on both”
Walt doesn’t back down from the hard hitting questions asking, “How come Android tablets have completely flopped in the market?” Rubin responds:
“Well Walt, I wouldn’t say completely flopped….There’s a little over 6 million Android tablets that we know about…It’s a healthy start….anything, I would say, over a couple hundred thousand pays for itself…but it’s not thirty million.”
When talking about Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the fact it’s version of Android looks nothing like the Google-designed Android UI, he said:
“If Amazon has an App Store, Google would be very happy to put Google search in the Amazon app store… I don’t view this as some kind of walled garden, we spent a lot of time breaking down the walled gardens of the carriers… and that was the notion of openess… the fact that somebody took it [Android] and used it, and is building great products around it, maybe this is going to solve the tablet problem.”
When will Ice Cream Sandwich land on tablets?:
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“We’re going to ship ICS on phones.. couple weeks it’s going to be open source, then it’s up to them”
After Rubin ducks questions about the competition, Mossberg doesn’t presses him for answer, “Maybe you need the translator?” He eventually responds:
“I guess my competitors would be anybody who are in the platform business. Apple builds an operating system. Microsoft builds an operating system.”
Rubin also talked about his thoughts on Apple after the passing of Steve Jobs:
“I don’t think so…The DNA in the people walking the halls at Apple is a very powerful combination of the arts and computer science, and I don’t think that’s changed with Steve’s passing. That combination of creativity and computer science, it’s still there. Apple will certainly miss Steve’s leadership, but now it’s time for the other guys to step up.”