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Rubin: craplets are a 'feature' of Android, iPhone is open

updated 10:35 pm EST, Mon December 6, 2010

Google's Rubin touts bloatware as Android positive

Unwanted, preloaded carrier software is an advantage for Android, the company's engineering VP Andy Rubin said Monday night at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference. When asked by Walt Mossberg about Google's refusal to ban "craplets," or apps dictated by the carrier and often unremovable, Rubin considered their presence a plus. He attacked those providing a consistent, clean experience, saying Windows Phone 7 was creating a "commoditized" world with its insistence on a familiar interface where Android's variety and mandatory carrier software were pluses, even if they created inconsistency.

"That's the nature of open," Rubin said. "That's actually a feature of Android."

He argued that the popularity of Android was tacit approval of its decision to allow this software, saying that strong sales were votes for its policies. It's not certain how long this would last, as the growth rate has been slowing in the past few months.

The statements more explicitly elaborate on Rubin's earlier defense, where he argued that letting carriers compromise the phones was a positive since it preserved the openness of the platform. Critics have argued that the statement is false since many Android phones now actively prevent users from making modifications. On certain phones, Verizon blocks Google search software to favor Microsoft's Bing, while even the usually stock T-Mobile G2 auto-resets the firmware to prevent modifications and needed extensive hacking to begin supporting custom software controlled by users.

Apple has historically had tighter control over iOS and has practiced the consistency that Rubin has disliked, but it has paradoxically given more choices in some cases, such as multiple default search engines. Rubin unexpectedly called the iPhone "pretty open" since most developers can easily get their apps approved. He also dropped his criticism of consistent interfaces when referring to Apple, considering the strictly controlled interface a plus.

"I think everybody is embracing the iPhone," he said. "Certainly they make great products... robust, solid, good user experiences... a lot of consistency across applications."

Microsoft was given a brief compliment for its "1.0" release, but returned to criticism of the OS and its underlying framework. It still had some original Windows Mobile code and was thus hampered versus Android and iOS, he said, which were started from scratch. Microsoft "didn't have the Internet in mind" with WP7's roots, Rubin added. He suggested that Microsoft could fare better by returning to the same policy that was widely credited with leading Windows Mobile to fail, by letting carriers and phone builders have more control over the interface. He admitted, however, that he wasn't necessarily the best to ask for predictions of success.

"I'm not the predictor of being successful," he said.


By Electronista Staff


  1. bleee

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2002


    This guys drinking way to much coolaid

    "Unwanted, preloaded carrier software is an advantage for Android, the company's engineering VP Andy Rubin said Monday night at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference. When asked about Google's refusal to ban "craplets," or apps dictated by the carrier, Rubin considered it a plus."

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005


    More Like Commode-itized

    Open is closed.
    Closed is open.
    Apple's not open.
    Apple's pretty open.
    Consistency is bad.
    Chaos is a feature.
    Pretty open consistency is OK.
    I think.
    In some cases.
    Like really successful ones.
    I need more coffee.
    And a few more shots.
    Let the stimulants and the depressants fight it out.
    This ought to be fun.
    Get me back to the office.
    I thought of another feature.

  1. cmdahler

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005


    Yadda, yadda

    Rubin is just a shill. Even for a shill, though, that's a pretty strained spin he puts on crapware. He doesn't really have a choice but to spin it that way, though. Just a tool.

    "He argued that the popularity of Android was tacit approval of its decision to allow this software, saying that strong sales were votes for its policies."

    How absurd can someone get? Android is only as popular as it is basically because the iPhone is only availble on AT&T. When the inevitable Verizon iPhone hits the scene, Android sales in the U.S. are going to be completely gutted. It won't demolish the platform, but we'll start to see a more, ahem, Apples to Apples comparison.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. patrix

    Junior Member

    Joined: Sep 2006


    uhm yes craplets ARE a feature... good feature, ab

    I'm in Japan right now and Android here is AWESOME.

    ON my new Lynx 3D built by Sharp, I get:

    oneseg (tv, ie not streaming over the net but the actual TV signal)
    infrared (for transferring pics, email info, etc with other people's phones)
    emoji (for writing cute emails to Japanese girls)
    3D (glasses-free, for some oohs and aaahs at parties - tv, some apps, some games, I can even take pics in 3D...)
    better camera
    NFC compatible with Japan

    So yeah Android is open and all that stuff added by the carrier/manufacturer is a good thing.

    It'S too bad that in the US, the "value-added" stuff is actually hurting the phones (Bing on Verizon Android phones for example), rather than making them appealing to the local market (smartphones weren't popular much in Japan because they lacked the above STANDARD features available on "dumb" phones. Dumb phones that could also browse, email, navigate, view maps, use gps, etc).

    So I'm glad Android is open and that Google isn't restricting too much what carriers and manufacturers can do, otherwise I wouldn't be able to enjoy a good smartphone here with all the apps I'm used to having AS WELL as enjoying the standard Japanese phone features. Now I can have both :)

  1. Joe05

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010



    This man needs medication.

  1. Joe05

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010


    Craplets 2

    I think this man has no idea what to say,the iPhone is
    a success because Apple controls the experience
    and Android has been moving towards an iPhone
    LIke Interface over the last three years.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010



    Craplets are doubleplusungood. Rubin is not Big Brother.

  1. PRoth

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2008



    The kool-aid is strong with this one... Wasn't this guy with Apple once? I think he got a little bent by being so close to Jobs' reality distortion field... hehehehe.

  1. driven

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: May 2001


    Wow (agreed)

    Android is quickly evolving into the new Windows Mobile.

  1. martinX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2008


    Wonderful Tap Dance

    Hehehe, reminds me of Billy Flynn's (Richard Gere) tap dancing scene in "Chicago".

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