updated 04:15 pm EDT, Wed October 19, 2011
Says Android tablets off to 'healthy' start
Google's mobile VP, Andy Rubin, made a number of Apple-related comments at today's AsiaD conference, All Things Digital reports. "I don't believe that your phone should be an assistant," he said regarding Siri, the voice command system so far limited to the iPhone 4S. "Your phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn't be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone." He did not, however, dismiss Siri entirely.
"To some degree it is natural for you to talk to your phone," he continued. "We'll see how pervasive it gets." Rubin added that one of the co-founders of Android, Rich Miner, had a cellphone speech company called Wildfire, and that another firm, General Magic, also worked on speech technology. "This isn't a new notion," said Rubin. "In projecting the future, I think Apple did a good job of figuring out when the technology was ready to be consumer-grade."
Rubin was also positive about Apple regarding its fate after the death of Steve Jobs. "Will Apple lose step with Steve's passing? I don't think so," he said. "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."
The VP did however try to downplay sales of Android tablets, which have dwelled only in the shadows next to those of the Apple iPad. "How come Android tablets have completely flopped in the market?" asked interviewer Walt Mossberg. "Well Walt, I wouldn't say completely flopped," Rubin responded. "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."