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Google claims 'non-existent' Android beats everything but the Jesus Phone

'And maybe the Jesus Phone too'

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'We're better than Microsoft too'

In this case, when Google says "open," it appears that the company actually means it. Once the first Android handset arrives, Google says, it will release the source code to world+dog. "When I or most people at Google think about 'open,' we think about source code," Miner told the eComm crowd here in Mountain View. "If something is broken, you open up the source code, and you go and fix it."

In other words, Android's openness not only trumps Apple; it trumps Microsoft too. "When I was at Orange, we launched the first Windows Mobile phone. And I was impressed with that phone, or at least the promise of it," Miner said. "But we wanted to do a push to talk service, a very simple service. So you could push a button and speak. And then we found a bug in Windows Mobile, in a documented API.

"We didn't have the source code. The manufacturer who built the phone for us didn't have the source code. So we went to Microsoft. And Microsoft took about 18 months to fix this problem in a documented API."

Google taking a swipe at Microsoft is barely worth repeating. But when asked if Google would have any objections to developers making changes to its stack, Miner said "No."

"How willing are you let people actually modify the architecture?" the questioner asked. "What happens when people get their hands dirty and maybe disagree with you on how you put it together?"

"Once we open source this, it will be like any open source project," Miner answered. "You'll start to shift from initial implementation to a process driven by the community, starting to steer the functionality."

"Just look at how Apple manages the WebKit development progress. If a 17-year-old hacker proves he's competent in driving WebKit modifications and improvements, he's allowed to contribute to the WebKit system. Webkit is one of the model examples for Android."

So, does Miner approve of Apple or not? Let's just say he thinks the two companies are alike in some ways and different in others. "Ultimately, Steve Jobs just has a different goal than we do. Apple will ship iPhones to people who want that particular experience. Meanwhile, Android will be 12-key feature phones, as well as high-end smart phones, slide-out qwerty keyboard phones, and more. There will be a much larger variety of Android phones in the the long run."

And with uber-openness, he believes, Android can make up for lost time. "750,000 have downloaded the Android SDK. Even if just one per cent of the people who downloaded the thing are building apps, that’s 7,000 to 10,000 people who are actively building applications for our platform.

"That's because it's open. I don’t think you’d have developers developing for a non-existent phone - a phone that hasn’t been released [Nice try, Rich -Ed.]– if they didn’t believe that this openness would allow them to get their applications distributed."

Well, that's one argument. ®

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