Google's Andy Rubin On Android, the Motorola Cliq and App Dev

Illustration for article titled Google's Andy Rubin On Android, the Motorola Cliq and App Dev

Google's VP of Mobile Platforms, Andy Rubin, just told me some interesting things about the Motorola Cliq and how it relates to Android as a whole. The most interesting? Google wants some of those social features in the OS.

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I asked Andy about the Cliq, and whether its heavy-emphasis on social networking would make its way into the core Android OS. He said yes, that Google likes the idea of say, Facebook or Twitter being a part of the core functionality rather than having to open a separate app to get to where you want to be.

Andy also said that there wasn't a huge differentiation between in-house and third-party when it's an open source, open platform effort like Android, so he wasn't sure who would be the team that would make something like Facebook integration happen—be it Google or Facebook.

Also interesting is his views on the Cliq as a whole. He said that he considers this something he would be happy launching as a 1.0 product—the point being that the bugs were worked out, and the extras like the social networking were there. The original Android launch, he says, was more like a 0.8 release.

The bit that's interesting to Android developers is that Rubin doesn't consider the Marketplace done, as in, they're still working on optimizing and making the experience better for both the consumer and the app maker. One of the complaints that paid apps had was that they didn't sell as much as say, a paid app on the iPhone App Store. Andy said they've been working gradually and iteratively, first separating paid apps from free apps, and then working on improving visibility of the apps themselves. So it's something they're aware of, and the fact that the "best" selling apps are only doing somewhere along the lines of 1000s of sales isn't going ignored among the Android people.

As for future Android OS development, Andy claims that you can expect more of the type of things Motorola has done, that is, replacing some of the core apps and core functionality the default Android offers with customized ones like the Cliq's social network streaming and integration.

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DISCUSSION

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Interesting insights. Most notably, though, it's actually a pretty sober-minded analysis. As much as I liked Android when it first came out, we all knew it didn't really become a decent contender until Cupcake. And even now, it's still got some issues.

For high-up like him to admit that the original launch was less than perfectly ready is respectable.

I'm curious, though, to see how this trend toward integrating Facebook and Twitter and such goes in the next few years. I mean, what ever happened to MySpace, huh? How long will Facebook stay relevant then? And what happens to code in the Android core OS when folks shift away to Zobadoo or Bleeklow or whatever the heck crazy service they come out with next?