Picture this: Apple as a punching bag, or as Apple as a Google's whipping boy. It sounds link an unlikely role for the Cupertino titan of tech, but it fit like a glove yesterday during Google's IO Conference in San Francisco.
Google's Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra pulled no punches during Day 2 of the conference (conveniently immortalized on YouTube) when in his keynote announcing Android 2.2 (a.k.a. "Froyo").
Some choice nuggets:
"I remember Andy's second point. He said if Google didn't act, we faced a Draconian future, a future where one man, one company, one carrier would be our only choice" - which was greeted by a roar of laughter and applause. (about 02:50 into part 1 below):
Another dig on Apple occurs at about 01:50 into part 2 below when Gundotra talked about Android 2.2's cloud-to-device messaging API: "Let me be clear, this isn't a push notification designed to compensate for the lack of basic functionality like multitasking" (again to roars of laughter from the 4,000 assembled developers):
And let's not forget that Android 2.2 also includes Wi-Fi tethering, as I blogged yesterday (about 04:40 into part 2 above).
And at about 08:00 into part 2 above Gundotra trashes the iPad's performance when it goes head-to-head with Nexus Ones running Froyo (and Eclair).
While not a specific shot at Apple, check out Google's implementation of voice search in Android 2.2 (about 01:00 into part 3 below). Unlike Apple's, it works system-wide and can now decipher relatively complex phrases like "pictures of Barack Obama with the French president and the G8 Summit," "Pictures of the Golden Gate bridge at Sunset," and " Delgato vineyards, Napa." Oh and it's also understands Mandarin and several other languages. Also demonstrated was the ability to work with intentions from voice, for example, speaking "Call Fifth Floor Restaurant" brings up the dialer with the appropriate number.
Probably the most exciting part of the voice recognition demo was the ability to dictate a phrase like "can you help me find the nearest hospital?" into Google translate (a Web app, natch) and have it translate it and read it back in French.
Then he notes Apple's lack of over-the-air (OTA) anything on the iPhone (I've been saying this for years) about 03:00 into part 4. "Why don't you send it over the Internet, over the air." Ouch.
It's pretty hard for any rational person who watches the Day 2 keynote address and/or reads the Android 2.2 platform highlights not to agree that Android is simply a better mobile OS than iPhone OS. But if you've got an argument for iPhone OS, I'd love to hear it in the TalkBack below.
[note: Sorry for all the updates, I munged the YouTube embeds several times and had to do them over.]