Sprint's Android lead retracts critical comments

The company's product manager for Android devices asked an enthusiast site to pull an interview in which he said Google needs to work better with the mobile industry

A member of the Sprint Nextel team that is dealing with Google over the implementation of its nascent Android mobile operating system has withdrawn comments he made to an Android enthusiast site.

Jake Orion, the US operator's product manager for Android mobile devices, had conducted an interview with the AndroidGuys website. In the interview, he criticised Google for not addressing "industry fundamentals more pragmatically". After the interview was published on Monday, Orion got the website to pull the article. However, the piece is still accessible via Google cache.

"We were asked by Jake to remove the article as it was published," the page that held the article now reads. "We complied with his request as we are not the type of people to put others into sticky situations over a tech blog. Jake advised that he would work with us down the road but, as of right now, the original article has been retracted. We hope you guys understand and appreciate our compliance."

In the pulled article, Orion said Google would need to change its attitude to operators' needs. "Google's confidence, vision and self-assurance are refreshing and innovative but, to be effective in this space, Google will have to appreciate and address industry fundamentals more pragmatically," he said.

"Needs includes a more proactive and direct linkage to the carrier's network and service requirements," Orion said. "Also, a more stable development and testability process, particularly during the time-critical carrier test and debug phase. In summary, making quality handsets requires more than just engineering prowess. Solutions need to astutely incorporate the market dependencies and the associated operational processes. If Google learns this and stays committed to the business, Android is in the running to be the majority player."

Orion also conceded that Android code was currently "nascent and thin in relative capabilities", making it difficult to compare it to rival mobile platforms such as those provided by the LiMo Foundation and Nokia's Series 60. He also said Android was not "providing unknown magic other [operating systems] are quantum leaps behind on".

Also this week, reports emerged that Google was keeping the latest version of the Android software-development kit (SDK) from the majority of Android-focused developers, issuing it only to a select group of 50 developers who have signed non-disclosure agreements.

According to Ars Technica, a Google employee accidentally sent an email to a wide Android developer mailing list notifying recipients of the new SDK version, when the email was only meant to be sent to the finalists in the Android Developer Challenge, a competition set up by Google to encourage developers to create applications for the platform.

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