Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

Summary: Speaking at the LeWeb conference in Paris, Google's Eric Schmidt says his company's phones are better based on price, vendors, and Ice Cream Sandwich.

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Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt speaking at the LeWeb conference.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

PARIS--In the fight between the two smartphone heavyweights, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was blunt today about who he thinks is winning.

"Android is ahead of the iPhone now," Schmidt declared to an audience of techies and aspiring entrepreneurs at the LeWeb conference here.

He made his statement to a room bursting at the seams with iPhones, iPads, and Macs, and the audience met his words with a moment of silence that implied some skepticism. So Schmidt elaborated on how he was measuring: "unit volume, Ice Cream Sandwich, the price is lower, there are more vendors."

Android is indeed a success in the market. But one big weakness compared to iOS was very visible at the conference: becoming the top priority for programmers. Note-taking specialist Evernote today announced a new app called Hello for keeping track of people--for iPhone only so far. And when news reader Flipboard announced its expansion from the iPad to the iPhone, Chief Executive Mike McCue refused to even say whether the company was working on an Android version.

"We've been focused on iPhone," McCue said. And about Android, he said only, "We'll see."

Schmidt thinks the high volume of Android phone shipments will win out, though, aided by the release of Ice Cream Sandwich, aka Android 4.0.

"Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking. There are so many manufacturers working to deliver Android phones globally," Schmidt said. "Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform, and maybe you'll even deliver it first."

One Android-toting audience member said he was frustrated to see iOS apps beating Android versions to market. But in part because of Ice Cream Sandwich, "My prediction is that six omens from now you'll say the opposite."

Success in Android is central to Google's plans. Although it gives the operating system away for free, it serves as a mechanism for the company to get its services into peoples' hands in the hot mobile technology realm. Those services include not just search, but also Gmail, Google Apps, Google+ Google Music, and Google Maps.

"All the interesting new applications are going to be some combination of social, mobile, and local," Schmidt said. And it's not a fad, he said: "Social, local, mobile has been true for humans for at least 10,000 years, so I don't think it's going to go away any time soon."

Ice Cream Sandwich will help Google, in part because it's got deeply integrated features for sharing using many services.

"We started off thinking phones were computers. We forgot that they were about communication," Schmidt said.

Ice Cream Sandwich has just started shipping on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phone, still not available in the United States and many other parts of the world.

About Stephen Shankland
Stephen Shankland writes about a wide range of technology and products, but has a particular focus on browsers and digital photography. He joined CNET News in 1998 and since then also has covered Google, Yahoo, servers, supercomputing, Linux and open-source software and science.

Topics: Hardware, Android, Apple, Google, iPhone, Mobile OS, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos

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63 comments
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  • Yup They Won!

    Yes Google will win and control everything when it comes to mobile but for some reason I am happy with my iPad, iPhone and MAC.... So yes, you will win Google congrats!!!
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

      @Hasam1991 - it is always a game... "king of the hill"... pity the hill is full of what seems to be poison ivy, but whatever...
      HypnoToad72
      • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

        @HypnoToad72

        "ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!"
        Dodgson1832
    • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

      @Hasam1991 Nothing lasts forever. Android is not the panacea the commodity based OEMs are necessesarily hoping for. I think that Android will have large market share but because of fragmentation will never have a stranglehold like MS did on the desktop. It will splinter until different versions only have their heritage in common (what Amazon is doing is testamony to that). I also think Google are putting many developers off because they realise that Google a voracious monopoly like MS and will do whatever it needs to do to maintain growth and profits which means stomping on the little guy to take over revenue streams. Where is the incentive to develop anything other than nick nap apps for Android when if you are lucky enough to strike it big there is every liklihood that Google will prodice their own version and make it a core App for licensing Android.
      global.philosopher
    • iphone was only good for 2G/3G crowd

      @Hasam1991 Apple needs to catch up to android fast....iphone owners have no idea what it feels like to use 4G...they need to be introduced to the 21st century....
      tohho
  • They should work to fix the POS known as Gingerbread.

    Tired of my Droid X randomly rebooting itself, not working well with Bluetooth, and just generally laggy experience. It wasn't this bad before and I even tried a factory reset with no luck.

    Can't wait till the iPhone 5 and I can put the Android experiment behind me.
    itguy10
    • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

      @itguy10 Try a Nexus phone before you completely jump ship.
      simplicity14
      • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

        @simplicity14 <br><br>I may but it looks like Verizon and Google Netuered the Nexus S on Verizon. Leaving Verizon is not an option as I have unlimited data. <br><br>And the iPhone is a known quantity to me. I had a 3G, wife has a 4S. It may not be as "customizable" but it is drop dead reliable and integrates 100% with my Macs at home.

        I'll miss the excellent Google Maps for Android but that's about it.
        itguy10
    • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

      @itguy10

      Sorry you've had a bad experience. I have a Thunderbolt and the only issues I've had with it were related to the HTC mail app. I ditched that in favor of the gmail one and everything is working great.
      Dodgson1832
      • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

        @Dodgson1832 Didnt the reboot issues, broken hotspot issues and the extremely poor battery life bother you?
        global.philosopher
    • Stop Whining

      @itguy10
      If you are that unhappy go buy an iPhone.
      A 4 or 4S.... sorry, the 5 may be out by October 2012..... maybe.

      Till then, I have a Samsung Skyrocket with the big screen and 4G/LTE and.....

      btw: for those who are curious, AT&T LTE is now live in West Los Angeles!!!!
      20mbs down 5mbs up :D
      rhonin
      • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

        @rhonin

        I will, just don't want to pay the $300+ now for an iPhone 4 on the used market.

        I'm sure an LTE iPhone 5 will be here for the summer. If Motorola can get the chipset to work in the Droid RAZR platform I'm sure it will fit in an iPhone.
        itguy10
      • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

        @rhonin I am perplexed with this Internet speed on a mobile. WTF do you do with 5meg up?

        The average user needs just enough speed, after that it means nothing, unless it means faster battery drain.
        JeveSobs
    • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

      @itguy10 - Here is Google's problem.....It was easy to push Android because it was free for the carriers and the carriers pushed it hard. Problem is All (and i do mean all) the people I know (yes its a small sample), are ditching their Android phones for either iOS or Windows Phone 7 because of issues with the OS's stability.

      Things look great for Google/Android now but I think things are going to take a significant turn in-terms of the general publics willingness to put-up with Android's shortcomings.
      NPGMBR
  • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

    The reason Google is having problems getting developers is simple, the Android OS is still severely fragmented. For example, Netflix still doesn't run on all devices because it is simply not feasible.
    joshdcohen@...
    • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

      @joshdcohen@... Yes. Netflix does run on all devices. For a couple of months now.
      NedVargar
      • Every Android device has been updated to V 2.2 at least?

        @NedVargar

        Serious question.
        Bruizer
    • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

      @joshdcohen@... Well yeah, what you said AND that, for whatever reason, Android users don't buy a lot of apps.
      jeremychappell
      • Maybe somewhat true.....

        @jeremychappell
        Then again, I have to buy extra apps for my iPad to get the same functionality / experience I get on my Transformer.....

        Then again, for what I see as apps I definitely use and enjoy, they are pretty much available on both platforms.

        :)
        rhonin
      • RE: Google's Schmidt claims Android is beating iPhone

        @rhonin Which Apps are you talking about? There are more free Apps on iOS and more Paid Apps on iOS so which ones are you talking about?
        global.philosopher