Have you heard of Andy Rubin?

Have you heard of Andy Rubin? That’s OK, most people haven’t.

Andy’s little brain-child, Android, has gone from an idea few years ago to now accounting for 72% of the over 200 million smart phone global smartphones sold in the last quarter, compared to just 12% for Apple. Android phones are now outselling Apple 5 to 1, with 1.3 million new Android activitations EVERY DAY.

Who is Andy Rubin? He was an engineer at Apple in the early 1990s with Apple’s ‘General Magic’ team, designing the first mobile software platform. He left to create his own operating system and PDA called ‘Sidekick’ – before the ipod was launched. It failed, and by 2003 Andy was back at the drawing board.

Fast forward to 2005, and a meeting between Andy and Google’s Larry Page. Did Larry want to endorse Andy’s new mobile operating system Android? (Named after a robot sidekick). Larry did one better, buying over the entire team, including Andy for somewhere around $50 million, as a way to compete in the new smartphone market. At that point, there was still not a single smartphone using Android. It was simply $50m to buy the invention and the inventor.

Andy got to work at Google though he left the company in 2014.

Today, phones using Android are growing at 92% per year compared to the market at 46%. The growth in China Android is even greater (where Android is on 90% of the smartphones sold) at 2.6x that – and China will have 100 million smartphones by the end of 2017: Double the US market.

In the 1980s, Apple fell from total dominance of the PC market to just 4% of the market as Microsoft Windows took over from the Mac operating system. The same is happening now with Google against Apple on a whole number of fronts and Google is also innovating much faster than Apple on everything from mobile payments to voice recognition.

What is Andy’s view on all of this? He prides the openness on Android but, being more of a techie he prefers to let his coding speak for itself.

In 2010 Steve Jobs criticized Android in an open letter, writing ‘”Google loves to characterize Android as open and iPhone as closed. We see this as disingenuous and clouding the difference.’

Andy replied by setting up a Twitter account with his first post being his definition of open – The commands to download all Android’s source code:

@Arubin: the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/ platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”

Win for the robot.


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