Steve Jobs says Android not open…and 7” inch tablets useless!


Steve Jobs seems to be too jittery of Android’s fast paced growth – In 2 years since its launch, Android has already surpassed iOS and now set to become the Number one Mobile and Tablet OS in the world. Infact, according to latest news, Android Revenue has Exceeded iPhone Ad Sales as well.

However, the man behind Apple seems to be on bashing spree. During this quarter’s earning call, He said that the Google Android platform was “fragmented”, and not as open as some people made out, while also saying that iPad-style tablet computers with smaller 7in screens would be “dead on arrival”.

Now, I have been using Android for nearly a year and I can safely say that Android is as open as it gets – It infact is a revolution of sorts, which allows developers to access literally every part of its Mobile Operating System. I am not sure any other mainstream mobile OSes can offer that kind of root privileges, even if they are are hacked to the core.

I do not deny the fact that Android is fragmented, but there is a reason – Literally every Mobile hardware manufacturer is clamouring to get Android on their handsets and why not – They are selling like hot cakes! Just to give you an idea about number of handsets and flavours that Android O.S comes in, take a look at this Tweetdeck beta test results.

Android Fragmentation based on Phones

(click on picture to enlarge)


Even with such kind of fragmentation, Android has matured faster than one could imagine. Let me give you an example – I have Samsung Spica which came with Android 1.6, I upgraded my Android version to 2.1 before it was officially available, through internet forums. I had expected quite a lot of issues with apps being not compatible and all that – But not once have I faced any issues with any of apps except for a rare “force close”!

Now, coming back to 2nd point that Steve Jobs made – 7” inch tablets are useless..

Here is what he said

One naturally thinks that a 7in screen would offer 70 per cent of the benefits of a 10in screen. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. The screen measurements are diagonal, so that a 7in screen is only 45 per cent as large as the iPad’s screen.

“This size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps, in our opinion.”

He said that smaller tablets should come with sandpaper,

“so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one-quarter their present size” in order to make the device usable.

“The 7in tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone, and too small to compete with an iPad,”

I have handled iPad only for 15 – 20 minutes and trust me, it is one heavy gadget to lug around. Even after 15 mins of use, I started noticing slight strain in my hand. There is no doubt that iPad is a great tablet, but it is not as portable as one might think.

Preferred Tablet Screen Size


Infact, I think 7” tablets are a perfect fit – Again, this is my personal opinion. The typing is easy and apps look great on the screen and the most important aspect is that you can literally hold a 7” tablet in one hand and not feel any strain at all while carrying out your tasks on the tablet. I am not alone in thinking this..close to 50% people feel the same way!

So, what your opinion? Is Steve Jobs getting too jittery with Android Success ?

  1. Praveen says

    The essence of a tablet is being able to hold with one hand while working on it with the other. The ipad does it fantastically, the Galaxy Tab does it even better, more portable & there is no such usage issues as Steve says, the man talks too much – why doesn’t he let his products do the talking for once.

    I see Apple & its customers acting like religious people for most of the time. Evangelizing, bad mouthing, whereas Android & its users (companies & end customers) simply taking things to a whole new level in such a short time.

    The issue with Apple is, they do something very simple, but brilliantly, although the essence is totally lost – come on, which iPod really stands against the sound quality of Creative Zens & Cowon iAudios?

    Which iPhone really does the multitude of tasks like the latest Android offering ? – None. But for Apple’s credit, their products brilliantly do whatever limited stuff they do, no question about that.

    However, they just do not advance at all from their first stance, whereas Android & others are looking at whole new levels of 3D phones & dual cores & Quad cores.

  2. Mithun says

    well said… the openness of android or the availablility of the latest build of the android is dependant on the hardware providers. The hardware providers always test the complete compatibility of the build before it is released for the OTA upgrade or downloadable.

    If you want immediate builds… well, get a nexus. at least I got one within 15 days od release :) ! Now it runs the latest build of android including the SMS fix as below:

  3. Sachin says

    Here is a link to back my comments…Xperia has been in the market for quite sometime and so has been Android frovo 2.2 but after months of agonizing wait all you get to upgrade to is to version 2.1 and that too will take sometime.

  4. Rajnikant Joshi says


    Openness does not mean to get access of every single line of source code. even though in Open source world, you can see many variant of even GNU licence.

    here context of openness is to allowing many cool thing beyond you imagination,

    see this news, felt you like a geeky, at least it felt to me…
    you never think to do such thing with average technical knowledge, unless your iOS superman.

  5. Sachin says

    I do tend to agree with Steve Jobs that Android is not as open as it claims to be. Latest version of Android is 2.2 but still you find handsets being launched with 1.6, 2 or 2.1 but not 2.2. As a user I cannot upgrade my OS with the ease that an iphone user can because a lot will depend on the handset that I use.
    The touch feature of different handsets with Android OS will not function the same way as an iphone. Some may work well..some may not work that well again it depends on the handset. Only thing common to all handsets with android os is the access to the 70000 odd android app.

  6. Devavrata Sharma says

    I think now Apple Owner who has started a revolution in mobile industry with iPhone is getting nightmares. The Strategy was very intresting Google had already got much popularity with its innovative application coming on web day by day. So it has already captured the market of google apps around the internet. Now intresting point is lots of apps from google were already there when android came. The no. of apps in Android market today is more than 70,000. which is just at second no. as comapre to apple store. I hope soon Android will become no. one in terms of applications.

  7. Sude says

    How can you call Android open when the developer community outside Google cannot contribute to upcoming versions of it until it is released. If you claim you are open then open it completely to everyone and allow forks in development like webkit or linux.

  8. Rajnikant Joshi says

    Maybe, he is right, as bigger screen size having its own advantages, but it is matter of perspective. If any tablet/gadget intend to replace mobile device then it would always be fine in other case if it is intend to replace laptop then bigger screen is always add more values. At the end consumer is the biggest judge.

    More effective point I have noticed from that (Mr Jobs) communication is, Fragmentation and Integration. Android is a Fragmented and iOS is Integrated platform. Android is an open device, open for consumers, operators (telcos) and more open for OEM’s. That openness is its biggest strength (that is the only reason it can surpass iOS) and I would say biggest risk factor as well. It will become open for the people who might not best/better in hardware manufacturing. Second biggest thing in that direction is, day by day more and more layers of fragmentation is being added, developers are trying to support maximum devices by writing a generic apps. At the end that it will compromise with user experience and good chance to spoil Android’s image. Even as an Android freak I accept that reality. Steve Jobs has hit the right target, one of the biggest limitations of Android platform.
    Though there is a risk, there is space for innovation, initial versions of Android came up with very good UI model and concept like Gravity, DIP like concepts in its UI model, which will helps developers to write generic applications that can support multiple screens resolution and different hardware platforms. Real problem I could see is, the way Android is growing from phone, to tablet, and to TV etc… it will not sufficient.
    Here is good scope of improvement and innovation they have and I know Google can do it.

  9. Manju says

    If android & 7inch tablets are giving nightmares to jobs, then the threat is serious & imminent. I too own HTC Desire for an year. Its just awesome.

  10. Amit says

    I own andriod and ios both. I’ve HTC Desire phone on andriod and an ipad.
    I do not agree with Steve’s Android comment but I do agree with 7″ tablets being not as comfortable as 9.5″ ipad.
    I won’t be comfortable with 7″ screen but then again it’s my personal opinion.

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