Head of Android says iOS is like a $100k Mercedes-Benz

Sundar

Tim Cook and Craig Federighi took a few swipes at Android during WWDC’s keynote, but now that Google is readying its hype machine for Google I/O tomorrow, Sundar Pichai, the head of Android, tossed a few jabs Apple’s way in an interview with Bloomberg this morning.

Pichai noted that all the data points to people adopting Android faster than any other operating system, but the dude’s so gosh darn nice, he couldn’t insult Apple without flattering them in the same breath.

Addressing Tim Cook’s comments that Android is a “toxic hell stew of vulnerabilities,” Pichai said it’s difficult to compare the two, because iOS is like the $100,000 Mercedes Benz of mobile platforms, and Android is like your cheap ass Honda Civic, taking over the world one delicious dessert fueled update at a time.

“You have to be careful when you make a $100,000 Mercedes car not to look at the rest of automotive industry and make comments on it. … We serve the entire breadth of the market, globally across all form factors, et cetera.”

Yeah sure, Pichai says he worries about what Apple is doing, but he goes on to explain that the ambitions of Google and Apple are really different. So different, they’re like two different types of governments – they certainly have enough money to buy their own countries.

“I think they [Apple] are building a very good product and it’s vertically integrated, which helps them do certain things faster. I think of it almost … like two types of government. Some [forms of] governments will be able to do things faster because they are opinionated and get things done. Than you can have a noisy, cacophonous, cantankerous democracy, which is often better in the long run. So you have two different worldviews being presented.”

I’m not sure if that implies Apple is a communist German-car maker, while Google dons the stars and stripes and all the porn and malware privileges that come with it, but it looks like Google is sending a message before it’s annual developers that they’re tired of the iOS vs Android comparisons because one’s hell bent on global domination, while the other just wants to make the absolute best products.

  • Derek Schlicker

    I think in this case I’ll goose step to a totalitarian tech company over the messy, ad-driven craptastic tech company in any day of the week.

  • Andrew

    I hate the whole Android vs. iOS war. It’s super annoying. People have their preferences. I prefer iOS over Android because I have used and compared both, and I just prefer the user experience of iOS in general.

  • http://www.csfalcao.com/ Cesar S Falcao

    I think that satisfy all people requirements is impossible, but Android just have a high high market share because of millions of crappy phones, that’s all. Apple is focused, as well Windows too.

    • mahadragon

      I disagree. I think there could one day be a device that satisfies most of the important qualities in a smart phone. Both iOS and Android are converging towards that goal with iOS becoming a more open system and Android becoming more closed off.

      • http://www.csfalcao.com/ Cesar S Falcao

        Great insight, the last sentence describe the last WWDC and Google IO very well. Anyway, comparing you major competitor with a luxury car doesn’t seems to be a smart talk…

    • Emily

      Android is more affordable & many of the phones are built way better than an iPhone, I’ve had both, I currently own a Alcatel 1 touch Idol X (6040), its big 5 inch screen & durability, as well as customizable fonts & overall ease of use, as well as not having to be tied into a carrier plan (phone is $250 no contract in Canada) really suits me, I don’t need a ultra expensive data plan, as theres lots of free wifi in Toronto area.

      • http://www.csfalcao.com/ Cesar S Falcao

        Android is free, so can be suitable for any kind os hardware. The big numbers come from crappy ones sold worldwide.
        I doubt to find better built phones than an iPhone, you can have larger screens, but the iPhone quality hasn’t be beaten.
        Said that, I still don’t like fully the new iOS icons – too flat, simple and colorful, man just look to Safari, Photos and GameCenter icons – arghhh!
        What would be a expensive data plan for you? I envy your free wifi :)

      • Emily

        The most most people can afford who are disabled, is $50, even thats too much for some, my plan is $52 +taxes..
        I have noticed that ANY iPhone plan here in canada is $65+ usually the decent ones are around $100-120 PER MONTH.
        all iPhones in canada, subsidized, require you to get a data enabled contract, its disgusting, but unless you want awful customer service or constantly dropped calls, you have no choice, but to go with one of the ‘big 6′

      • http://www.csfalcao.com/ Cesar S Falcao

        Here in Brazil you need a 4G plan (U$ 100-150/m, starting) AND pay 50%-60% of the price of the IPhone too (iPhone 5S 16Gb full price here is U$1500), no less in “subsidiary”. That’s really disgusting!

  • TomCatMac

    A Honda!? More like a Yugo!

  • http://socialparkmedia.com houstonmacbro

    I am an iOS user, but I have nothing but love for my Android brethren. I mean, use what you like. It would be the same difference with a car. I drive one make and model … why would I tell someone they need to drive the exact same car as me, or why would they expect me to do the same UNLESS it is something we both wanted? #justsayin

    • Lehsyrus

      One of the few people commenting who is not driven by ridiculous ideals that one is better than the other. +1 to you sir.

    • Emily

      I agree with you, most people in the blind community use IOS, because of VO..
      I use an android, as I’m only legally blind, but also hearing impaired & use a power wheelchair, so it fits me.
      (I also love iMac’s, as I’ve been using my current one for almost 3 years)

  • stefnagel

    Only Apple delivers great UX. And the head of Android agrees.

    Google does not deliver the whole hardware-software-services stack. It can’t give two figs what garbage users experience.

    And the added payoff? Google gets to blame someone else somewhere “down the stack” for UX-wrecking hardware, software, and services.

    Listen to Pichai whine about how everybody else makes it so tough on Google. “If only we didn’t have to serve the poor unwashed of the world,” says Mr. Google.

    Cue Stephen Colbert. This Pichai piece has to be a joke.

    Pure hogwash: Google puts Android on crap hardware cus’
    a. it quit designing and deploying great hardware. Just too too hard!
    b. it gets paid for putting ads on junk hardware.

    Result? Most of a billion Android users get junk UX …that’s junk hardware running antique Android OS versions. And then Pichai shamelessly claims that Google is “serving” them. More like “serving them up.”

    Where Google exploits, Apple empowers. Only Apple refuses the easy path. Apple 2.0 has never and never will let others mess up or deliver its UX package [hardware, software, services].

    Only Apple delivers great UX. Today the head of Android agreed.

    • Lehsyrus

      That’s like saying because people choose to shop at Wal-Mart over Whole-Foods, they are completely different markets. If you want all inclusive, yes choose iOS. That’s perfectly fine. But calling Android, which is SOFTWARE, horrible simply because it is able to be installable on multiple different types of hardware and because of its open development is simply ignorant. If every thought this way we wouldn’t even have Apple itself. Where do you think the original idea for a GUI OS came from? That wasn’t developed by Apple first.

      Both OS’s have a specific market. If you want your all inclusive in the box set, that’s perfectly fine. Good for you for finding something that works for you. For me, I personally like being able to have a choice, the ability to have different price comparisons and many different options available to choose from to cater for my specific needs.

      • Guest

        If all you want is crap, gargle Google.

      • Emily

        Thank You for saying what I was thinking, but oh so much better..

        Seriously, 75% of disabled people in canada, live on disability pension, but still want/need a decent phone, so we go with WHAT we CAN afford, not what we dream of & will bankrupt us!

        I love my Android, but I will admit, iPhones are nice, but its all eye candy, some of the Android devices could seriously destroy iPhones on durability & strength of build, ALONE..

        its all about who has the money to throw away & who VALUES their money & spends it wisely.

  • Douglas Wake

    I think a more apt comparison is BMW vs. Ford. The first is an overhyped, overpriced product that’s still used as an industry standard despite the fact that it doesn’t actually fit all use cases as well as other products that is still very well built, but seems to appeal most to self important jerks who have no problem looking down on customers of other products.

    The other is a far less expensive product that has made significant strides to better itself and retool its products into something everyone can enjoy while also imbuing style and fun that may have been absent early on, and which still gets an unfair bad rap for issues it has mostly resolved.

    • Michael Smith

      I get what you’re saying, but have you driven in a BMW? I’m not really a car guy, I just need my vehicle to get me from place to place reliably, but a friend of mine has a BMW and it really is a step above in fit and finish, great styling and drives like a dream. Heck if I wasn’t so practical and I had the money I would be proud to own a BMW.

      • Douglas Wake

        I know they’re very nice driving cars, but so are most of the latest Fords. In fact, even in comparos where Fords don’t finish first they’re considered the most absolute fun to drive compared with other vehicles in their class.

        I’m not knocking the quality of BMW in any way. I’m just saying that for the money you spend, they aren’t necessarily the best fit all the time. I could spend a lot less and be just as happy with a Fusion, and use the extra money for other goodies.

    • Kong Fury

      I stopped reading after your second long-winded sentence. These are the exact generalizations that are the problem. You purport to be educated in what is right and wrong with the industry by proposing an alternative comparison, then turn around and make an obnoxious generalization about BMW owners. How does this make you any different than the BMW owner you assume to know so much about. All you have proven here is that there are equally “obnoxious” non-BMW owners. You have also proven a good argument can be lost in an ocean of generalizations that make you appear less genuine and more defensive. Especially when you have never owned the product in question. Isn’t this where prejudices start? I attempt to associate the few bad with the general many?

      • Douglas Wake

        I apologize, I didn’t mean to generalize BMW owners. If I was generalizing anybody, it would be self important jerks. Find a self important jerk who makes a good amount of money, and more likely than not he has a BMW in his garage and an iPhone in his pocket. Why? Because a self important jerk is all about image, all about what will make him appear affluent. BMWs are associated with affluence and sportiness. It’s not a knock against BMW itself or the rest of its customers, some of whom are very nice people.

        Similarly I’m not knocking Apple or the iPhone by saying self important jerks are drawn to them. However, Apple has successfully built an image wherein owning Apple products means you’re cool and have money. It doesn’t hurt that their products are usually disgustingly overpriced. So if you have a self important jerk choose his phone, he’s gonna go with the Apple logo, even if there are Android choices which will weigh less on his wallet and serve his needs better.

  • http://howieit.com Howie Isaacks

    And Android is the cheap Kia. Calling iOS a $100K Mercedes-Benz compared to Android is a stupid thing to say. Clearly, Apple’s customers want quality over crap. That’s why they buy iPhones and Macs.

    • Emily

      Howie, are you dreaming in Technicolor?

      seriously, I went through 14 iPhones in 6yrs, the durability is CRAP..

      I’ve had the SAME Android phone with absolutely
      0 issues, for 11 months!, the absolute longest I went without issues on a iPhone? 3 MONTHS…

      also my current phone cost me $250, NO data plan needed, NO contract, $50 a month, unlimited LD/UNLIMITED minutes/text/voicemail/call display..

      When I had an iPhone ( I had all these models over the 6 yrs, 3, 3GS, 4, 4S), I spent what my current phone cost, in 4 months, JUST ON REPAIRS!!

      (I’m typing this on a iMac )

  • dd0723

    As much as I… dislike Android, I would never ever call it a Yugo. Some people just prefer one over the other, that’s all. My girlfriend is all about the Android and doesn’t even know how to use an iPhone. I’m heavily vested in the apple ecosystem for my business. I just find that the IOS is more responsive and I have way less issues with my iPhone than my girlfriend does with her Android. 60 days after she bought her note 3 she had to get it replaced because it crapped out on her. She can do on it anything that she wants do to and she’s happy with it.

    So no, is not a Yugo, it’s just a matter of preference with people.

    • crazed_z06

      “Android” doesnt make a phone. If her Note 3 failed, that’s a hardware thing. Hardware fails all the time. Even Apple hardware. I just had to pay 60 bucks to get the battery in my $250 ipod touch fixed.

    • Emily

      Typical with samsung, pay for the name..

      I’ve had my Alcatel one touch idol X for 11 months, ZERO issues.

  • http://www.modernlivingtechnology.com Pedro Gonzalez

    Not relevant to the topic…. But it is very annoying when a WRITER doesn’t know the difference between “then” and “than”

  • digitaldumdum

    Yeahhhhhh, I think I’m gonna hafta go for the Mercedes over the Civic.
    Yeahhhh… the Mercedes.

  • Mohamed Danish

    Google will do only wait watch Apple keynote couple of days after Same they do as Apple

  • http://yucezhe.com Horace

    The comparison is boring and people still keep doing that. Maybe the Android has been improved now but I would not like to go back to Android until the iOS screwed itself. Because I used the Android in 2012 and it made me so upset that I switched to iOS. It is hard for me to pick up the belief again.

    • Michael Smith

      I’m with you on that one, I’ve been burned before and now I see the light. Android is just fine its the phone manufacturers than insist on fragmenting things.

      • mahadragon

        You can’t blame the phone manufacturers for fragmenting things. Companies like HTC and Samsung have to use gimmicky things like Touch whiz and Sense and put in their own softwares to differentiate their product from the other. Otherwise, if everyone ran stock Android, their devices would look the same and only the outside would look different. You wouldn’t want that would you?

      • Michael Smith

        So what you’re saying is essentially the phones are all the same and they need gimmicks to set themselves apart and in doing so they intentionally fragment the market and make it harder for consumers to know what they are getting.
        Devices don’t have to look the same or even give up any of the gimmicks. Just run stock android and pre-install apps for the added features, why add a whole new layer of UI?
        As a business model I get it, they want to lock you down, but from a consumer perspective any advantages of Android openness and customization are lost.

      • mahadragon

        You think anyone really cares about Android openness and customization? Look at Amazon’s tablets and smart phone. They both run forked version of Android that are very far removed from ‘stock’ Android. Nobody is interested in running stock Android, it doesn’t make sense.

        Even Google isn’t interested in running stock Android, they sold Motorola to Lenovo for $2.9 billion, effectively putting them out of the smart phone hardware business.

      • Emily

        I love ‘stripping’ my Androids, down to almost stock, there are some SWEET, loaders out there, that are WAY better than sense or Touch Wiz.

  • CelestialTerrestrial

    And Android is like a $10K Yugo. OK, I get it. One is well made and designed and one isn’t. I guess you just helped me make my decision. I’ll go with Apple.

    Every time this guy opens his mouth, he gives me more reasons to NOT buy a Google based product.

  • Google for life

    isheep
    A follower of the Apple cult regardless of the usefulness or real worth of the product. Believes with without question the cult propaganda which installs the almost mythological belief that what they have just bought is the fastest or most user friendly product ever, only to be re-sold the same product, with a few minor tweaks, a few months later with the same rhetoric and complete disregard for reality. Easily mislead by their own egos and think they are being unique and innovative. Often wrong but convinced they are correct. See definition for extremist, brainwashed fukwits.
    Andy Clarke has SEVEN iPhones!

    What an iSheep.

    • mindbomb2000

      Your post actually made me laugh out loud. You realize you are calling Apple users iSheep and your username is “Google for Life,” right?

      • JeffyTheQuick

        Well played.

  • Lehsyrus

    Whoa now, don’t be calling out the German’s here, they’re more Android’s type. Reliable, dependable, and customizable with the right parts.

    And Apple is comparing (pun intended) Apple’s to Oranges here. Apple is all inclusive, the hardware with the software. People judge Android based on one phone they have when there is a huge selection to choose from. If you want something you can grab and go, whilst knowing it will work exactly the same way, by all means go for iOS and Apple. If you want customization and the ability to test out different model “cars” (if we are to reference the metaphor above) then pick Android. But saying Android is bad simply out of fanboy-ish banter is just pathetic.

    • Emily

      also DO YOUR RESEARCH, BEFORE buying the cutest looking ‘droid phone, I’m a Alcatel lover, Samsung, ECH! had 2 both died quickly, I love Motorola phones, but screens are still glass & smash too easily.

  • JeffyTheQuick

    Sundar,

    Name a Democracy that has lasted over 40 years.

    I think what he meant to say is a “Democratically Elected Republic”

    A Democracy is 3 wolves and 2 sheep deciding what is for dinner, and the longest lasting one was 2500 years ago in Greece.

    I really wish people that make operating systems for widely used devices knew that words mean things.
    MOV A, 2000 is not the same as
    ADD A, 2000 now, is it?

  • JeffyTheQuick

    What is the cost of a $100K iOS 8 vs. cheap Honda Civic, which costs exactly the same:

    $0

    I know that there are Android users that love the multiplicity of their platform, and the expandability of it (trying to get an ODB-II Bluetooth to talk to my iPhone 5 warranted a trip to Evad3rs site), vs. a tight ship where the hardware designer can talk to the software guy and have no NDA’s present between two companies must be fun.

    You want quick, ready to market stuff with a release cycle of 3-5 months? Get an Android.

    You want methodical, vertically integrated hardware and software? Get iOS.

    • PMB01

      I use the Automatic dongle and haven’t had a single issue connecting it to my iPhone 5S. Works absolutely fantastic!

      • JeffyTheQuick

        Do you use it with DashCommand or the Automatic software?

        If it works with DashCommand, I’m all in for it!

      • PMB01

        Automatic. Their software is fantastic! They have an Android app now too!

      • JeffyTheQuick

        Got it… I (edited) meant to ask if the Automatic dongle (OBD Reader) worked with other software, or just the automatic software.

        With an ELM-327 reader and DashCommand, for $35, I saved $300 on a car repair by reading the code and changing the O2 sensor myself.

        I guess, to rephrase myself, I’m asking is this: does the automatic dongle work with any other software, or just the Automatic software?

        Yes – I have used it with other software and it works!
        No – I have tried, but it doesn’t work
        I don’t know – I have never tried, you best ask somewhere else

        Have a great day!

        [edit: I re-read what I wrote and it sounded snarky, and I didn't mean it to be. If you got my original e-mail notification, I'm sorry for it looking that way. I was looking at the Automatic for a while, and I didn't need the driving diagnosis that it provided a year ago. I was just hoping for a dongle that worked Bluetooth with iOS without going to the jailbreak route.]

      • PMB01

        No it doesn’t.

        The Automatic software does read the code and tells you exactly what’s wrong though without having to look up the code. It also gives you mileage and fuel info per trip and has crash detection that will automatically (pun intended) text 3 people you choose if you get in an accident. It gives you feedback (which you can shut off if you choose) as you drive when you do things that are detrimental to your fuel economy. It even remembers where you parked!

        I swear I don’t work for them lol. I just love this little guy.

      • JeffyTheQuick

        Thank you for the clarification. I guess when I looked at the Automatic, it didn’t fit my needs, but now it looks like it does.

        Thank you for your kind response.

  • Rich Smyth

    Android is a fun phone OS with a lot of gimmicks. So it’s kinda more like “The Homer”.

  • JuanGuapo

    Me thinks the author of this article doesn’t know the difference between communism and fascism. If Apple were communist, everyone would get an iPhone.

  • mathewmakio

    I consider that a compliment for Apple.

    I agree…

    iPhone is the Mercedes Benz of smartphones: it’s overpriced but the quality and engineering is the best. It also drives better.

    At the end of the day you want to be the best at something regardless of the price.

    Android has some appeal with customizing and messing around with, but just putting a flagship Android against a flagship iPhone, the iPhone wins every time.

    And Android doesn’t even make phones anyway, it’s just an OS.

    I’m not sure how iOS is like a 100k Mercedes when it’s just software

  • aardman

    The real test is to look at customer satisfaction numbers. How happy are iPhone users with iOS versus no, not you, silly goose, how happy are Google ad buyers with Android? Whatever made you think you’re Google’s customer? You’re their product.

    Furthermore, Pichai says “We serve the entire breadth of the market.” No you don’t. You SERVE UP, the entire breadth of the market — to advertisers. That’s what you do.

  • Farmaan

    Completely twisted what he said but I guess you had to since it’s media culture to twist news to something that would gain more traffic. Kinda sad and pathetic but do what you gotta do.

  • Mathu Sivakumar

    I don’t understand why people are comparing Android to Apple. lol. It’s like comparing Windows to Mac. Apple approaches everything in a very particular matter. I don’t care what people say, Apple is not an innovator; they take market share when the market plateaus and maintain a niche premium market until it happens. What do I mean?

    Example: Windows versus Macs
    Windows machines do not have to be bad; in fact you can get more bang for your buck. But now that the PC industry has plateaued you are noticing that Apple is catching up in market share. Why? Because they maintained their “premium” brand. Even if you can get a higher speced Samsung laptop with almost identical quality.

    I love Apple as a business. They are smart. There is a saying in business, if you discount your product consumers expect that price forever on. Samsung, Acer, Lenovo have cheap laptops and that’s what they are associated with even if they have premium laptops. Apple maintains 1 thing.

    On another note. If you are brand loyal you are a stupid consumer. It is the age of the smart consumer and if you continuously buy products based on “brand loyalty” you are limiting yourself extremely. Think of brand loyalty like Republicans and Democrats. If your state is blue/red always presidential elections don’t bother with you. They focus on swing states. You are a Republican because….you are a Republican? You don’t look at the platforms of each campaign; instead you have assigned yourself a colour even if there is a possibility the other platform is better. So yeah, if you are an Android/Apple fanboy you are stupid.

    • PMB01

      Macs are still nowhere near Windows machines, but I get what you’re saying.

      Brand loyalty is more about the ecosystem. People don’t want to have to pay of their apps again. Especially with Apple, integration is better if you stay in the same ecosystem. I own a MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, Retina iPad Mini, iPhone 5S and Apple TV because they all work well together and I likely won’t ever replace them with a non-Apple product.

  • josephz2va

    Honestly, I don’t compare Android OS to a Honda Civic. Honda Civics work perfectly fine after they are tuned up by street racers using aftermarket parts.

    It’s the software developers put into the Android OS that makes the Honda Civic worse than it is. Outdated and full of bugs damage the engine that drives the Civic. Bloatware added by the manufacturers push the car further down.

    Not saying I love the Android OS here. I’m starting to regret holding onto my Moto X and swapping out in November. The camera sucks, software I installed from the developers is buggy and very out of date compared to today’s version on iOS.

    • Emily

      Moto X, root the bugger, unlock, then start at basics, load WHAT YOU WANT, don’t put up with motorola’s stupidity, if I can do it, being legally blind/learning disabled, than you can do it no problem.

  • Juan Rodriguez

    anyone else find it ironic to make that kind of analogy from a guy who probably drives a $100K Mercedes?

  • VotersRights

    Google is like a person with ADD (not to insult anyone with ADD), but it’s like they get distracted and they abandon everything.

  • http://www.ultratechnology.org DAT #APPLEISLOVEAPPLEISLIFE

    yeah, and android is a crappy kia, POUR THAT TRUTH TEA!!!

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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