Apple exec Schiller slams Android user experience, fragmentation

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Senior President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller opened fire on archrival Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system, proclaiming "Android is often given as a free replacement for a feature phone, and the experience isn't as good as [Apple's] iPhone" in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Phil Schiller

     Phil Schiller

With Samsung Electronics set to unveil its next flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S IV, later today, Schiller played down expected competition from the device and the open-source Android ecosystem as a whole. He said Android users are often running old OS versions and that fragmentation across the platform is "plain and simple." Schiller also contended that Android devices suffer from manufacturer and operator customization demands, while Apple is solely responsible for its hardware and its iOS software.

"When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with," Schiller said. "They don't work seamlessly together."

While market intelligence firm IDC reports that Android powered 68.8 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide in 2012, far ahead of iOS at 18.8 percent, Schiller disputed the importance of market share data. "I'm not sure that the estimates and the modeling accurately gives an accurate picture of it all," he said, citing a ChangeWave consumer survey indicating that around three-quarters of iPhone owners say they are "very satisfied" with their device, compared to around half of Android users.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment on Schiller's remarks, which follow less than a week after he took a potshot at mounting Android malware threats. Samsung did not respond to a request for comment.

Gartner analyst Van Baker told the WSJ that Apple should view Android with extreme caution, stating Google has made iterative improvements to the platform that have made it a far more viable competitor to iOS than it was in years past. Baker also said features like 3D visuals and customizable skins have kept the Android UI fresh while iOS has maintained a consistent look and feel since the first iPhone shipped in mid-2007.

"There's going to be an incredible amount of pressure on Apple once the Galaxy S IV is out," Baker said. "The Galaxy S III is already a very strong offering, and the S IV will obviously offer more things that appeal to users."

According to various media leaks that have surfaced in recent weeks, the Galaxy S IV will run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the most current version of the OS. The smartphone also is expected to sport a 5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, and it will be powered by either an octo-core or quad-core Samsung Exynos 5 processor clocked at 1.7 GHz, although the U.S. version may use Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 600 chip instead. Insiders add the phone will include a 13-megapixel camera, 2 GB of RAM, and will come in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB variants.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal article

Related articles:
Android tablets to overtake iPad market share this year, IDC forecasts
iOS posts holiday gains while Android, BlackBerry and Microsoft decline
IDC: Android, iOS shatter 90% worldwide smartphone share in Q4
Canalys: Android powers one-third of all phones shipped in Q4
Gartner: Samsung's sales dominance overshadowing Android brand

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