The Gloves Are Officially Off: Google Vs. Apple

At this morning’s I/O keynote Google’s Vic Gundotra unveiled all the neat features of the Android 2.2, Froyo, but the biggest elephant in the room was Apple and the increasing tensions between the two giants. Gundotra enjoyed several jabs at the iPhone maker, making fun of Apple for not supporting Flash, the relatively slow load time of the iPad, and for trying to control the mobile ecosystem. His opening remarks set the tone: Google doesn’t want a future where one man controls mobile. Hmm, whoever could that be?

Google was trying to articulate a clear message: Apple is closed, we are open. Gundotra must have said the word “open” at least a dozen times. This theme reemerged several times throughout the keynote, at one point, Gundotra turned to the audience and simply said: “It turns out, on the internet, people use Flash….Part of being open means you’re inclusive rather than exclusive.”

Gundotra also used his address as an opportunity to refute previous comments from Steve Jobs, most pointedly, Jobs’ recent claim that: “on a mobile device search hasn’t happened. Search is not where it’s at, people are not searching on a mobile device like they do on the desktop.” Not so, according to Gundotra, he announces that Google has seen a 5x growth in search in the past two years — across all smart phones. “People love Google search,” Gundotra says.

Of course, the iPad and the new iPhone operating system were not safe from Gundotra’s fire. During several demos, Gundotra put the iPad’s speed to the test by matching it against the Android 2.2. Surprise, surprise, the Android 2.2 consistently outperformed, often by a significant degree. Gundotra showed an iPad running Nickelodeon, which hung on an orange screen, while the Android 2.2 powered device zipped through. He says he showed his daughter the iPad with Nickelodeon, and when she saw the blank orange screen, “She said daddy can I play with your Android.”

Google also showcased its new cloud/messaging API, which will let a developer send a message to trigger an Android intent. “This is not a push notification API designed to compensate for a lack of functionality like multitasking in the OS,” Gundotra said with a slight smile. Oh, snap.

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