Nokia boss - “Apple created Android”

“Apple created Android”? You heard that right. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop claimed that Apple’s iPhone was the catalyst for the creation of Google’s Android mobile OS, in a speech at the Open Mobile Summit 2011 in London today – before going on to question just how open the smartphone software really is.

We’re live from the Open Mobile Summit 2011 in London, where Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was on hand to deliver a keynote, entitled “Thinking big: Creating a truly global mobile ecosystem”.

Elop didn’t deliver any shock surprises, but did take the time to outline how he saw the rise of iOS on iPhone and Android as the two dominant smartphone platforms and “eco-systems”.

Elop says that the first “disruption” in mobile came in 2007, “when Apple introduced the iPhone.”

“Apple introduced a high watermark that said, ‘this is what users expect’”, he told a gathering of mobile industry executives, analysts and journalists.

“Apple did this in a uniquely Apple way…(with) a very focused, walled environment,” he argued, before dropping the counterintuitive statement, “I would therefore argue Apple created Android.”

Contentious. Android was of course in development for years before the debut of the iPhone – Danger founder Andy Rubin joined Google in 2005, when it bought out his fledgling Android start-up.

But Elop went on to illustrate his argument with a slide (pictured), showing Apple in a closed box, and Google in an open box, with flaps at an angle. Elop speculated that Google has yet to settle on just how “open” it really wants to be.

“There are still flaps…how open those flaps will be, it is quite clear Google is still to decide,” he said, later stating that the proprietary Google apps and technologies on top of the core (Such as Gmail and Android Market) make it far less open-source than advocates suggest. What may prompt Google to close the flaps, he said, was “fragmentation”. Most Android smartphone manufacturers create their own custom software overlay on top of the OS, and last week, HTC announced plans to encourage developers to create apps specific to HTC Android phones.

“The fundamental concern about the fragmentation that’s already creeping into the Android operating system…for developers that’s a fundamental challenge,” Elop said.

In February, Elop made headlines when he announced a partnership with Microsoft to ship Nokia smartphones loaded with Windows Phone – a huge break from the company’s previous commitment to using in-house operating systems such as Symbian.

The first Nokia Windows Phone will go on sale later this year, running the Windows Phone 7.1 “Mango” update.

Out TBC | £TBC | Nokia

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