Dec. 29, 2010 at 3:11 PM ET
Users of Android phones might feel like unleashing some "Angry Birds" on Peter Vesterbacka, the Finnish head of business development in North America for Rovio Mobile, which makes the popular game.
While there's a free version of "Angry Birds" for Android users available, a 99-cent version for the iPhone is a huge success (Apple recently said Angry Birds was the best-selling iPhone app of 2010). And the iPhone will continue to be "the No. 1 platform for a long time from a developer perspective."
Why? Apple has "gotten so many things right. And they know what they are doing and they call the shots."
Android, too, is growing, he said, "But it's also growing complexity at the same time."
While there are many devices and carriers that use Android, "device fragmentation (is) not the issue," Vesterbacka said, "but rather the fragmentation of the ecosystem. So many different shops, so many different models. The carriers messing with the experience again. Open but not really open, a very Google-centric ecosystem. And paid content just doesn’t work on Android."
Vesterbacka's remarks were made in a Q&A with Tech N’ Marketing, and reflect some other recent concerns about multiple carriers, handsets and how Android is deployed on them.
In November, "one of Netflix's product managers confirmed what many have suspected for a long time: Android isn't secure enough for the movie studios," reported msnbc.com's own Wilson Rothman. "Instead, Netflix will work directly with individual hardware makers to build Netflix apps for certain devices, a move that would rupture the already shaky notion that Android is a single platform."
The "real message," Rothman wrote, is that "anyone looking at an Android tablet or phone should take into account: Because of the way Android is set up, its handsets will be increasingly fragmented, in a way that won't happen with Apple's iOS or Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, or even RIM's BlackBerry, for that matter."
In the one year since "Angry Birds" has been out, Rovio has earned more than $8 million in revenue from the paid iPhone app, and the free Android version is expected to earn "$1 million a month in advertising revenue by the end of the year, Rovio says," according to a recent story in the New York Times.
Asked why Rovio decided to make the Android version free, and whether that would change, Vesterbacka told Tech N' Marketing that "Free is the way to go with Android. Nobody has been successful selling content on Android. We will offer a way to remove the ads by paying for the app, but we don’t expect that to be a huge revenue stream."
And in response to a question about the difficulties of developing for Android, he said that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is "absolutely right when he says that there are more challenges for developers when working with Android. But that’s fine, developers will figure out how to work any given ecosystem."
Still, he said: "Nobody else will be able to build what Apple has built, there just isn’t that kind of market power out there ... That doesn’t mean that model is superior, it’s just important to understand that Apple is Apple and Google is Google. Different. And developers need to understand that. Different business models for different ecosystems."