Android creator --- Windows Phone 7 is weighed down by old, legacy code

The creator of the Android operating system took aim at Windows Phone 7 yesterday, saying that Microsoft's smartphone operating system is weighed down by old, legacy code. He then added insult to injury, calling it a "1.0 product."

Andy Rubin, creator of Android, and now vice president of engineering at Google in charge of mobile, gave the opening address at the D: Dive Into Mobile event, where he was questioned on stage by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg.

When discussing the advantages he believes Android has over the competition, he cited the newness of the platform, saying, according to the New York Times, "We can adapt and be more agile. It's a clean slate." He then added, "We have the freedom to have no legacy."

And then, according to a running transcript of his interview, he lowered the boom on Windows Phone 7, claiming that it was built on top of old Microsoft CE and Windows Mobile code, and saying:

"You just have this package of stuff that was invented before the Internet. When the architects built that product [Windows CE and Windows Mobile], they didn't have the Internet in mind."

Rubin was being hyperbolic, because the Internet certainly pre-dated Windows mobile code, although he's likely on target saying that Windows CE wasn't built for the Internet.

Rubin then later killed Windows Phone 7 with kindness. Here's a transcript of a Walt Mossberg question, and Rubin's answer:

Walt: Is there anything you do like about Windows Phone 7?

Rubin: It was a big bet. They struck upon that notion of the centerpiece of the main tiles. It's a good 1.0 product. It does look different and it does look unique. It's solid. I'm not the predictor of being successful.

Calling Windows Phone 7 a "good 1.0 product" is a backhanded compliment at best, given the number of years Microsoft has been at work on its mobile operating system.

As for his larger point, that Windows Phone 7 contains significant amounts of old legacy code, there's simply no way for anyone outside Microsoft to know. I've been using Windows Phone 7 for a while now, and I haven't found it to be in any way weighed down by the past. It's certainly an Internet-centric phone, though, particularly in the way it integrates with a variety of Microsoft's cloud services.

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