Google's Eric Schmidt: Android is 'more secure than an iPhone'

The search giant's executive chairman defended his company's platform against accusations of fragmentation

Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has described the Android platform as “more secure than an iPhone”.

Speaking at a question and answer session at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, Schmidt’s remarks drew laughter from the audience according to reports from ZDNet.

Schmidt was responding to a question from Garner analyst David Willis who said: "”f you polled many people in this audience they would say Google Android is not their principal platform [...] When you say Android, people say, wait a minute, Android is not secure.”

The chairman’s response was reportedly swift: “Not secure? It's more secure than the iPhone."

Unfortunately, Schmidt’s belief is his company’s platform is not widely shared by security firms and tech analysts.

A report from Finnish security company F-Secure in May this year found that the Android platform is the target of 91.3 per cent of mobile malware, whilst a more recent internal memo from the US Department of Homeland Security put this figure at 79 per cent.

The latter report drew attention to one of the common concerns regarding the Android platform: fragmentation. Not all Android users run the most recent version of the software, meaning that even if Google fixes security flaws then these updates will not be used by all users.

Speaking at the Gartner event, Schmidt pre-empted the charge of fragmentation but seemed mainly concerned with how the issue might affect app compatibility, saying: “With Android we have an agreement for vendors that you keep the Android stores compatible and that is a great breakthrough for Android.”

"Android is very secure,” he repeated at the end of the session, with the audience apparently responding with “a hearty chuckle” according to ZDNet. Schmidt was unfazed, and responded by saying: "You will be happier with Gmail, Chrome and Android more than you can possibly imagine.”

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