Apple CEO Steve Jobs may not have loved the recent iSuppli report predicting that shipments of Android handsets will surpass Apple iOS handsets by 2012. However, for Eric Schmidt, CEO of Android-maker Google, business is booming no matter which operating system leads.
Speaking with a group of journalists Aug. 4, following a tech conference in Lake Tahoe, Calif., Schmidt shared the incredible success that Google is enjoying with Android, while emphasizing the unevenness of comparing the offerings of a hardware maker against those of a software company.
To begin, Schmidt said 200,000 Android-running smartphones are now being activated each day-a phenomenal figure, considering that at a shareholders meeting May 13, Schmidt impressed by announcing that the figure had grown to 65,000 Android-running units per day, up from 60,000 less than a month earlier.
Partly accounting for the more than threefold growth is Droid X, "which is the one we announced three weeks ago. It's so popular now, it's sold out ... Samsung also just announced a phone called the Galaxy, which is now delivering on all four networks in the U.S. ... And there are many, many more hardware partners coming," Schmidt said, in a video clip of the meeting posted by TechCrunch. "So it looks like Android is not just phenomenal but incredibly phenomenal-God knows how long that will continue."
Schmidt went on to say Google could not be happier about the success of Android, as the majority of the money Google makes today is based on advertising. Each time someone uses Android's powerful browser to search the Web and clicks on an ad, Google gets paid. The clincher? The same goes for iPhone searches.
"I should also say, we love the success of the iPhone, because the iPhone also uses Google Search, and we get a good chunk of that revenue when people search on the iPhone," Schmidt said.
So it's worthwhile to create a cool operating system, just so that people will eventually perform searches? "Trust me that revenue is large enough to pay for all of the Android activities and a whole bunch more," Schmidt told the group.
Worldwide, Nokia smartphones-and, so, the Symbian OS-still dominate, followed by BlackBerry handsets from Research In Motion and, in third place, Apple's iPhones and iOS. Nonetheless, these three are feeling the pressure of Android, which is giving a major boost to new and lesser-established players.
According to an Aug. 5 report from IDC, four of the top-10-shipping smartphone makers during the second quarter of 2010, each predominantly selling Android-running handsets, saw growth rates that exceeded 100 percent.
In the U.S. smartphone market, too, Android has made its presence felt, and during the quarter enjoyed a whopping 886 percent growth.
Schmidt later told the assembled journalists-shying from a direct question regarding revenues-"Let me remind you that Android is free, and free is always a good starting point."