Google's Schmidt, Rubin Tout Android at MWC
850K and Counting
That's the number of Android devices that have been activated, according to Rubin, who played up that stat and others in a Feb. 27 blog post. Next up: 1 million daily activations, which we expect to see by April. This Android train has momentum.
The Android Market boasts 450,000 apps today, gaining ground on Apple's App Store, which has more than 550,000 programs available. Google built special app pods into the Android stand you see above to demonstrate apps such as Android Beam. This app lets users share content by tapping two Android phones together. Now, if only there were enough Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, phones in consumers' hands to make this app viable.
We mentioned the Android train has serious momentum, that is, when we're talking purely about smartphones. Rubin acknowledged that there have been only 12 million Android tablets sold to date, compared with 300 million Android handsets. Many of these tablets were Amazon Kindle Fires, which launched last November.
Samsung, Where Are Thou?
Rubin also mentioned that Samsung's Galaxy Tab has done well. Really? Not according to one executive who told CNet: "Honestly, we're not doing very well in the tablet market."
Nonetheless, Rubin vowed Google would "double down" on Android tablets this year. Well, Google doesn't make the tablets. It relies on OEMs such as Samsung, Motorola Mobility and HTC for that. We think he is talking about the long-rumored Nexus tablet.
Eric Schmidt provided a keynote at MWC on Feb. 28, where he talked about forward-looking technology issues, such as the "digital caste system." Of course, he also prefaced that chat by touting Android.
Chrome for Android
Specifically, Schmidt called upon Hugo Barra, product management director for Android, to demonstrate the Chrome for Android browser beta.
Schmidt Waxes Philosophical
Noting that things that appeared in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" sci-fi books have come true--voice recognition, ebooks--Schmidt said this sort of far-flung stuff will eventually include holograms, virtual reality and self-driving cars. There will soon be Jetsons'-style reality where robots attended conferences and concerts in our stead, using a 3D screen and a remote control. Users will stay at home to control both experiences.
Smartphones for Sale
Schmidt also touched on an issue that may have Android OEMs shrinking in fear: Smartphones will drop to under $100. This is already happening from ZTE and Huawei in China.
Schmidt on Regulation
Schmidt, who withstood the congressional grilling over Google's search business last September, acknowledged there are a lot of regulations he doesn't like. He suggests users regulate outcomes instead of technologies.