Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, gave the keynote address at Mobile World Congress today, and we're sure you want to hear some of the tasty tidbits he covered. There's plenty in here for all Android fans. Plus we've got video of the whole thing at the bottom so you can see and hear for yourself.
Let's start with this one: there are now 350,000 new Android device activations per day. This is a platform that's definitely got some staying power! Another way to think of that number is (brace yourself) ten million new activations a month. Some more support for Android growth: 170 compatible devices built by 27 OEMs via 169 mobile carriers in 69 countries!
Obviously these number is continuing to grow, as it wasn't that long ago that activations surpassed 200,000 a day. Furthermore, Schmidt expects the Android OS to surpass Nokia's Symbian in 2014. Symbian is the top mobile OS in the world, but obviously not for much longer, especially with the news that the Finnish firm will be building Windows Phone 7 devices in the future. In fact, I'm wondering if 2014 isn't an aggressive enough prediction, especially since he called Android "the fastest-growing mobile platform in the world." Not that we'd disagree with that! Well, Nokia chose Microsoft over Android, but Schmidt says the invitation is still open!
Speaking of predictions that may not be optimistic enough, how's this one? Last year Schmidt suggested that mobile devices would overtake personal computers in two years. Well, he admitted he missed that call: mobile devices already outsell PCs!
While Apple's iOS changed the expectations for mobile devices, Android had been in the works since 2007 and released since 2008. Now OEMs can see what Android can do for them, for their bottom line, and for their customers.
Meanwhile, Schmidt covered the explosive growth of Android use, especially after the Motorola DROID was introduced. And there are now 150,000 Android apps, which is a figure that has tripled in nine months.
Looking to the future, Schmidt is high on the cloud, cloud computing that is. He wants to know why your phone can't do more cloud actions yet, because soon it will. And going on some more "soon you will" suggestions, how about Google Autonomous Search, even better than Instant Search? It figures out what you might be looking for, like based on where you're walking.
A new app, Movie Studio, was demoed on the Motorola XOOM tablet. Sounds way cool: edit, mix and mashup videos, crop, effects... and on Android! When can I play with that?
The numbers for the Chrome browser and YouTube are impressive as well, although I'd like to know his vision for Chrome's relationship to Android. With 120 million users, Chrome has a fanbase. Will it merge with Android or keep its distinctive OS-in-your-browser character? He was specifically asked about this later in Q&A, whether Android was moving to computers, and he said, yes, it's called Chrome and everything is in the Cloud. Meanwhile YouTube has 2 billion views a day and its revenue doubled in 2010. Every minute, 35 more hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.
His vision for the overall future? Information for all, not just the elites. New technology helps you remember things and not get lost, what else will it ensure you have? NFC will make payments a lot easier and more convenient. He alluded to Google's self-driving automobile project but admits that being driven home is decades off.
During Q&A, he addressed the fragmentation issue. Schmidt states that it should only take two months to update a new release of Android, but that assumes the manufacturer and carrier are conforming to Google's standards. They ought to so they can get Android Market on the device. He didn't express the challenge to manufacturers of differentiating their devices from their competitors when they're all using the same OS. But if it only should take two months, why are we still seeing devices with Eclair (Android 2.1) or even DONUT (1.6) out there? Not all of them are incapable of running Gingerbread (2.3, and soon to be 2.4)! And if it should only take two months, why hasn't the Nexus One been updated to Gingerbread yet (officially, anyway)?
Asked about HTML 5, he replied, ""HTML 5 is the way almost all applications will be built, including for phones." Um, what about Android? He didn't elaborate.
He was also asked about getting Android and Google's other platforms into education institutions, but he admitted they don't have a "killer educational app." Without mentioning the A-fruit, he alluded to "incumbencies" being a problem.
Of course, you can watch the one hour and nine minute keynote right here, because I couldn't possibly cover everything. Let us know in comments what you found that's worth discussing!