Ever since Google announced they were shutting down the Explorer program for Google Glass earlier this year, there has been lots of speculation as to whether the wearable device was dead or not. Many people believe the shuttering of the old beta program was a sign that Google’s experiment had failed. However, others noted that Google had moved it to another part of the company, Tony Faddell’s Nest division, a sign that it would eventually re-emerge, probably with a more consumer-ready focus. Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has now weighed in and made a clear statement that Google is committed to the Glass platform.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt claims Android is not only winning the war for mobile software platforms, it is extending its lead over rival Apple. Citing figures from the third quarter, Schmidt indicates Android grabbed 72% market share and is seeing 1.3 million new Android devices activated each day. This compares with Apple’s 14% market share for the same period. Schmidt likened the situation to Microsoft’s rise to prominence on the desktop back in the 1990’s that left Apple as largely a niche player on the desktop. Schmidt believes the same pattern is repeating itself in the mobile software market.
The upcoming biography, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson is scheduled for release next week, but the Associated Press got a copy early. From their descriptions, it sounds like there is some pretty bombshell stuff scrawled on the pages within. Apparently Steve Jobs was so vehemently agitated by Android that no monetary settlements with Google would ever be made. He had every intention to fire all of his guns at once, in effort to obliterate Android from the marketplace. Straight from the book, you’ll find this, quite frankly kind of disturbing, quote,
“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”
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In a subsequent meeting with Schmidt at a Palo Alto, California, cafe, Jobs told Schmidt that he wasn’t interested in settling the lawsuit,
“I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.”
I know a lot you must be thinking right off the bat, honestly, “stop stealing our ideas,” *cough* iOS 5 notifications *cough*.
Moving on…obviously Jobs was fed up with Android more than he ever had us believe. Why do you think Steve was so upset over Android? Was it really just the belief that Android was stealing Apple’s ideas, or something more? Sound off in the comments.
Sadly, we weren’t able to be present in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress this year. But, thankfully, our good friends at Engadget were, and they had excellent live blog coverage for Eric Schmidt’s keynote speech, where he spends a good deal of time speculating about about the future of Google, Android, mobile, and tech in general. His general opinion is that we are transitioning to a point where technology assists us without us ever having to even think about user interfaces. He stresses, over and over again, that nothing happens without our permission, but in Schmidt’s vision of the future, our cars drive themselves and our phones know we need pants and automatically realize when we’re by the pants store and remind us to go get them.
So what does this mean for Android? The most notable specifics he gives us are that Honeycomb includes a movie editing program called Movie Studio, as the focus is moving more and more toward content creation. When asked about fragmentation, he states that they are addressing that more and more with Gingerbread, and that it will become more and more the case as we’ll be seeing Android updates rolled out about every six months. He also states that “[w]e have OS called gingerbread for phones, we have an OS being previewed now for tablets called Honeycomb. The two of them… you can imagine the follow up will start with an I, be named after dessert, and will combine these two.” Word ’round the net is that it will be called Ice Cream (Sandwich?), and it’s good to hear directly from Google that it will be a merging of Honeycomb and Gingerbread, suitable for smartphones and tablets alike. We were also very interested to hear that, regarding the Nokia/Microsoft merger, Google “would’ve loved if they [Nokia] chose Android…We certainly tried.”
Schmidt seems very optimistic about the future of mobile devices, and it’ll be exciting to see how reality compares to his vision over the next few years. Regardless, it seems certain that Android will be on the very front edge of technology as it continues to move forward.
In breaking news, Eric Schmidt has announced he is stepping down as the CEO of Google, leaving Larry Page in charge of the massive company. Eric Schmidt will stay with Google, but, as of April 4th, Larry Page will take over the day-to-day operations. Schmidt’s new role in Google will be Executive Chairman, where he will focus on things like tech partnerships and tech thought leadership.