Google: Android will power 1B devices in a year
Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system is on pace to power 1 billion devices within the next year, said the company's executive chairman Eric Schmidt.
Speaking at an AllThingsD event in New York City, Schmidt said there are already more than 500 million Android devices in use worldwide, with an average of 1.3 million additional activations each day. "We'll be at 1 billion mobile devices in a year," he said, adding that Android products already outnumber devices running Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS by a margin of 4 to 1, calling the battle between the two operating systems "the defining contest" in the mobile technology segment.
Schmidt believes that four tech companies--Google, Apple, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), which he has dubbed the "Gang of Four"--are spearheading an unprecedented era in technology innovation. "All four companies are networks/platforms generating enormous scale effects. We've never had that before," he said. "All different, all competitors, all making enormous investments." Asked about Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) omission from the Gang of Four ranks, he said the snub was "deliberate," explaining "They're a well-run company, but they haven't been able to bring state-of-the-art products into the fields [e.g., mobile, social and the cloud] we're talking about yet."
Schmidt continued to remain mum on the subject of whether Google is building a native mapping app for iOS after Apple ended its longstanding reliance on Google Maps integration with the new iOS 6, rolling out its own, much-maligned mapping effort developed in-house. "I don't want to pre-announce products, but if we made one, [Apple] would have to approve it," Schmidt said. "They haven't approved all of our apps in the past."
The New York Times recently reported that Google is at work on a Maps app for iOS, although it is unlikely to surface for at least several months. Sources said Google was blindsided by Apple's move to end their mapping relationship and did not begin work on a native Maps app until after Apple publicly announced its own mapping service this June. In addition, Google is rumored to be readying a Google Maps with 3D imagery comparable to Apple's, but its own 3D technology exists separate from its Google Maps database as part of the Google Earth service, and combining the two will take considerable time and effort.
Schmidt did acknowledge that he believes Apple erred by expanding its platform into the mapping sector. "Apple should have kept our maps," he said. "Apple decided a long time ago to do their own maps… [now they've] discovered that maps are really hard." Asked what argument he could make to convince Apple to bring back Google Maps, Schmidt responded "They're better maps."
- read this AllThingsD transcript
Schmidt: Google isn't planning Maps for iOS
Google: Android device activations surpass 500 million worldwide
Flurry: Android, iOS adoption eclipses PC, Internet growth rates
Android, iOS combine for record-breaking 85 percent of Q2 smartphone shipments
Canalys: Android powers 68 percent of all smartphones shipped in Q2
comScore: Android's U.S. market share rebounds, iOS gaining fast