Google CEO talks up potential of mobile

Eric Schmidt appeared at Mobile World Congress to talk about Android's progress

Google CEO Eric Schmidt took to the stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Tuesday to talk up the Android OS for tablets and phones, in addition to giving nods to Chrome, search and YouTube.

Schmidt said that there are 300,000 Android devices activated daily, and 150,000 apps in the Android app store -- a number that has tripled in the last nine months. Developers now start with mobile apps because that's where the growth is, he added, saying that smartphone sales surpassed PC sales last quarter.

There are a number of trends at work, Schmidt said: cloud computing, which has been present for a long time; the fact that devices are packing in more and more power; and the fact that networks are getting more powerful. Roughly 98 per cent of mobile phone operators offer megabyte-per-second speeds, he claimed. What's important about LTE, the newest technology for mobile broadband, is that it will create the opportunity for another set of applications that we can only imagine, Schmidt said.

One of these new Android apps demonstrated by a Google employee onstage is Movie Studio, an app built for tablets that lets people edit videos. The demo showed how a user can drag a title on an image, and also re-order the items in the timeline of the video, by dragging and dropping. A pan-and-zoom effect can also be added, and by pinching with two fingers the user can make the video zoom into the photo.

Schmidt said that the increasing penetration of mobile phones offers hope for communicating with people around the world who are currently not connected online, and solving some of the biggest problems in the world, including terrorism and global warming.

Referencing Google's entrant into the browser wars, Schmidt said that there are 120 million active users of Chrome.

Meanwhile, the company's YouTube video site remains a force to be reckoned with: Schmidt said that 35 hours of video is uploaded every minute to the site. Its revenue doubled in 2010, he said, and Google is monetizing professional content.

Schmidt refused to be drawn on a question from the audience on Android fragmentation, a concern for some developers.

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