Android opens doors for Google's next-gen search, ads and tools

Android opens doors for Google's next-gen search, ads and tools

Summary: There's no question that there's been some pretty astounding growth around Android, Google's open-source mobile phone operating system. A year ago, there was only one Android device out there - the T-Mobile G-1.

SHARE:

There's no question that there's been some pretty astounding growth around Android, Google's open-source mobile phone operating system. A year ago, there was only one Android device out there - the T-Mobile G-1. Today, Android is powering 12 devices in 26 countries with 32 carriers - and there's more on the way.

During the company's quarterly earnings call with analysts yesterday, CEO Eric Schmidt said it plain and clear: "Android adoption is literally about to explode." And he may be right. Earlier this month, Gartner predicted that Android - which currently runs on less than 2 percent of all smartphones - will power 14 percent of the global smartphone market in 2012.

That would make Android second only to Symbian. Yes, that means it would surpass the iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and others.

The key, in part is the applications. Apple has already proven that the app experience is a winner in mobile devices. So far, there are about 10,000 applications for Android and its touch-screen interaction is probably the best I've experienced aside from the iPhone. (FTC disclosure: Google gave attendees at its last developer's conference a free Android phone. I picked one up and activated my own pre-paid account to take it for a test drive.)

Also see: Android bolsters its app market as device lineup swells

Android has good engaged base for future app growth

For other consumers to experience Android, it's important to get the devices into as many hands as possible. Unlike Apple, which has one device on one carrier in the U.S. (but other carriers worldwide), Google is offering multiple devices across multiple carriers, including a major launch with Verizon earlier this month.  Once the devices - which have deep ties to Google's other services, such as Mail, Maps and Search - go mainstream. Google will be positioned to capture a lead in the mobile search advertising business.

Execs yesterday boasted that mobile searches grew 30 percent quarter over quarter. It was interesting to hear them acknowledge that it's not always obvious how the company's big investments tie together. But there are connections. On the call, CFO Patrick Pichette said:

The combination of the Android platform with all the smart phones and the momentum in there, as well as the iPhone and the rest of them, I mean, they're just basically transforming how people live on a mobile basis... If we move forward the adoption of these smart phones by having a lower cost infrastructure because it's open-source and you bring that, instead of taking seven years—I'm just kind of giving an illustration—all this happens in four years. Think of all the searches that will happen so much faster. So the ecosystem is incredibly vibrant right now and truly what's interesting about these phones is there are a lot of new types of searches because you are location-specific, you are activity-specific, you are local-specific. Just a new set of areas that are to create a new set of monetization opportunities.

So, to be clear, we've got location-specific, activity-specific and local-specific searches being conducted on mobile devices. You also have the Internet's No. 1 search engine integrating its own services - such as search - directly into the phone's operating system. At the same time, the mapping application - where many of those location-based queries occur - is also deeply integrated.

And finally, don't forget that Google is working hard on new advertising products that allow businesses to reach out to and find customers wherever they may be (even if it's at a red-light down the street) and provide them with turn-by-turn directions on how to reach that business and a link to launch a Google Voice call to that business.

Put it all together - search, maps, voice and a mobile operating system that probably has the best chance of truly challenging the mighty iPhone - and I'd be bullish, too.

It's no wonder that Schmidt thinks Android is about to explode.

Also see:

    Topics: Android, Apple, Apps, Google, iPhone, Mobile OS, Security, Smartphones

    Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

    Talkback

    32 comments
    Log in or register to join the discussion
    • Current problem with Android devices

      I am Android fan, but nevertheless my next mobile
      phone will be HTC HD2 - i.e. Windows device. And
      the reason: all Andorid devices currently
      available have (relatively) small screen size (and
      resolution). I am wandernig why Google doesn't
      urge on phone makers to offer some phones with
      bigger screens (especially HTC)? This is crucial
      point for applications like (Google) internet
      search and/or (Google) maps ...
      Ivan29
      • That is a good point

        and they will in time.

        I believe at that moment, having Android run on their less expensive models will give them time to refine the operating systems to their taste or standards.
        GuidingLight
      • It's coming

        The reason you haven't seen high-resolution
        powerhouse devices like the HD2 running Android
        yet has been hardware support.

        Android 1.6 (Donut) added support for WVGA
        screens (like the one used in the HD2) as well
        as faster and more modern chips (like the 1 GHz
        Snapdragon). There are several devices
        announced/leaked that will be using much faster
        processors and be running at higher resolution.

        Acer just announced their first Android phone,
        and it will be using a WVGA screen. And so will
        Motorola Droid, and Sony Ericssons Xperia X3.
        HTC is also rumored to release an HD2-like
        Android device called "Dragon".

        I would personally avoid buying a Windows
        Mobile 6.5 device, as I doubt you will be
        allowed to upgrade to Windows Mobile 7 when it
        arrives. It looks to become something of a
        dead-end platform.
        Theli
        • I disagree

          [i]I would personally avoid buying a Windows
          Mobile 6.5 device, as I doubt you will be
          allowed to upgrade to Windows Mobile 7 when it
          arrives. It looks to become something of a
          dead-end platform[/i]

          That might be true, but then again I have the feeling that the WinMobile operating system will be so much more then what it is today that it may be worth upgrading, and as such they will allow it.
          GuidingLight
          • I disagree

            Yeah if we're lucky Windows Mobile will be the tech smothering virus infected garbage that is Microsoft.
            blueskip
            • need a hug?

              son it's time, you need a life outside of hating microsoft, now get out there a take a walk around the block or something, umk?
              eggmanbubbagee@...
        • No; You'll be able to upgrade.

          I'm SURE M$ will let you upgrade for a measley three or four hundred dollars! No problem!
          blueskip
      • I somewhat agree...

        I think the devices are coming but its rather slow and I don't know if the OEM's have put two and two together yet. Apparently there was some waiting for the OS to catch up on device drivers. But with the first offerings like the Arcos tablet I'm wondering why they didn't go for the full thing and make it a phone. Maybe someone will catch on.
        storm14k
      • Current problem with Android devices

        Come On Man...Theres a loTS OF ANDROIDS DEVICES with a larger SCREENS OUT THERE.
        go to this page and u`ll see all.
        http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/archos5-3.jpg

        http://www.archos.com/

        http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/07/giiniis-movit-mini-wifi-android-tablet-hands-on/

        http://www.androidguys.com/2009/09/05/smits-mid-560-android-tablet/

        http://www.slashgear.com/camangi-webstation-7-inch-android-tablet-sows-own-teaser-campaign-video-1259951/

        http://www.electronista.com/articles/09/09/18/ramos.1080p.android.tablet.debut.due.next.week/

        http://www.androidauthority.com/index.php/2009/01/09/upcoming-movit-mini-wifi-android-tablet-by-giinii/

        http://blogs.computerworld.com/nokia_n810_tablet_now_220_with_google_android

        http://vodpod.com/watch/2149413-a-5-inch-android-tablet-lives-in-china

        http://www.concept-phones.com/news/china-mobile-7-inch-android-tablet-rendered/
        TheCableGuyNY
      • Current problem with Android devices

        "Current problem with Android devices
        I am Android fan, but nevertheless my next mobile
        phone will be HTC HD2 - i.e. Windows device. And
        the reason: all Andorid devices currently
        available have (relatively) small screen size (and
        resolution). I am wandernig why Google doesn't
        urge on phone makers to offer some phones with
        bigger screens (especially HTC)? This is crucial
        point for applications like (Google) internet
        search and/or (Google) maps ..."

        Come On Man...Theres a loTS OF ANDROIDS DEVICES with a larger SCREENS OUT THERE.
        go to this page and u`ll see all.
        http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/archos5-3.jpg

        http://www.archos.com/

        http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/07/giiniis-movit-mini-wifi-android-tablet-hands-on/

        http://www.androidguys.com/2009/09/05/smits-mid-560-android-tablet/

        http://www.slashgear.com/camangi-webstation-7-inch-android-tablet-sows-own-teaser-campaign-video-1259951/

        http://www.electronista.com/articles/09/09/18/ramos.1080p.android.tablet.debut.due.next.week/

        http://www.androidauthority.com/index.php/2009/01/09/upcoming-movit-mini-wifi-android-tablet-by-giinii/

        http://blogs.computerworld.com/nokia_n810_tablet_now_220_with_google_android

        http://vodpod.com/watch/2149413-a-5-inch-android-tablet-lives-in-china

        http://www.concept-phones.com/news/china-mobile-7-inch-android-tablet-rendered/
        TheCableGuyNY
        • Come On Man

          TheCableGuyNY: "Come On Man...Theres a loTS OF
          ANDROIDS DEVICES with a larger SCREENS OUT
          THERE."

          Sorry, maybe i wasn't enough precise: I am
          talking about mobile phones - not tablets or
          netbooks. And almost all Android phones have 3.2
          inch which is to small for me. Ok with Motorola
          Sholes and XPERIA3 this will change but somehow
          it is happening too slow and is not enough. See
          HTC HD2: 4.3 inch, 480 X 800 WVGA and 1GHz! And
          it will be available next month (in Europe). If
          any device can beat iPhone than is one (it is
          only 5mm bigger but has 2cm bigger screen ...
          and is thiner). I would prefer Android over
          Window with such device specifications... if i
          could choose. Since there is no such choice i
          will take this superior hardware ... And Windows
          is not that bad, as many people think/claim;)
          Ivan29
          • "Come On Man"

            Why dont u go with a PURE LINUX System?
            like this one in the link below?
            http://www.product-reviews.net/2009/10/12/nokia-n900-smartphone-apps-and-future-maemo-linux-versions/

            http://maemo.nokia.com/n900/
            eventually we`ll be able to load Android or any other Linux Flavor to it.
            TheCableGuyNY
    • That will change before Christmas

      With the release of the Moto Droid (Sholes) this winter that will change. Also there's the Archon tablet and a dual-boot netbook from Asus if you want to go even larger.
      Ed Burnette
    • Linux distro driven devices = future

      The future is appliance driven devices using a Linux
      kernel and open_source technologies.

      The days of needing a 20G operating system are over.

      Plus, Windows is the most INSECURE OS on the planet,
      it requires 10 levels of protection and it still
      is a worm/virus magnet.

      ;)
      Christian_<><
      • Yeah I hate spending 20G for phone software

        It's time we all stood up and demanded that our smart phones cost less than a small automobile.
        Michael Kelly
        • LOL - nt

          nt
          ItsTheBottomLine
      • Linux = The End

        Even Linus, the creator of Linux says that Linux is becoming a fat, bloated operating system, so logic would dictate that Android wil not be far behind.

        It seems that in their zeal to create an operating system as good as Windows, they may have doomed Linux's future to that of the world of routers and television sets.

        GuidingLight
        • Don't waste your time - he needs help...nt

          nt
          ItsTheBottomLine
        • You're insane

          Linux can be made as small as you need it or as bloated as you want.
          blueskip
        • where doyou get your news?

          I dont know whereyou are getting your news, but im poretty sure you are incorrect. What he said was some DISTRIBUTIONS of linux are trying to incorporate everything out of the box, which he thinks is the wrong approach for linux.

          Sorry, I'm a linux fan and I have not noticed bloatedness in Ubuntu, SuSE, or Android. They seem to be very clean Operating Systems. Why dont you try using linuxan see what you think?
          tekgek