In an interview with the BBC, Rich Miner, Google's VP for Mobile technology said Google is "marching to plan" from what they announced in November. While developers have been creating programs with the Android SDK since then, many consider the Mobile World Congress at Barcelona to be Android's coming-out party.
At this show, we're launching tomorrow morning a refresh of that software development kit with a significantly improved user interface and lots of additional capabilities. Around the show you'll see our partners demonstrating Android running on a number of different mobile phone platforms.
Miner dismissed Microsoft's figures of 20 million handsets deployed with Windows Mobile, saying that was a tiny fraction of the mobile market.
As Eric Schmidt said last November, we want to see thousands of [models of] phones based on Android. As those billion mobile phones all start to get messaging and media and online capabilities, we see Android starting to penetrate a very large percentage of those billion phones over the next 5 years.
So what does Google get out of Android? Does Android help in its battle with Microsoft?
It's important to realize that Android isn't so much 'Google' as it is the industries, and it's open. So what it gives the industry, and Google as a result of that, is an open software platform that Google, or anyone, can leverage to build their services and compete in a much more open market. I don't think of this as a battle with Microsoft; I think of it as innovation.
Google is an innovative company, we want to see innovation, and Android, by being open and not owned or closed by any one company, really enables innovation. If it enables innovation and it's open then Google will leverage that.
Miner went on to explain that Google will get a return on its investment through services that it launches on the platform, some of which will be ad-sponsored.
Because the platform is open, the users are not locked into using Google services. However, the services will be innovative and any ads will be helpful and in-context, so Miner hopes the users won't mind. "Typically, when the user sees ads from Google, they like the fact that they see those ads."
Ironically the interview was filmed on a Nokia N95 phone. Nokia is expected to continue development of its competing Symbian platform for the foreseeable future, despite increasing pressure from Linux-based platforms such as Android.