Google is focused on preparing Android for the next five to 10 years of computing, according to Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president for Android, Chrome and Google Apps (pictured).
Referring to intelligent watches, Google Glass, flexible displays and new sensors being added to mobile devices, Pichai told the audience at the D11 event this week: “We want to set ourselves up to be consistent, to update across all these devices and to have a common user experience across these devices.”
In addition, Pichai said Google is keen to have a “sense of commonality” with Android-powered phones, something it is pursuing with its own take on Android for the Samsung Galaxy S4. “We thought that was a small step in a good direction,” he said.
He also referred to a version of the HTC One running the core Android UI, which was officially announced this week.
However, Pichai recognises that one of the strengths of Android is that it can be customised for different handsets and said Google does not want to restrict how its software can be modified in the same way as Apple.
“Apple does many things well. But Apple makes very few products. And we are doing this in collaboration with partners. And you will see Samsung and HTC and carrier software,” he said, adding that efforts to “push forward hardware with partners” with the Nexus line of smartphones will continue.
Regarding the issue of Samsung’s dominance with Android, Pichai said: “We actually owe a lot of success in Android to what they’ve done. A vast majority of their phones are based on Android, so I see a pretty symbiotic relationship, and we intend to keep it that way. Look at Intel and Microsoft, they collaborated for many years.”
Turning to Google-owned Motorola Mobility, Pichai said Google is excited about the handset maker from an Android standpoint, “but no differently than we are about Samsung”.
“Something like Motorola we can evaluate on a long-term basis, look at the projects they are working on and moving manufacturing back to America — these are long-term bets,” he added.
Pichai also suggested that the Android ecosystem is “pretty vibrant” and that many companies are gaining market share, including players in China and India. “I don’t see it as a zero-sum game because the industry is exploding,” he said.