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Google slogan: Android, Asia, Action

Google is betting its high-tech farm on two As: Android and Asia. Vivek Sinha reports. Ringing in big numbers

india Updated: Jul 20, 2011 02:06 IST
Vivek Sinha
Vivek Sinha
Hindustan Times

Google is betting its high-tech farm on two As: Android and Asia.

Undeterred by patent lawsuits, the Internet giant is gearing to launch the "Ice Cream Sandwich" - codename for the next version of its Android operating system (OS) powering tablet PCs and smartphones - within the next six months.

"I have become convinced that all of the newest ideas will land on the mobile platform," Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, at Google's mobile event at Tokyo.

Schmidt was unfazed by the patent suits filed against the firm by rivals such as Apple, Microsoft and Oracle.

"Competitors don't respond with innovation, they respond with lawsuits. The bigger news is the explosion of Android handsets," he said.

As debt challenges mount in West, the future lies in Asia, he said.

By the end of this year, mobile users in Asia will reach almost 3 billion, while China and India together add an average of 10 million mobile subscribers every month. India with its over 800 million mobile subscribers offers great promise. Google's survey show smartphone adoption of Indian mobile users at around 25%.

In India, Google is in talks with a few telecom service providers for possible tie-ups to offer more local content. The company also plans to introduce its advanced search "Google Googles," in four Indian languages. In this feature that targets travellers, a user speaks into a phone in one language and gets translated results in another.

Google estimates that globally more than 550,000 Android-based device activations are done in a day and that the number would rise as smartphones get cheaper.

(The writer's visit to Japan was sponsored by Google)

First Published: Jul 19, 2011 21:10 IST