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Put simply, "Our goal with Android is to reach everyone," said Schmidt. The company is well on its way to doing just that. According to Schmidt, there are now 1.5 million new Android devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) activated every single day. At that pace, Google is seeing more than 10 million new devices per week.
"We'll cross 1 billion Android devices in six to nine months," said Schmidt. (There are about 750 million Android devices out there at the moment.) "In a year or two, we'll hit two billion. And the way that's going to happen is with the debut of low-end devices from manufacturers, primarily in Asia. If low-end smartphones are inexpensive now, imagine just how inexpensive they'll be a few years from now. And that's how we're going to hit the next billion devices."
Google has little room left to grow in mature markets, such as the U.S. and Europe. Further, manufacturers generally target U.S. and European consumers with midrange to high-end smartphones, such as the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4. It is markets such as India, Indonesia and China that will push Android's growth further toward the stratosphere. It sounds like that's exactly Google's plan.
[ Is Google using predatory pricing to build market share? Read Android's A 'Trojan Horse,' Microsoft-Backed Group Charges. ]
That's not say that there isn't plenty of opportunity to score sales with flagship-grade devices. According to Schmidt, there are some amazing products on the way from Motorola, which is owned by Google.
"They have a new set of products, which are phenomenal," said Schmidt of Motorola. "Very, very impressive." When prodded to spill more details, all Schmidt would say is, "Think of it as phones-plus." That could mean anything. Is he talking about phones that do more than what today's phones can do, or is he talking about phablets (plus-sized phones)? He didn't specify.
There has been a lot of chatter across the Internet about what Motorola plans to do next with respect to its hardware business. Earlier this year, a Google exec bemoaned the fact that the company had 18 months' worth of phones to deliver when Google completed its acquisition of Motorola about a year ago. Some of those devices, such as the Droid RAZR M and RAZR HD, have already hit the market. It's been six months, though, since we've seen new hardware from Motorola. Those Droids landed on Verizon's network during the fourth quarter of 2012. The "phones-plus" device referenced most often is called the X Phone, which is expected to be the Android phone to conquer all Android phones.
Until Google and Motorola get around to making any announcements, though, U.S. consumers will happily lap up devices such as the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4, both of which arrive in just a few short weeks.
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