We were able to sit down with Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google Senior Vice-President and Head of Android, Chromecast, and Chrome OS here at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Lockheimer is at the forefront of global mobile technology as he helms the most popular mobile operating system in the world. This was also the previous position of Google’s current CEO, Sundar Pichai. Read on for some of the main highlights of our discussion with him.
Android is Not Just About Smartphones
“Android is diversity.” – Hiroshi Lockheimer
Lockheimer started off the session by sharing some of the latest numbers about Android and it’s definitely staggering and impressive. Android now has 80% of global market share with iOS at around 18%. In terms of activated handsets, they have over 1.4 BILLION units. That’s a pretty wild number and speaks volumes on how mobile technology adoption has exponentially grown in the last few years.
However, he was quick to point out that Android is not just about smartphones. Lockheimer shared that there are 19 different watch models using Android Wear. This includes more mainstream watch brands like Fossil and Tagheuer. He also explained that there are already 40-50 car brands using Android as well. In short, Android is not just about your smartphone.
“Android is an ecosystem.” – Hiroshi Lockheimer
Beyond wearables, Lockheimer also talked about how Android is shaping up to be a force in the era of IoT (Internet of Things). He brought up some of the announcements from last year’s Google I/O which focused on Brillo and Weave. Weave is the protocol which allows developers to have smart appliances or furniture to talk to one another.
Yep, it looks like Android is going to be the real life SkyNet someday, haha!
Android in the Philippines: Android One and Getting More People on Smartphones
When it came to the Philippines, we talked about Android One and how to get more people to leave their feature phones in favor of smartphones.
For Android One, Lockheimer shared that the goal of the program was to accelerate the the trend of local manufacturers offering aggressively priced quality products. It wasn’t really to compete with the brands being created by the OEMs. It was just to show them how it’s supposed to be done in terms of quality of product.
“With Android One we were able to show the industry how to create higher quality products. Android One is a reference and we share all that information freely with manufacturers. It’s there to help them kickstart the next wave of affordable but high quality products.” – Hiroshi Lockheimer
As for driving Internet usage and smartphone penetration in developing markets such as the Philippines, Lockheimer shared that it’s not just Android pushing for that agenda. All the various product groups within Google have been working with local telcos, app developers, and media companies to get more people online.
About FBI Wanting Backdoor Access to iPhones
Lockheimer also briefly talked about the on-going request of the FBI to Apple to give them backdoor access to the iPhone. He reiterated the stand of Google that if it goes through the right legal process, they can make the information being requested by the government available. However the case with the FBI and Apple right now is completely different because the government is asking them to change the product altogether.
“Since it’s a different scenario, we need to think it through together more and that’s why more discussion is necessary.” – Hiroshi Lockheimer
Key Takeaways: More Partnerships, Focus on Android Everywhere
So what does this all mean for Google and Android in the Philippines? First, expect more partnerships with OEMs and Telcos to push Google and Android products. They have a local office already and they’ve been aggressively pushing their agenda via partnerships and their own marketing efforts.
Secondly when it comes to the long-term play of Google, it’s really getting Android to everything and everywhere. They’re making a play to be a key player in the “Internet of Things”. They’ve already made significant progress with Android Wear and they’ve made great initial strides with Brillo and Weave. Expect that they will announce more stuff about this in the coming months and years leading to 5G adoption by first world countries in 2019-2022.
We had more discussions about other topics but we’ll put those in another article to come soon. Watch out for the follow-up in the coming days.