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MWC 2010: Google putting 'mobile first'

60,000 Android handsets shipping daily
MWC 2010: Google putting 'mobile first'

Google's press conference at this year's Mobile World Congress proved to be a mixed affair, the firm proclaiming the mobile as the platform of the moment but offering little insight into where it plans to take it next.

According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the company lives and dies by the mantra "mobile first". Google proudly revealed that its Android OS is now available on more than 65 devices, with 60,000 units shipping daily.

"It's our goal to make mobile the answer to pretty much everything," Schmidt said in his keynote speech. "Why the mobile phone? Because it's the high volume end point. That time is upon us right now and right here."

Of most note was Google's plans for voice search technology. Schmidt said it was the company's desire to serve up technology that allowed people speaking two separate lives to talk without any delay, software translating the speech on the go.

“We aren't quite there," he admitted, "but it's coming."

Much was also made of a new mobile search set-up that will allow users to take pictures of foreign words and have them translated back in the form of a text in quick time.

Likewise, a 'search by image' function will also enable Google to recognise locations based on nothing more than a photo.

Just how far such functionality will stretch is still up in the air, but Google itself demonstrated using a picture of Gaudi cathedral in Barcelona.

However, there was very little in the way of major full-scale announcements.

More time was spent taking what could be seen as a dig at rival Apple, senior product manager for Android Erick Tseng demonstrating Flash on a Nexus One by navigating to a video embedded into the New York Times's front page - a demo sadly hampered by buffering issues.

Apple currently has its own issues with Flash, which won't have escaped Google. CEO Steve Jobs has recently dismissed the platform as "buggy", its developer Adobe "lazy", and ruled out any future Flash support on iPhone or iPad.