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Google refocuses on tablets, to build Motorola 'firewall'

updated 09:50 am EST, Tue February 28, 2012

Company to 'double down' on Android tablets

Google is planning to "double down" on Android tablets in 2012, and take leadership away from Apple and the iPad, according to Google's senior VP for mobile, Andy Rubin. The executive spoke in a meeting with reporters yesterday at the ongoing Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain. He noted that 12 million in Android tablet sales is "not insignificant, but less than I'd expect it to be if you really want to win," adding that "2012 is going to be the year that we double down and make sure we're winning in that space."

Rubin argued that the greatest problem for Android on tablets is that "there's no organized way for consumers to recognize it as a viable platform," and that Google wants people to see tablets as part of the larger Android universe. "The educated consumer realizes it now that they're either picking the Apple ecosystem or the Microsoft ecosystem or the Google ecosystem...we're going to do a better job at making people understand what ecosystem they're buying into."

Rubin dismissed implications that the lack of high-quality apps for Android tablets is an issue. "Android's unique in that it's a single platform that spans device types," he commented. "Fundamentally you shouldn't have to have a third-party developer build his app twice." He admitted, however, that "there has to be an education process and developers have to do the work" when it comes to making tablet-ready apps for Android. "They're already doing that work for other platforms."

A more serious issue is attracting people to a platform which so far has a fraction of the users of the iPad. "I can't force someone to write a tablet app," said Rubin. Developers are "looking at market share and...being frugal," he observed, though adding that "We're now starting to get on the radar, and I'm hoping people decide to put in the muscle and make their apps work great on tablets."

Regarding Google's buyout of Motorola, Rubin told reporters that while he "sponsored" the acquisition, he currently has "nothing to do with it....I don't even know who's running it." Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha is being replaced with Google's head of ad sales, Dennis Woodside, but Rubin remarked that he is "painfully aware" of concerns about the closeness of the two companies. He claimed that Google has "literally built a firewall" between its Android team and Motorola.

"I don't even know anything about their products, I haven't seen anything," said Rubin. "They're going to continue building Motorola branded devices and it's going to be the same team doing it." He denied the idea that other hardware makers might lose out to Motorola. The open-source nature of Android allegedly makes it "physically difficult for me to advantage somebody," according to Rubin, although companies chosen to build the flagship Nexus phones do get early access to new versions of the OS.

Rubin refused to comment on whether Motorola will still ship smartphones with things like custom skins or older versions of Android. "They're separate from me, and I'm going to continue to do my thing," he said. He moreover suggested that there would only be so much Google could do if it did want to interfere with Motorola. "Even if I was completely insane, it wouldn't make any sense for me to think that we could get Motorola to be 90-plus percent marketshare. It just isn't gonna happen."

by MacNN Staff



  1. LenE

    Joined: Dec 1969



    That's all.

  1. facebook_Pete

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012



    was once with Apple and Apple got rid of him. So he jumps ship to Google and all this pent up anger he has with Apple, he feeds it into Google Mobile and chit just keeps spewing out of his mouth and the production line. Thank God he's no longer with Apple!!!

  1. cljmac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    12million hmmm

    i guess if you include the nook color and kindle fire you get 12 million, or is he talking in the last two years?

  1. cashxx

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Andy Rubin, Eric Schmidt and I'm sure the rest of the senior team at Google are all a bunch of liars. They stole code from Oracle and basically the concept from RIM and Apple to make Android, they don't deserve any credit or marketshare in the computer or mobile world. They lied to Apple about the phone they were bringing to market, they got into the computer/mobile business, the TV set top box and are just coming in from the backend like Microsoft did years ago and competing with Apple. They are copying Airplay now and wait and for a Siri copy! Eric Schmidt or Andy Rubin said they don't believe a phone should be a personal assistant, but I bet they copy Siri!! Already have rumors flying around about it. If I was HTC, Samsung, LG, etc I'd be worried about Google buying Motorola. The deal should have been blocked! I believe the main reason of the acquisition was for patents though, last I heard they were going after h.264 so they can get their codec (webm) to be the standard for HTML5 video instead and I would imagine some patents to help against Apple since Google isn't able to invent anything they instead buy the patents to protect themselves. What a bunch of crooks!!

  1. bleee

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Google has "literally built a firewall" between its Android team and Motorola."

    If Google's partners are smart they'd see the writing on the wall... the "firewall" is run by the same company that owns Motorola even if they turn it "off" would anyone know until it's too late?

    Look at how they left Logitech high and dry with GoogleTV... totally soured their relationship.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Load of BS

    Surely Google bought Motorola so that Google can have ZERO control over the failing phone maker.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I wouldn't get worked up over anything Google has to say, whether it's about market share, Android, tablets, etc. I've seen and tried their product offerings...I'm not that impressed. It looks cheap, it feels cheap and it is cheap.

    So if you want cheap, then by all means, Google is your champion. I personally want and own the solid, fully integrated, quality feel of Apple's products, be it the iPhone, iPad or MacBook.

    Just my .02ยข


  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Define "winning"

    Rubin claims that Android is dominating the smartphone space now but we have yet to see Eric Schmidt's prediction of Android first apps. Adobe just released an iPad version of Photoshop. Apple's market cap, sales, and profits dwarf those of Google. Even with 850,000 activations a day Google can't make more money than Apple? Rubin is even trying to copy Steve's RDF now? What a hoot!

  1. ruel24

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'd rather invest in an ecosystem that protects my privacy, rather than invades it. Google use to proclaim to "don't be evil", but that seems to have changed. They're very invasive. Apple, on the otherhand, makes rules for the apps in the App Store that keep apps from invading your privacy. This is something I like and I will gladly spend my money on their products.


    Joined: Dec 1969


    not insignificant

    Actually Andy dear it is insignificant compared to the millions sold by Apple.

    There will always be a market for second and third rate (choose Android and Windows they are interchangeable) tablets.

    Don't forget that Eric Schmidt stole the OS from Apple and has since then been unable to innovate upon it further.

    So your thoughts on Leadership - well I think you should just forget it. You don't have the brains or the balls to be a leader.

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