Google CEO Eric Schmidt took a little time to answer questions on today’s Q3 earnings call (before rushing off to catch a plane–busy guy!) and offered some interesting insight into how Google views Android and the mobile market.
One questioner cited a July Wall Street Journal interview where Schmidt said that Google could make $10 per Android handset eventually, and asked where exactly that money would come from.
Schmidt didn’t officially confirm the $10 number, but noted that today most of the revenue from Android is coming from search, which is by far the most popular Google service on the phone–Android users use search more than twice as often as any other service on the phone. Android isn’t so much a new business for Google as an extension of its core business.
Schmidt also noted that Google expects display advertising to become a huge business on Android as well. Eventually, Google hopes to sell more value-added services on top of the Android platform, but nobody should expect the company to start charging for Android like other smartphone platform providers do.
Another questioner wondered if mobile search is cannibalising Google’s core Web search business. Product vice president Jonathan Rosenberg said no, search patterns are different among the two platforms. Mobile search tends to peak outside of working hours–lunch, evenings, holidays, and weekends. He said that both mobile and Web-based search are continuing to grow.
Finally, Rosenberg promised that Instant Search would be coming to Android, iPhone, and other platforms “very soon,” specifically this fall–although he noted that fall lasts “a little bit longer in California.” That sounds like the end of the year at the latest.
Earlier during the call, Google shared for the first time that Android is now contributing more than $1 billion per year to Google’s revenue.