Google’s Eric Schmidt praises Facebook Home, predicts a billion Androids this year

Google chairman Eric Schmidt has unexpectedly praised Facebook’s Home interface, while predicting Android will cross the one billion device mark this year.

In a wide-ranging interview at the AllThingsD Dive into Mobile Conference, Schmidt said around 750 million devices use the Android platform, with the number expected to grow to one billion within six to nine months and be near two billion in “a year or two”.

During the discussion, Schmidt also praised Facebook’s new Home interface, pointing out it is only possible due to the open source nature of the Android platform, rejecting comments by Microsoft that the search giant was in any way trying to block the interface.

“I think it’s fantastic, and I’ll tell you why. This is what open source is about. Open source is open source. I think it’s wonderful. It’s experimentation, it’s new ideas, it’s creativity,” Schmidt said.

“Frankly, I think it took some guts to [go open source] on our part.”

Schmidt also said that Facebook’s decision to use Google Play to distribute the app was a “tremendous endorsement” of the app marketplace.

However, he downplayed suggestions the recent merger of Google’s Android and Chrome OS divisions would lead to the two platforms being combined.

“I would be careful about confusing organisation design and product design,” Schmidt said.

The Google chairman also used the interview to again hose down speculation of a growing rift with Samsung.

“We’ve spent lots of time with Samsung, and I can confirm to you that the press coverage of tension has not been correct. I’ve been to South Korea many times to talk to them,” he said.

“They have literally hundreds of millions of phones coming out on the Android platform. I don’t think you’re going to see much of a change there. The Samsung relationship has turned out to be the defining one, and I appreciate their decision very early to help define Android.”


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