May 13, 2013 11:47 AM EDT
The elusive and newly appointed head of Android and Google Chrome has finally given his first interview where he tipped his hand about the future of Android (and to a lesser extent Chrome). Sundar Pichai took over Andy Rubin’s position as chief back in March when Rubin stepped down under circumstances that might not have been entirely amicable.
Pichai gave an exclusive interview to ‘Wired’ where he spoke of the future of Android, the relationship between the Android and Chrome OS, rivalry with Samsung and what to expect from I/O 2013. He emphasized that Google intended to keep Android as an open platform but hinted at future attempts to standardize and universalize it, “We have to figure out a way to rationalize things, and do it so that it makes sense for users and developers. There’s always a balance there.” However he refrained from criticizing Amazon forking Android with the Kindle Fire and Facebook Home stating, “In general, we at Google would love everyone to work on one version of Android, because I think it benefits everyone better. But this is not the kind of stuff we’re trying to prevent.”
As head of both Android and Chrome Pichai said that he considered both OS equal and complementary, “Android and Chrome are both large, open platforms, growing very fast. I think that they will play a strong role, not merely exist. I see this as part of friendly innovation and choice for both users and developers.” He did acknowledge the challenges of having two OS in terms of the cost of resources but stood by his belief that Google benefitted from offering things like Android-powered notebooks and Chrome-powered tablets. This seems to confirm that Android and Chrome will not be merging.
On the topic of the Samsung-Google rivalry, Pichai downplayed the conflict pointing out his Samsung Galaxy S4 phone and stating, “Samsung is a great partner to work with. We work with them on pretty much all our important products.” He compared the Samsung-Google relationship to the Microsoft-Intel and Microsoft-HP partnerships, though Samsung is dominant in the smartphone market that neither Intel nor HP are in the PC and netbook market compared to Microsoft.
Finally Pichai gave some hints at the content of the I/O 2013 Conference saying that it would be different and more developer oriented this year, “It’s not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system.” This may prove disappointing to some, but users should still have a good amount to look forward to in the Conference.
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