Andy Rubin, Google’s vice president of mobile platforms, played a little game of show and tell at yesterday’s D: Dive into Mobile conference, which is put on by The Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital blog.
Rubin briefly flashed a Motorola tablet prototype, which he said was running Android 2.4, Honeycomb, which comes with support for tablets, something the Android platform has sorely lacked since various OEMs began producing larger touchscreen slates over the past few months.
Rubin talked about everything from poor sales of the Nexus One to what’s next for Android. He said he’s pleased with where the platform is at, citing 172 phone SKUs that are currently running the platform today.
When asked whether Android was making money for Google, Rubin said Android has been profitable. Rubin said that his business model has changed significantly from when Android was a startup. “I don’t have to sell services to wireless operators anymore, now I can just do the Google thing, which is an ad-based business model, and we’re profitable,” Rubin said, in a video of the talk posted on All Things D.
Rubin said that Apple and Android have an advantage because they’re newer platforms, whereas Research In Motion (RIM) and Microsoft are tasked with refreshing what they’ve been working with for some time. As far as Nokia is concerned, Rubin said he does hope that the company will adopt Android but wouldn’t discuss any details of conversations he might have had with the company.
When Rubin took out the Motorola prototype, he said it wasn’t due out “for a while.” He used the tablet to demonstrate a new version of the Google Maps, which he said will be available in a “matter of days.” The tablet was apparently the perfect device upon which to showcase the new Google Maps, as Rubin went on to explain that it comes packing a dual-core NVIDIA 3D processor. The new Google Maps features 3D renderings as part of its UI.
Google just released Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) on the Samsung Nexus S yesterday, and Rubin said Android 2.4 (Honeycomb), which will be optimized for tablets, will be available “sometime next year.”
D: Dive into Mobile continues today with an appearance by RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, among others.