Sundar Pichai

New Android head says 'It’s not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system'

Newly-appointed Android head Sundar Pichai says the company will focus on "all of the kinds of things we’re doing for developers" at this year's Google I/O conference, due to begin this Wednesday. In an interview with Wired, Pichai, who also heads up Google Chrome, says that it isn't a time when the company has "much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system," suggesting major device launches won't be the focus of the conference.

Having recently taken over from Android co-founder Andy Rubin, Pichai offered his thoughts on a variety of subjects, including Android updates, Google's relationship with Samsung, Facebook Home and the challenges of managing two operating systems.

Some bite-size snippets --

  • On the relationship between Chrome and Android: "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."
  • On Facebook Home: "It’s exciting that Facebook thought of Android first in this case. Android was intended to be very customizable. And we welcome innovations. As for the specific product, my personal take on it is that time will tell."
  • On Samsung's Android dominance: "The relationship is very strong on a day-to-day basis and on a tactical basis. So I’m not that concerned. Historically the industry has had long stable structures. Look at Microsoft and Intel. They were very codependent on one another, but it served both of them well."
  • On future Nexus hardware: "You will see a continuation of what we have tried to do with Nexus and Chromebooks. Any hardware projects we do will be to push the ecosystem forward."
  • On slow Android updates: "We are thinking about how to make Android handle updates better. We see ways we can do this. It’s early days. We’re talking with our partners and working our way through it. We need time to figure out the mechanics, but it’s definitely an area of focus for me and for the team."
  • On what to expect from I/O this year: "Both on Android and Chrome, we’re going to focus this I/O on all of the kinds of things we’re doing for developers, so that they can write better things. We will show how Google services are doing amazing things on top of these two platforms."

Hit the source link to check out the interview in full.

Source: Wired


Reader comments

Pichai: Google I/O 2013 to focus on services, helping devs 'write better things'


He didn't really say much although I'm glad they are focusing a bit more on how to update Android more efficiently. I just wish the solution was sooner but like he said it'll take time.

On his response about not to expect much from hardware or OS launches at I/O, to me he is basically saying we'll probably have iterative software (4.3) and hardware (Nexus 7). Makes sense, I/O's focus has been for developers and so shying away from the consumer aspect of it isn't all that surprising. Perhaps it's a little disappointing but at least we have the end of the year with a new Nexus phone launch.

I know this was expected (and given what I/O REALLY IS, it's perfectly fine), but some will see this as a bad, first step for the new head honcho.

+1 for anything that gets updates out quicker and more efficiently.

Great time to be a Samsung customer on AT&T for the time being. Seems that Samsung and AT&T are getting updates (on higher end devices) to their customers a lot faster than other handset manufacturers and carriers here in the US. Hopefully HTC and LG follow suit with their newer flagships, but only time will tell.

AT&T GS2 owners would beg to differ. Still rocking ICS despite every other carrier's GS2 getting JB by now.

Yes, I know that GS2 is old news, but it was the flagship at the time, and got basically ignored.

I know that, but the non-Skyrocket GS2 has been ignored. Still no excuse especially when 4.1 for the every other version of the GS2 exists, but AT&T hasn't bothered pushing it.

One problem Google will have if they start pushing updates is it has to be flawless for every single eligible device. Otherwise all these complainers about not getting updates will then turn 180 and complain about Google doing updates.

Its simply how the internet works. Those who can't, complain.

Or buy a Nexus 4 and forget about it!
Again, Buy a Nexus 4, and Forget About It
One last time:


from all the leaks I knew this was going to happen and its good imo

They are going to release new services like "google play games" which they can push to all android devices, Google music subscription(again an update to app), Babel, again an update to music app.

rather than features for Android 4.3 Google is concentrating on service for all android devices

I'm still crossing my fingers for them to push Majel Barret's voice for voice response. If I got nothing else, I would be happy.

Microsoft has no problems sending updates to Windows PC's from different manufacturers, so why is Google having such a hard time with it? And why are the carriers getting involved?

The carriers aren't the biggest issue. First, the update has to go through the manufacturers, who have to update their skins and bloatware that they throw on the phone as well as optimize it for the hardware. For this reason alone you will NEVEr see quick updates on anything other than a Nexus device. If the phone didn't sell enough units or is old enough, they may decide not to bother with it at all.
Then the update goes to the carriers who have to update their bloatware and test the update to make sure everything works on their networks. Again, if the carrier decides it's not worth the time/money to do this for a device, it may not happen at all.

Honestly, I'm not sure there's much Google can do to improve the process, short of greasing the palms of the OEMs.

Comparing it to a PC really doesn't work as a metaphor. yes, we thin of our smartphones as computers, but it's a completely different process.

Maybe, but given that Google I/O is a developers conference and not a consumer electronics show, it's no surprise that new hardware is not the focus.

I have had Android phones since the OG Droid, and can still say that the update process on Androids is a total joke. I know that the carriers and manufacturers are the reason for most of it, but something needs to be done.
Apple's marketshare in the U.S. is rising, and Android's is falling, and timely updates is one thing that probably leans some people to switch to iOS.

What I take this to mean is that Google I/O 2013 will mostly be a glimpse into the future of Android and everything else they talk about there. Sure, they'll probably release 4.3 but the coding workshops will only begin to reap benefits later. That being said, I'm more excited for the Nexus 5(?) release in the Fall.

Honestly the average user doesn't really pay attention to software updates. My mother and my father are still using ICS on their GS2 and when I talk to them about JB they look at me like I'm crazy. Lol they like their phones still. For me though I would totally consider a nexus phone if it had more internal storage. For now I am more than happy with my HTC One :-)