Google promises Motorola phone advancements, trumpets Google Glass

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Larry Page again hinted at the company's upcoming Motorola phone products, noting the gadgets likely will feature improved battery life and tougher screens.

"In today's multiscreen world, the opportunities are endless," Page said during Google's first quarter earnings conference call. "Think of all your devices. Battery life is a challenge for most people. You shouldn't need to carry a charger in order to make it through the day. When you spill a drink on your tablet, the screen shouldn't die. When you drop your phone, it shouldn't shatter. There's a real potential to create new and better experiences, experiences that are much faster and more intuitive. Having seen some of Motorola's upcoming products myself, I'm really excited about the potential there."

Page's comments are an expansion of previous statements he and other Google executives have made in recent months. For example, Motorola has "a new set of products which I have seen and they are phenomenal," Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said recently at the AllThingsD's D: Dive Into Mobile conference. "Think of it as phones+."

And Jim Wicks, Motorola's design chief, recently told PC Magazine the new generation of Motorola phones will launch in the second half of 2013, and will feature phones that break away from the trend of ever-bigger screens. Motorola is reportedly working on a so-called "X-Phone," an advanced Android device.

As for Google's Motorola business, the division reported an operating loss of $271 million on revenues of $1.02 billion in the first quarter of 2013. Google did not disclose shipment numbers for Motorola Mobility. In the fourth quarter, the company commanded a 1.2 percent share of the global cell phone market on shipments of 5.3 million units, according to ABI Research.

During Google's first-quarter conference call, Page also commented on Google's exploratory efforts with Google Fiber, Google Glass and the company's tests of self-driving cars. Broadly, Page said that Google is pursuing "revolutionary change." He pointed to the company's Google Glass product specifically: "I get chills when I use products of the future, and I get that using Glass."

Also: "Obviously Glass runs on Android," Page said, according to Cnet.

"We are still only at 1 percent of what's possible," Page said. "We are only getting started."

During the question-and-answer portion of the earnings call, Page and other Google executives addressed a variety of topics and concerns.

On whether Android is suffering from fragmentation, Page said that he had recently tested a number of different Android phones from a number of different suppliers. "The experiences are a bit different … But I find it a pretty great overall experience and there's a lot of innovation, and the platform is moving quickly," Page said. "And that's how we designed it. In a negative sense that's fragmentation and in a positive sense that's innovation and flexibility."

Page was also asked to comment on Facebook's Home product, which runs on Android and aims to replace many of the core functions of Android such as messaging and voice calling. Said Page: "At Google, we're really focused on creating great Android experiences within the strong ecosystem we have. It's really great to see developers really focused on and building for Android."

Google executives were also questioned about the progress of Google's mobile advertising business. The company in February released an overhauled version of its AdWords advertising platform, which company executives said allows advertisers to more easily direct advertisements to both desktop computers and mobile devices. Google's Nikesh Arora said Google has so far moved 1.5 million advertising campaigns onto the new, "enhanced" platform, and he said the company expects to move all of its advertising campaigns to the new AdWords platform by the end of the current quarter.

Finally, the company was also asked about its Google Fiber project, which Google this week expanded to Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah. Page said the company sees improving consumers' Internet speeds as a way to encourage users to get online and potentially access Google's services. Google CFO Patrick Pichette said the speeds provided by Google Fiber will allow users to access YouTube videos instantly, instead of waiting for up to three seconds using the speeds provided by incumbent wired Internet providers. Google executives said the company will continue to pursue its Fiber business but declined to provide specifics.

Overall, Google reported total revenue of $14 billion and a net income of $3.35 billion. According to reports, Wall Street had expected slightly more revenues and profits. Google's shares were up around 2 percent immediately after the release of the company's first quarter earnings results, to around $783 per share in after-hours trading.

For more:
- see this Google release
- see this Cnet article

Special Report: Wireless in the first quarter of 2013

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