Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is making money off of its Android platform, and Android is profitable as a standalone business, according to Andy Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering and Android's architect.
Rubin, the keynote speaker at AllThingsD's D: Dive Into Mobile conference, also unveiled a prototype Android tablet from Motorola (NYSE:MOT), which he said is running the next version of Android, dubbed "Honeycomb."
While Rubin said that Google will hold a separate event to unveil the Honeycomb version of Android, he did provide some insight into how the platform will evolve on tablets (Google released the SDK for Android 2.3, or "Gingerbread," Monday.) He said Honeycomb has APIs that will allow applications to be split into multiple views on the same screen, but also hinted there will be larger changes in store for the platform. The Motorola product runs an Nvidia dual-core processor and supports video chatting. LG also is rumored to be working on a Honeycomb tablet that will be released in the first quarter.
Rubin said he is pleased with the progress Android has made so far, but said the platform is constantly evolving. According to research firm Gartner, Android captured 25 percent of the smartphone market in the third quarter.
The platform has seen steep growth since it was first commercially introduced in the fall of 2008, and Rubin said that Android makes money off of the advertising that is generated through Google's services. He also said that Android is profitable as a standalone business, though he declined to elaborate. "There's no way I would have ever been profitable as a start-up," he said. "I probably wouldn't have made it as a separate company."
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