Google CEO Eric Schmidt posted an editorial on Thursday that outlined a strong emphasis on smartphones for 2011. The company's drive would be "all about mobile" this year and would start with a focus on LTE-based 4G. He explained in the Harvard Business Review that the roughly 8-10Mbps real-world speeds would be key to "new and creative" apps in entertainment and social networking that Google wanted to spur along as quickly as possible.
Mobile payments would also play a large role this year at both the high and low ends, he said. On a basic level, he hoped Google would step into the same developing world commerce as Nokia and support areas where the phone was often the main or only way to conduct banking. Schmidt stressed, however, that it could go "much further than that" with newer devices, alluding to plans to use NFC on Android in a new payment system.
Lowering the point of entry for smartphones was also important as it would quickly educate and inform impoverished areas. Over the space of a few years, there could be "literally a billion people" with low-cost, primarily browser-focused smartphones, Schmidt wrote.
Much of what was discussed is already expected to come true this year and won't necessarily involve Google. Verizon's CES event saw it launch a wide range of 4G devices, while NFC is now a standard feature in Android 2.3 and should be available in future BlackBerry, iOS and Symbian devices. Android is designed to run on relatively low cost hardware and is already on $200 or cheaper devices off-contract.