While Google might not have held any event at Mobile World Congress, its influence is as clear as day. From Samsung’s Galaxy S5 to Sony’s Xperia Z2 to even the Blackphone, Google’s Android mobile operating system was the tie that bound these announcements together. And Google’s Sundar Pichai was there to talk about it, weighing in on the Samsung Galaxy S6, the Nexus 6, as well as other topics.
First addressing the relationship between Google and Samsung, Pichai laid to rest the belief that there is some kind of tension between the two companies. If anything, he said, the relationship is quite boring compared to how the media portrays it. Google and Samsung even collaborate on projects together, though Pichai did say that he’d “rather” have Samsung’s Gear 2 run on Android rather than Tizen OS.
Pichai did confirm that the Galaxy S6 will run on Android, though, so Tizen OS can take a backseat for a little while longer.
As for the Nexus 6, Pichai says we should not expect it before at least June. “I can assure you, it will not be released in the first half of the year,” said Pichai. This falls in line with releases of the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, which launched in late 2012 and 2013, respectively. Still, it’s always good to hear some sort of confirmation from Google, though we still don’t know who will be making the Nexus 6.
Pichai also talked about WhatsApp, since Google was rumored to have negotiated with WhatsApp to acquire the messaging service. Pichai confirmed that negotiating did happen, though no formal offer was made. “Google has never made an offer for WhatsApp,” he said. Pichai added that reports of Google offering upwards of $10 billion for the messaging app were “completely false.”
Commenting on Nokia’s heavily-forked version of Android that runs on its recently-announced X, X+, and XL smartphones, Pichai laughed aside sentiments that this was somehow bad for Android. “This shows that when we say that Android is a free operating system. We do not lie, it’s true,” he said. Pichai also said he did not see Microsoft’s strategy “very clearly.”
Finally, Pichai talked about Android malware. Pichai is not naive to the fact that malware on Android is a serious problem. Google does not guarantee that Android will be safe due to its open nature, and Pichai said he understands why malware would exist on Android: “If I had a company dedicated to malware, I would also be addressing my attacks to Android.”