This year's Mobile World Congress has turned out to have more than a couple surprises, and the highly quotable Eric Schmidt is no exception to the rule this week in the Google keynote address. Speaking to the entire world via webcast as well as an audience of press and mobile enthusiasts alike on not just the state of the mobile world today, but the future in which the developing world will be utterly changed for the better by a web-connected community. In addition, both privacy and the most recent release for Android by Google: Google Chrome, were touched upon by both Schmidt and Android's Hugo Barra.
Starting the event off with a product (in the form of an app,) Hugo Barra spoke of the release of Google Chrome for mobile as well as how it was sort of inconsequential that they were releasing it on a mobile platform because, as he said, "Android is a real operating system." Schmidt himself spent some time extolling the virtues of Chrome, calling it by far the safest browser available. And speaking on the various iterations of both Android and the Android Market, many of which are beyond Google's control, Schmidt said he didn't mind. "Android forking is fine," he remarked, though he also said he though consumer pressure would push OEMs toward Google's services.
Next the event got especially heavy with Schmidt speaking in depth about the state of the world and how we'll eventually be a "Global Community of Equals" due to technology and the spread of internet-connected devices.Speaking on recent privacy issues from Google and the proliferation of mobile connections, Schmidt reminded those watching that they were in control - even when it means choosing not to participate, and turning the phone off.
A couple of odd bits were spoken about, perhaps foretelling the future but perhaps speaking about foregone bits of the past. First he noted that there very well may be 3D-capable personal robots on the horizon, while in the past there was an until-now not-mentioned program called Google Bucks for peer to peer mobile payments.
When an Iranian journalist asked Schmidt why Google's apps and services weren't available in his country, Schmidt was regretful but not apologetic, informing him that Google is complying with US trade laws. "I'm with you," he said, "but prison is no bandwidth." Speaking on recent Internet legislation like SOPA, ACTA and PIPA, Schmidt cautioned regulators that giving up freedom - even for seemingly good reasons - can be a one-way street.
There's plenty more hardware to check out at Mobile World Congress - make sure to check out our MWC 2012 portal for the latest updates.