We've just been ushered into the rather gigantic Auditorium 1 of Hall 5 at Mobile World Congress 2010 where we're awaiting none other than Google chief Eric Schmidt to take the stage. What's in store -- Buzz news? Android buzz? Buzz buzz? Read on to find out!
6:23PM "It's our goal to make mobile be the answer to pretty much everything." And it's over -- no announcements, but lots of fuzzy feel-good out of Google here. Q&A time!
6:21PM He's really pushing the "Mobile First" mantra. Eric's making it pretty clear that this is Google's focus.
6:20PM And we're back to Eric -- Erick's left the stage.
6:18PM Talking about Haiti and the role smartphones have played there -- specifically with text message charity campaigns, but Erick's also talking up the updated Haiti satellite imagery from just two days after the earthquake.
6:18PM Now we're seeing Google Earth. "What's amazing about Google Earth is its ability to educate and inform."
6:17PM Full Flash 10.1 experience -- not Flash Lite. In practice, that means that you'll get hardware-accelerated compatibility with pretty much any Flash applet you encounter on the interwebs.
6:15PM "Everyone here, get off WiFi." Seriously, tell us about it. Both 3G and WiFi are crapping out. Sorry, folks!
6:14PM Flash on Android. He's demoing the New York Times -- "as you can see, all the components are there." We see what you're doing, Erick. Very clever.
6:14PM He's going to show up a couple demos demonstrating the "blurring of the lines" between desktop and mobile computing.
6:13PM Our boy Erick Tseng's on the stage! Schmidt introduced him as "the best student he ever had at Stanford." Aww!
6:11PM We're seeing lots of German language action here -- voice search and character recognition alike. It's not terribly fast, which -- you guessed it -- is being blamed on the crappy 3G here. LTE, here we come?
6:10PM "We record the audio and stream it in real time to our data centers -- the servers map your utterances to likely words and phrases, then those are compared to the most popular queries. This explains some of the quality you see here. It wasn't even phased by my strong accent."
6:06PM Now Google is demoing voice search. Voice search people. Some day you won't even need hands. You heard it here first -- Google has obsoleted fingers.
6:05PM So far Eric's lofty ideas about openness and connectedness are kind of a joke in light of the fact that we can barely connect here and we're not being allowed to take photos. Pretty cool Google!
6:04PM Just another note from team Engadget, ladies and gentlemen -- we're being forbidden from taking pictures. We can draw you a mental image, though: it's Eric Schmidt standing on a stage, just like on the first image at the top. We promise you're not missing much.
6:03PM Voice recognition was historically a failure because phones were neither powerful enough nor capacious enough to swallow a database. The sea change is happening now that the database lives in the cloud and phones have a wide-enough pipe to reach them -- Schmidt's dream is to be able to talk to folks who speak other languages. That would've come in handy last night when we tried to order pizza here in Barcelona, you know?
6:01PM Eric believes in a princple called "mobile first" -- that sounds like a huge shift, but not really -- when you think about it, Google's first product (web search, that is) works just great on any modern smartphone.
6:00PM "Why the mobile phone? Because it's the high-volume endpoint. It's not because we're nice people or something." So Google's evil after all? Say it ain't so!
5:58PM He's talking up the importance of MWC as evidenced by the number of big-name corporations making an appearance here (Google, of course, included). Apps play a huge role in that.
5:58PM "I was shocked to learn that the US would be deploying LTE soon!" Us too, Eric... us too.
5:57PM Sorry folks, we've been struggling with connection issues here -- it wouldn't be a mobile trade show without a little irony, would it?
5:45PM Okay, the lights are down, and there's some rollicking GSMA propaganda on screen!