Google CEO Larry Page had an interesting comment to make about Android’s value to Google: He calls it “important”, but “not critical”. During his testimony in a courtroom where Google disputes legality with Oracle, Page made the comments despite the fact that he’s religiously pushed Google’s mobile operating system in the past… but the signs of Google turning away from Android are already clear and evident.

Though Page pointed out in an earnings call in October that Google was “seeing a huge positive revenue impact from mobile, which has grown 2.5 times in the last 12 months to a run rate of over $2.5 billion”, Android isn’t necessarily their vision for the company’s future in mobile. Recently, Google has launched Play: A (sort of) curated app store that will remain tightly under Google’s control, unlike the Android Marketplace, which was originally intended to sell apps for Android phones, but instead, has become a bit of a wild frontier crossed with a supermarket. Play reigns in the experience and makes Android a lot easier to manage, though Charlie Kindel makes some really strong arguments for why Google is likely positioning itself to turn its back on Android completely:

[quote]Google will start distancing itself from the Android brand completely. Why? Because Android has become an ill-defined mess of a brand that Google does not control. If Google wants to create a phenomenal end-to-end user experience that has a chance of competing with the iPad juggernaut in the tablet space they need to control all aspects of the experience. If they are smart (and I think they are) they will recognize that brand is as much a part of the end-to-end experience as the user interface, device, OS, apps, and services.[/quote]

Page making verbal concessions on Android, which he once described as  “on fire” and a “tremendous example of the power of partnership”, may be the sign that Google is getting ready to close the door on the Android wild child and start anew.