Despite objections from certain multi-national software¬†conglomerates, Google claimed in its latest quarterly report that Android still isn’t making much money – or at least not as much as it could. While Android is reaching towards 50% smartphone market share in nearly every world market, Google CEO Larry Page said that it still has a long way to go. ” We are in the early stages of monetization for a number of our new products, and Android is one of those.”

That seems like a strange thing to say about a platform that now stretches across a quarter-billion devices, with 11 billion downloads from the official Android Market. But remember that Android is open source -while Google vets devices for use with the Market, it charges no fees for the software itself. The primary method for Google’s Android monetization is assumed to be advertising – just like Google’s web services, its mobile strategy is cornered on selling ads. Even when Android is heavily modified, as on the Amazon Kindle Fire or inexpensive Chinese smartphones, Google still benefits from web use.

But how much? The company isn’t saying. While Google’s advertising revenue exceeded 10 billion dollars for the fourth quarter of 2011, it’s not required to disclose how much of that is coming from mobile sources. And if Page’s comments are anything to go by, it hopes to start making more than it is at the moment. While Android’ growth on the smartphone side of things may reach a saturation point by the end of 2011, inexpensive tablets are gaining a larger and larger share of the market against Apple’s iPad.

[via The New York Times]