BARCELONA (Reuters) - Google's Chief Executive Eric Schmidt declared the age of the mobile phone had come as volume, growth and new capabilities had come together in an unprecedented way.

Speaking for the first time at Mobile World Congress, the telecom industry's biggest annual fair, Schmidt said the point has come where the best developers wanted to create applications for mobile devices first, before thinking about desktop PCs.

"There's an implication of this that I think has not been expressed, here, or in the industry as a whole," Schmidt told a packed auditorium in Barcelona on Tuesday. "It's the principle of mobile first."

"I'm enormously proud to be part of this. I'm proud to be here," he said.

Google has raised hackles in the industry by launching a smartphone platform -- Android -- selling its own-branded phone directly to consumers without the mediation of carriers, and announcing plans to build a super-fast broadband network.

"It's like magic. All of a sudden there are things that you can do that didn't really occur to you... because of this convergence point," he said.

"That time is upon us -- right now, right here, for this year and at least the next many years."