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How many Android phones have been activated? (Updated)

The following chart shows the reported (circled points) and estimated (lines) for Android activations. The resolution of the sampling is every seven days.

If we take these estimates and then compile a cumulative total of activations we get the green line in the chart below.

The wrinkle in the picture is that Google also occasionally reports cumulative estimates of total Android shipped. They are shown as the blue circles in the chart above. There is some room for error as the cumulative totals may not be reported the same day they happen and the assumptions in the activation rates may not be reflecting occasional slowing.

However that leads to a problem. By adjusting for the reported totals we get the orange line. The trouble with it is that it has these improbable “kinks” where the total is adjusted down, something that is not happening in reality. It’s a kludge we need to make estimates fit reality. Normally, this is something we can sweep under the carpet, but with the size of the market, the errors creep up to tens of millions of unitis.

The first downward adjustment would have been 19 million in May. Today, the difference between the green line and the orange is about 25 million.

So the best we can say right now is that there have been between 224 and 253 million Android devices activated to date. Why Google does not report this data regularly and consistently remains a mystery.

Update: The data used in the charts above is available as a Google Docs spreadsheet here.

  • Anonymous

    Harace – I think 700k is the average in the pre-christmas weeks that traditionally generate > 2X usual sales. I think the daily activation number for all Android devices Oct – Dec will be more in line of ~500K and stabilize next year at 400K due to increase competition from Windows Mobile and iPhone’s availability on more carriers.  

    • Anonymous

      By the way Apple has ~620k daily activations on average for all IOS devices this quarter based on your projections (we’d have to assume that ipod touch is ~50% of all ipod sales). Probably around 550K daily IOS activations in the “normal” weeks
       and ~800K IOS activations in the weeks leading to Christmas. 

      • aashish

        Is there a link to the iOS activations data? 

      • r.d

        Apple’s number will be shipped. not sold, not activated.
        granted they are being sold as soon as they get to the store.
        but in June quarter, Apple had 5 million iphones in the Channel
        when they shipped 20 million.

    • Tim F.

      I don’t think so. We had Schmidt in the beginning of December saying 550,000 when others believed it would already be much higher, and we already knew 550,000 back in July. Android supporters are shocked by the slackened growth, I would be blown away if growth has been more or less stagnant since July. I think it’s far safer to say Schmidt was being safe at the start of December, and now Rubin is confident that a 700,000 per day estimate will be sustained and it’s safe to say so a couple of weeks later rather than supposing this is only indicative of holiday sales.

  • Westechm

    There seems to be a lot more churning with Android phones than with iPhones.  I wonder how many activated phones are still inuse.  Could you dig up data to compare phones in use for the two operating systems?

    Also, the question of whether an OS upgrade of an Android phone counts as an activation has never been answered to my satisfaction.

    • Canucker

      Google claims that they do not count an OS upgrade as a new activation, nor re-activations after a sale (I guess they restrict their counts to unique IMEIs). The meaning of the data is perhaps two-fold. Firstly to indicate to customers that they are buying into a growing (winning?) ecosystem.  Secondly, to remind the OEMs that they are gunning for domination….

      • Westechm

        I know that Google claims that they do not count an OS upgrade as a new activation.  My point is I don’t believe them.  Nor do I totally disbelieve them.  I would like to see some independent corroboration..

      • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

        If you don’t believe the person giving you the statistic on their OS, who should you believe? Should you believe Apple and the number of iOS activations they have? Should you ever believe Amazon on the number of Kindles sold if they ever reveal that number?

        If you start 2nd guessing stats that should be straight from the source, then the value of doing any type of analysis is greatly diminished. Analysis is only as good as the data you are given.

      • Tatil

        Device sales numbers are much harder to fudge, as it leads to sales revenue, which shows up on financial statements, which gets audited by (semi) independent accounting firms. Not every metric has a similar quality. 

      • Anonymous

        That’s why most companies aren’t reporting devices sold, but shipped. Other than Apple, that is. We’re seeing a great discrepancy once figures from several quarters are looked at. One can infer sales from those diminishing shipped numbers, but they are just guesses. In theory, they don’t have to give those numbers as long as they’re below the amount that’s “material” to the financial statement. And that may give us some idea as well. But I’m not sure what percentage is considered to be “material”.

      • Tatil

        It depends on your business model. If you ship it to carriers and shops, who has to pay within 30 days and cannot return unsold units, that should count as a sale in a legal and accounting sense. Calling it shipment clarifies it for shareholders who need to distinguish channel stuffing to get an estimate for sales in the next quarter for pricing the shares. 

        Most shipped phones will get sold eventually whether at a fire sale or not, so shipments will be equal to end user sales over a few quarters. Unless the developer cares whether the sales occurred in Q1 (shipment) or Q2 (end user sale), shipments constitute an accurate guide for the most part. Every now and then, there are big tech flops (webOS tablets or Playbook) that ruin this link, but I doubt anybody can claim to be fooled by HP or RIM in either of these cases. 

    • Anonymous

      Dang. Just skipped by your post as I asked the same question below. Sorry about that.

      “Churn”. What a euphemism. Not that you are obfuscating anything. Just the industry name for “losing a customer to the competition”. What a joke of a business model.

      Joe

  • Rob Scott

    Why do Google announce the activation rates when they are completely nonsensical!

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      I would not say they are nonsensical but they are obtuse. They make it difficult to measure success or failure and make it difficult to compare to alternatives.

      • Tim F.

        I also wonder if there is or is not a new definition of “activation.” It used to mean registered a Google ID with the Android Marketplace, but Rubin seems quite explicit about activating a data plan with a carrier. (It could lead to the sort of obscurity that occurred when Apple switched iPhone accounting methodology.)

    • Addicted4444

      Because Google’s announcing the rates is simply a marketing strategy.  As a result, they announce the numbers that make them look best in the eyes of developers, and consumers, who want to invest in a “winning” platform.

  • Davel

    Google does not care about these numbers.

    They care about how many search and ads are sold, probable gross numbers by platform, rate of change, etc.

    These other metrics are irrelevant to them as far as their business and how they measure it is concerned.

    • Canucker

      Yes, but there is presumably some relationship between devices activated and eye balls of advertisements. Given the relatively thin click through of mobile ads (one reason the ads are there is that the owner didn’t want to pay for an ad-free app – are they really going to be interested in what is being advertised?), this is a numbers game.  The more devices there are, the more eyeballs. 

      • Anonymous

        Great point.

        Ads work when all users are used to it being free (websearch etc). But when people are not used to something being free, and there is a choice between premium units & free advertisement supported units (Mobile Apps etc) then ads have much less conversion potential on the users who choose the free ad-supported choice.

      • Fake Tim Cook

        I’d guess it is approximately 2 eyeballs per android device sold.

      • Just Iain

        While 2 seems natural ;)  there will be some sharing going on. Not a lot as cell phones seem pretty ubiquitous in North America.

      • davel

        Yes. I agree. But does Google care to track how many activations are upgrades? How many devices drop off? Perhaps not. Maybe it is just noise to them and the rate of growth correlates to their business while the other items are too hard to glean and ultimately not worth the effort.

  • Anonymous

    Actual daily activations will of course have peaks and troughs. Naturally, Google PR will use the peaks when it comes time to brag about activations (and possibly tend to round up), so it’s not surprising that the numbers won’t quite add up if you extend those peak rates across the whole timeline. It looks like the actual daily average activations are about 10% lower than what Google puts in its press releases.

    • http://wmilliken.livejournal.com/ Walter Milliken

      This was my first thought also.  I can see only four possibilities for the discrepancy:

      1) Some devices are “activated” multiple times (which Google explicitly denies)

      2) Devices are being activated before they’re being shipped (implausible)

      3) The information about shipments is delayed relative to the activations numbers (looks like about one month would do it); this would make sense if the “shipped” number is reported indirectly via the hardware vendors, but the activation number comes directly from Google. However, unsold channel inventory should push the numbers the other way, so the lag would have to be somewhat more substantial to include the channel delay time.

      4) The “activations” number is noisy, as famousringo suggests, and may even be being reported somewhat erroneously as “700,000 every day” for marketing reasons. Integrating the first derivative to produce the total, especially when the derivative is infrequently sampled and subject to reporting bias, is a bit suspect mathematically.

      Of these, I consider both 3) and 4) plausible explanations

      The other question is how exactly Google derives both the activation and sale numbers. Presumably they have no direct access to device sales numbers (since they charge no license fee, they don’t necessarily even need to have this reported to them).

      Activation numbers presumably come from some kind of “phone home” feature during the setup process. It’s hard to see why this would be from Google account integration, since I assume the phones can be used without setting up or binding the device to an account. Also, devices which aren’t officially “Android” (don’t include Google apps) may not do this — I can’t see the Kindle Fire gifting Google with any information, for example, nor the Chinese forked versions.

      Horace, could you include the worldwide sales estimates from Gartner etc. in the graph? Though they seem to count anything Android-derived as an actual Android device, so it may not be very informative….

    • Anonymous

      I’m with Ringo, they’re reporting peaks, which of course won’t match the cumulative totals.

      • Anonymous

        Evidence?

    • Anonymous

      Another perspective could be they are circumspect and round down to make sure they are not over reporting.

      You have some evidence to back up your statement that daily average activations are 10% lower?

      I’m not sure why Google does not report more often on activation and total numbers of Android devices

      https://plus.google.com/u/0/112599748506977857728/posts/Kkjf8oESTZs#112599748506977857728/posts/Kkjf8oESTZs

      …and for those wondering, we count each device only once (ie, we don’t count re-sold devices), and “activations” means you go into a store, buy a device, put it on the network by subscribing to a wireless service.

      If you don’t accept that then you are accusing of Rubin of knowingly telling an untruth – fine anyone can disprove this?

      At the end of the day all these figures banded about are cheerleading for their respective platforms for consumers and developers. Before Apple was touting the number of ios based cellular devices if Android overtakes this then they will switch to some other metric or measure. Thats the nature of the message it’s not set in stone.

      • Anonymous

        The most compelling evidence is the second chart in this post. The green line and the orange line are both extrapolated from official Google statements. The green from daily activation statements and the orange from total activation statements. The green line is consistently around 10% higher than Google’s reported total activations. Either the actual average daily activations (notice they just say “daily”, never “average daily” when describing them) are lower than the numbers Google is boasting, or Google sucks at counting their total activations.

        And I’m not accusing Rubin of lying. I believe they really had 550,000 or 700,000 activations in one day. At worst, I’m accusing Rubin of being misleading, which is exactly what a marketer or PR person is hired to do, so I don’t see why it’s a big deal here.

      • Anonymous

        Was Apple misleading over the Antennagate?

        The problem is here that there is not enough data to make a reliable conclusion and so any conclusion made is fraught with caveats yet it hasn’t stopped many delivering their verdict.

        The issue of the number of activations whether its an average daily, weekly etc is a fair point but I haven’t seen the same question asked of Apple calculation of daily activations. So in respect of fairness how does Apple calculate its activations numbers?

      • Anonymous

        Apple has an inventory of shipments and retail stock, and as I understand it, even the retail stock of authorized resellers. Apple knows what stock it has produced, what stock is in the channel, and what stock has been sold to an end user. The numbers reported in Apple financials are units sold to end users, not units shipped into the channel.

        As for “antennagate”, Apple could be said to have been misleading. It’s true that any cell phone will suffer attenuation if it’s held in a certain way (try walking into a basement or another location of marginal reception and wrapping as much of your hands around your phone as you can, wait a while and see how many bars you lose), but it’s also true that having an exposed antenna made the iPhone 4 prone to a type of attenuation that most phones aren’t prone to.

  • Anonymous

    Is it possible that google itself doesn’t know how many are being activated?

    • Anonymous

      As I understand it, you need an account with Google to activate a device, so no.

      Now that’s only for “full Android” devices with access to the Android Market and all those other Google apps. I don’t think Google has any idea how many Fires or Nooks or other “unofficial Android” devices get activated, and I don’t think those devices show up in Google’s stats.

      • Anonymous

        I’m not sure you do need an account with Google. You aren’t buying anything from them, and the manufacturers and carriers supply the OS updates(when they get around to it, if ever). If you’ve got a G-Mail account or other account you get that without buying an Android device, so I don’t know how that would relate. You register your phone with the manufacturer and the carrier. Where does Google come into it?

      • Just Iain

        Does anyone know if the OS ‘phones home’? It would only require a one time action.

      • Anonymous

        As I understand it, no Google account, no Android Market. It certainly isn’t necessary to use the Market, but few people will buy a smartphone and not even want to browse for a few free apps.

      • http://twitter.com/Marcos_El_Malo Marcos_El_Malo

        That’s somewhat of an assumption, possibly based on your personal experience and those of your associates. Great numbers of people are buying Androids as feature phone replacements. It is common for average users to purchase technology products and not use features.

        Could you clarify your hypothesis? What number were you thinking when you said “few”? One in ten? Three in ten? One in 99?

    • http://openid.aol.com/makesmelaughhard AppleKilledMobileFlash

      Android activations are like stars in the sky or grains of sand on a beach.  Plentiful but basically meaningless.  When Android activations are up to a million a day, it still won’t mean a thing to Apple or Apple shareholders.  I’m not even sure what the fuss is about.  Google’s Android business model is completely different from Apple’s, so the number of Android activations really doesn’t matter at all.

    • Rodegero

      When a new phone is activated, that particular device is registered to a Google account. Google has to identify that particular device in order to register it to you Google accounts (and use the market, etc.).

      If a device is not registered to a Google account, Google doesn’t know about it. Google has also chosen not to count devices that are registered, but don’t have a cellular data connection in this particular statistic. So, to answer your question, they know the numbers they are publishing, but no, they do not know how many Kindle Fires or Nooks have been sold.

  • Anonymous

    Seems to me a more important number, especially as Google sees no direct revenue from unit sales, is how many Android phones are being used? I’d also like to know that about iPhones, too.

    It is an old argument. We saw it in Major League Baseball with ball park attendance being counted as tickets sold versus people actually at the ball park.

    While each organization probably has similar reasons for glossing over the obvious, it seems the number of people actually at the ball park or Android phones in use in people’s hands has more meaning to vendors/developers and carriers.

    Google doesn’t _really_ care how many Android phones are sold or given away. Seems they should care about how many are being used, though. Although there is little reason to actually share those numbers outside of the office.

    Joe

    • Anonymous

      Good question about “in use.” I have a Galaxy Mini sitting right here doing nothing. I bought it a few months ago for about US$160 (unlocked, no contract). It’s an Android phone and technically it’s a “smart” phone, but I can’t imagine anyone ever actually using it for anything other than making calls and taking photos.
      Browsing the web is torture. The chances on someone ever clicking on a Google ad with it are barely above zero, and I can’t see how Samsung made more then $10 selling it. And yet it counts just as much as an iPhone or a true premium Android phone. The value of counting activations seems to be be in the same ballpark as judging a person’s health solely by weight.

      • Anonymous

        What’s the issue?  Why should cheaper smartphones not count?  Are you going to suggest next that we exclude all Blackberries since most don’t have touchscreens?

        As for browsing the web, once you get used to a larger screen, the iPhone can seem like a lousy web browsing experience.  Not to say the iPhone is bad, more that, these things are all personal preferences.  For an individual who does not require a highly capable device, a $160 smartphone is smart enough.

      • Anonymous

        I didn’t say it shouldn’t count. I said it counts as much as a premium Android phone or an iPhone, when clearly its value is far far less than that to both Google and the carrier. Almost negligible to Google.

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  • Darwin

    Google is full of it. Their activation numbers are nonsense. They count upgrades as activations, phones and devices of any kind as activations including those the use no Google services. It’s just a lie and Rubin is the head liar.

    • Tim F.

      Simply NO. There remains confusion and there could be much clarification, but most of what you said is wrong.

    • Ridiculous

      Care to back that accusation up, Darwin?

  • Walt French

    Recent news about Google Travel reminds us that Google also profits directly from selling you things. Given that they have essentially 0% share today of airline tickets, videos and so much else; and given the puny revenue streams from ads that are NOT growing at all proportionately to usage, I think the revenue/profit growth (and ergo, business plan) will increasingly resemble Amazon’s.

  • r.d

    700,000 means that Google will announce 300 million activation in April 2012.
    because Google took 6+ months to do 100 million from May-Nov 2011
    which is 550,000.
    Now if there number are fast and loose then 600,000 activation gets to
    100 million n 154 days instead of 143 days. 
    6 months = 182 days.
    Now if they were going exponentially then they should have already be 1 million.

  • http://twitter.com/dherb daniel h

    One factor causing some confusion is what exactly counts as an Android activation. Is it any device running a dalvik kernel and a cellular data connection? China and other markets have “feature” phones running Android variants under the hood but no data connectivity–do they count? Only handsets and tablets with a Google certified build and full suite of Google services? If we take Rubin’s assertion and definition of “activation” at face value we still don’t know what counts from the device side.

    • http://twitter.com/Oletros Oletros

      Months ago Rubin stated that only devices with Google services were counted

  • gbonzo

    Apple released directly comparable weekly activations numbers for propaganda purposes when they still could say they were ahead, but completely stopped publishing such a number when it became clear they have dropped behind Android.

    • gbonzo

      Daily, not weekly. Sorry.

    • Anonymous

      Even if they were to drop behind by, say, 50% that would still be amazing. People like to forget that Android is hundreds of different devices from tens (possibly hundreds) of manufacturers. iOS is a handful of devices from one maker.

      • gbonzo

        http://theapplebites.com/230000-ios-activations-a-day-google-hit-back
        I used “propaganda” to highlight that Apple sometimes released these figures when the comparison to Android for still favorable to them and then stopped. Apple essentially wanted to make that comparison back then, but now such a comparison is “pointless”?

        So, the device manufacturers release device sell-in figures. Basically the same amount of information given both by Apple and by the Android vendors. Google sometimes gives info of daily Android activations, but Apple no longer does so for iOS. It just happens that we can get a quarterly estimate for iOS if we estimate the iPod Touch numbers right, but anyway Apple does not give us that figure.

        So, to conclude: Why Google and Apple do not report this data regularly and consistently remains a mystery.

      • Anonymous

        So at one Apple event they showed off a daily breakdown of the quarterly results they normally issue as a point of interest. This is not propaganda or extraordinary in any way. You’re twisting events to suit the argument you want to make.

      • gbonzo

        Not just one event:
        http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/18/apple-google-activations/ 

        Both Apple and Google were occasionally revealing these figures back then. Now Apple has stopped doing so.

        So why only bitch to Google for not reporting this data regularly and consistently?

      • http://twitter.com/studuncan Stu Duncan

        Apple reports iphones every quarter.  Here’s the last one.

        http://images.apple.com/pr/pdf/q411datasum.pdf

      • http://www.facebook.com/OhZhiKang Zhi Kang Oh

        Quarterly results and one single September Apple event does not equals to “occasionally”. 

        Now they only do so on quarterly results. This is called “consistency” unlike some random tweets. 

  • Rob Scott

    It would be nice if Horace were providing the data tables used with the graphs, so we can do our own calcs without having to search for the same info. I have a suspicion that he is being soft on Google here.
    The June update (500K/Day, 4.4% growth w/w) was the most specific and contained more data, particularly the growth rate w/w. Google gave us all that info to push a certain agenda and we need to hold them to it.People are skating around this issue because it is bad for Google/Android and possible want to avoid the controversy of holding Google to their numbers. That is a form of intellectual dishonesty as far as I am concerned.

    The discrepancy highlighted here is just a tip of the iceberg, the reality is that Android has slowed down significantly especially compared to Google lofty expectations communicated in the June announcement.

    If anything iOS devices have continued to increase their daily rate, whereas Android devices has slowed down.

    We make major decisions on these data points and Google has been misleading us.

  • Rob Scott

    As I suspected Horace is too sweet to Google:

    7-4-2011 Google announces 500K activations per day at 4.4% growth a week (I think the date is off but that is another discussion, the announcement is more like 28th June by Andy Rubin on twitter)
    7-18-2011 Google says the rate of sale is now 550K/day with 135 million Android devices. Please note that based on the 7-4-2011 announcement Android should be at about 545K/day, so this is an improvement.
    From this we learn that the 4.4% growth rate is holding. I do not understand then why Horace drops it because the next update on activation rate is on 12-26-2011.

    The estimated activation rate should be based on the  7- 4 -2011 announcement with 7-18-2011 a control (which held by the way). so until 10-17 Horace should have had no other number than what was suggested by Google.
    Calibrating with  actuals after the fact is cheating. Or at least show us what the numbers should have been based on Googles published numbers prior to the 17th time bomb.
    From the 17th you a free to update the numbers seeing that Google has no clue whatsoever as to what is the activation rate of their platform.

    I am not that sweet, I hold them to their announcement till, this update – the 26th update. And the are off 2X.

    I suspect that Horace updated his numbers looking more on total units reported, which by 10-17-2011 were lagging far behind than the 7-04 or 7-18th updates would have suggested. By about 10 million units then.

    But then why he doesn’t highlight this major adjustment/development. This devastating slowdown of the activation rate of the Android platform?

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  • Westechm

    I would like to know how many smart phones are actually sold in a period, and at any given time how many smart phones are actually in use, as opposed to sitting in the back of a desk drawer.

    The number of phones sold is a measure of how a company’s business is doing.  

    The number of phones in use is a measure of the owner satisfaction and the market size for application developers.

    I find that activations is a poor metric.  If you are talking about OS activations it obscures the size of the individual components.  Phones which are handed down and reactivated confound the number of new phones sold.  If phones are found wanting and are relegated to the trash and replaced it confounds the number of phones actually in use.

    • Anonymous

      Not this argument again. Andy Rubin has been specific in his statements about the definition of an activation. Re-activations don’t count.

      • Anonymous

        kEiThZ,  I don’t think he is simply stating the re-activation argument.  What about users who take back a serailzed/SIM laden handset for bad mfg or poor performance?  replacements in warranty? upgraded handsets?  But I also see Westechm talking phones when it clearly is the o/s Android.  No difference for phones and non-phone activations.  Getting to phone/tablet/and version activations is important.  Knowing if Fires and Nooks are included in these numbers? 

        GOOG knows a lot more about activations than Andy Rubin is letting on.  -RJ

      • Westechm

        When I buy a new iPhone
        I give my old one awy to one of my children or grandchildren. Itis the activated under a new name.

        There are people who upgrade their phones frequently and discard the old ones. New phone, but not an increase in the number of users.

        My feeling is that the former is more likely to occur with the iPhone, and the latter more likely to occur with a phone using Android.

        How many phones a company sells is a measure of how good their business is but is not a good measure of how many phones are in use. It’s a bit like selling new cars. People trade them in or junk them. There are no GM Pontiacs sold but there are a lot still running.

      • http://ximagin.co/thecw/ The CW

        how is it not an increase in the number of users when you give a used phone to a family member? you had a phone (1 user) you bought a new phone (still 1 user). you gave a used phone to your kid (a second user). 

        Am I missing something here?

      • Westechm

        Sorry, I am having a problem using my iPad on the Acela. It does increase the number of users.
        What I want to know is how many iPhones and Android phones have been sold and how many are still being used (not trashed).
        OS activation are of little use in answering these questions.

      • Anonymous

        But again, you are applying the metrics that are suitable to the business model of your favourite tech brand to another company.

        Apple can tell you how many phones they’ve sold because they sell phones.  Google can only tell you activations because that’s all they see.  They don’t know how many phones Samsung or Sony Ericsson have shipped and sold, until the devices are activated.  And I really don’t see how they can count Kindle Fires either.  Heck, even the browser on the KF routes through Amazon.

      • Anonymous

        But again, you are applying the metrics that are suitable to the business model of your favourite tech brand to another company.

        Apple can tell you how many phones they’ve sold because they sell phones.  Google can only tell you activations because that’s all they see.  They don’t know how many phones Samsung or Sony Ericsson have shipped and sold, until the devices are activated.  And I really don’t see how they can count Kindle Fires either.  Heck, even the browser on the KF routes through Amazon.

      • Georgio

        Yes, they do *not* count devices that don’t connect to a cellular data network, nor do they count devices that don’t ship with Google App Market. Both conditions apply to the Fire.

      • Narayanan

        I think it is better to take some time to read the points before dismissing them.
        The number of Android activations are certainly not supported anecdotally(e.g.; public sightings) nor with usage metrics such as web browsing, photo uploads, app downloads and other metrics. Clearly all the pieces of the jigsaw are not falling into place.

        The simplest explanation is that Android is taking over the “feature phone” role to the average Joe who is using it as a replacement for his Razr equivalents- Nothing more nothing less. These “activations” are not bringing in the expected value to GOOG or Samsung, etc (ref;iOS still brings more than two thirds of GOOG’s mobile ad revenue). 

        So what has all these activations achieved => strangling the market off NOK, MSFT, RIMM etc. 

      • Anonymous

        Or the unknown millions of non-approved emerging Chinese Android phones – a factor that will assume increasing importance over time.

      • vitriolix

        Actually the activation numbers align perfectly with actual sightings and web browsing usage:

        http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/05/statcounter-android-web-browser-claims-biggest-user-share/

        I see more Android devices “in the wild” now for sure, I tend to count them when I get on the subway for my commute (I’m a mobile app developer so I care)

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        Prior to this quarter did you observe Opera users as a majority during your commute?

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  • Anonymous

    Because of fragmentation does anyone else see the need for google to breakdown the version of android for activations?

    For instance, I wouldn’t consider kindle fire activations a benefit to google. Also, are the versions on android being activated are available for future updats? Or are they like over versions where a new update needs new hardware specs?

    • http://twitter.com/Oletros Oletros

      Kindle Fire is not counted, nor is Nook tablet

      • Anonymous

        Out of curiosity, how do you know that?

      • http://www.facebook.com/jonathanf Jonathan Fingas

        They don’t count because they don’t have cellular links — Google only counts devices that hop on a phone network.  So it means the real number of Android devices is actually higher, but it also doesn’t count meaningful parts of its ecosystem (Wi-Fi tablets, for example).

      • Marcosvictoer

        Also, they only count devices that ship with Google Market – in other words, Google sanctioned devices. Even if the Fire or Nook had 3g, they would still not be counted, as the makers have altered the open-source platform and effectively created their own version of it.

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  • http://flyingdingo.com rickroberts

    Further, what does “activated” even mean? I know what it means for phones, but if I buy a wifi device, it doesn’t really get “activated”. Does Google count wifi devices? How do they do it?

    • Alan

      According to Andy Rubin, Google counts as activations only new devices bought from stores which are then activated with wireless (cellular) accounts. What I’ve never seen is how many devices are deactivated and how many of those are then reactivated by someone else vs. discarded.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        Google also qualified the devices as having “Google services”. I suppose that excludes many devices whose vendors use Android as a basis for their own platform.

      • Georgio Harper

        Yesh, it is only devices that ship with Google App Market, therefore, they are not counting Nooks or Kindle Fires.

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/TGZ75URQ6DKTCNXV3RV36ZKALQ Matthew

    If you give away your OS for free to the phone manufacturers, of course they’ll take you up on that offer.  They’re gonna gunk up the phone with all sorts of crap anyway, so they don’t care if you put some Google crap on there too, from their point of view.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5IOGV6QAFJBFRQ35ZAKZRVFXFA Husain

      better than the closed minded, hostile-to-others, anti competition IOS isuckers. 

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  • teddy

    Do you know Eddie Nellon the astronaut?