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Activating 5.6 million units per day

Google reported a new activation rate milestone: 1 million/day.

The rate of activations has been increasing steadily which leads to a question: how high can it go?

The answer is easy to determine. It can go no higher than the sales rate of phones and tablets and PCs. So what’s that sales rate? The answer is to take sales (shipments actually) per category and cast the data as “activations”.

The result is shown in the chart below:

Defined as “activations” device and computers are being adopted at the rate of about 5.6 million units per day.

As a percent of total activations, Android is running at about 15% and iOS is at 10%. Android has already overtaken Windows activations and with the new iPhone, it’s likely iOS will do as well this year.

In terms of available headroom this means that iOS and Android are running at a combined share of 25% of available activations.  They both should consider that three quarters of the opportunity is left to go.

Will iOS and Android reach a duopoly in terms of activations, topping 5 million per day? Probably not, at least not without some fragmentation or platform diversification (to put it nicely). Nevertheless, 3 to 4 million per day seems an easy target to set.

  • http://twitter.com/ChristianPeel Christian Peel

    Minor: We often talk about Apple’s per-*quarter* results or estimates of their quarterly returns. So it took me a while to parse the following sentence “They both should consider that three quarters of the opportunity is left to go.” I suggest replacing “three quarters” in this context with “75%”, since you used “25%” in the previous sentence.

    BTW, looking forward to my t-shirt

  • http://twitter.com/samrzrkat Samer Zureikat

    Communications infrastructure will need to migrate aggressively to mobile to allow iOS and Android to grow into that headroom.

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

      45% of global population is now covered with 3G. 90% has 2G. I believe the 3G figure will grow quickly. http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/facts/2011/material/ICTFactsFigures2011.pdf

      • Sharat Buddhavarapu

        And the stats in this video claim that in Africa 50% of the 110 million internet users access the web via mobile:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kamlf-uAHU&feature=player_embedded#!. Those 110 million represent a 2,357% growth in internet users over the past 10 years. So I think the infrastructure around the world is ready for the explosion Horace is talking about. As computing shifts from an enterprise, or “nerdy”, mentality to a consumer activity, I think mobile devices can only do better and better. We still haven’t seen the impact of the markets that the iPhone and iPad opened up.

      • -hh

        Last I looked at the stats for the African continent, much of that web access with mobile was still being done with Feature phones, not high end Smartphones. The problem that I see with these statistics is that while iOS = smartphone, the same isn’t true with Android: we really don’t know how much of Android’s pickup is simply as the OS in a Feature phone. That ambiguity and channel bleed-over is what muddies the waters for how much real uptake exists in the Smartphone segment of Android (the only piece that really is directly comparable to their MS & Apple competitors).

        -hh

  • http://twitter.com/e_orione Emilio Orione

    In iOS have you added the apple tv sales?

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

      No.

      • Space Gorilla

        Question: If we’re talking about a platform, could we look at it as a platform of data or content, in which case we would have to include not only iOS devices, but MacBooks (Air, Pro), Macs, and Apple TVs. All of Apple’s devices are tied into the same ecosystem, why not count all those devices as single platform which encompasses handheld computing devices, tablets, laptops, and desktops?

  • FalKirk

    “As a percent of total activations, Android is running at about 15% and OS is at 10%. Android has already overtaken Windows activations and with the new iPhone, it’s likely iOS will do as well this year.”

    By the end of the year, not one, but TWO operating systems will be bigger than Windows.

    Unimaginable, unbelievable, astounding, astonishing, breath-taking, stupefying, amazing, dumb-founding, startling, shocking, paradigm shattering….

    …words fail me.

  • FalKirk

    “As a percent of total activations, Android is running at about 15% and OS is at 10%. Android has already overtaken Windows activations and with the new iPhone, it’s likely iOS will do as well this year.”

    By the end of the year, not one, but TWO operating systems will be bigger than Windows.

    Unimaginable, unbelievable, astounding, astonishing, breath-taking, stupefying, amazing, dumb-founding, startling, shocking, paradigm shattering….

    …words fail me.

    • Walt French

      finally, the Year of Linux on the palmtop. (…on the desktop: TBA.)

      • claimchowder

        Linux on the desktop has been bogged down by its lack of a real window system. X based window systems offer no abstraction for the drawing pane, so effectively a programmer has to write code for every possible output device (screen, every type of printer, file, fax, etc)l and there is no standardized way to copy/paste marked up text. OSX is based on Display PDF: code once, output to every conceivable device and copy/paste without bothering about device or coding specifics.

        For some (apparently religious) reason, the Linux community has for decades refused to acknowledge this. Sad.

      • Walt French

        Is it exaggerating to say that the lack of a unified imaging model (remedied by Android devices’ one-driver-per-device) was what singlehandedly kept Linux confined to servers?

        Almost 30 years after first Mac, I guess that might matter. But, still.

      • claimchowder

        I honestly believe it is only slightly exaggerating. Basically the missing “real” window system is a reflection of the complete lack of emphasis on end user experience and quality control in the Linux universe.And that has kept Linux away from the desktops of the mass market.
        Windows also lacks emphasis on end user experience but at least they got the window system right. Linux just cloned the optical appearance of a windows desktop without its functional background, so who would use that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=690232720 Charles Bouldin

    Ballmer: We Will ALWAYS Be In The Windows Era

    “We are in the Windows era, we are now and we always will be.”

    Proven wrong six months later. Of course, MICROSOFT will always be in the Windows era, but everyone else has moved on.

    http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-11-15/tech/30400512_1_steve-ballmer-app-makers-post-pc-era#ixzz1z7f71vyA

    • FalKirk

      Fantastic take. Spot on.

    • claimchowder

      As MacDailyNews so aptly puts it: “May Steve Ballmer remain CEO of Microsoft for as long as it takes!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=681606206 Philip Bath

    Even today, most new Android activations are release 2.3, even though 4.0 has been out for a year. Android’s 15% of total activations is perhaps 12% Gingerbread 2.3, plus 3% Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0. Google has no way to bring 2.3 users up to date. Even if they buy a new phone today, most will still be on 2.3.

    A living platform needs to carry users forward with it in a herd, or else it isn’t really a single platform. A new release of Windows was immediately adopted by PC makers, drove new hardware sales, and the prior release became unavailable. Google achieves none of these with Android, but Apple IOS does even better than Microsoft Windows, moving existing users forward with each new release.

    • Mike Wren

      I suspect that many Android phones are just used as a glorified feature phones for calls, messaging, email and maybe Facebook and Twitter. These kinds of users install few apps which is one reason Android only generates 24% of the app revenue of IOS in spite of the larger installed base. And Android users account for only 23% of mobile web traffic compared with IOS’s 72%. So most Android vendors aren’t motivated to have the latest and greatest Android version since few of their customers care about such things. I’ll bet many cell phone consumers don’t even know what Android is. They just go to their carrier store to buy a phone.

    • http://twitter.com/feddie feddie

      Flagship US devices with 4.0 are only just being released.  Expect the much touted low adoption rates to skyrocket with the Galaxy S3 and HtC1X which will be top sellers on most carriers.  With adoption rates rising so quickly, the pace of upgrades to old phones is less important for increasing the percentage of all phones at 4.0 plus.

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  • GaneshNayak

    Horace,

    I discovered your blog just today and by far one of the best writing I encountered. Your analysis is superb and the graphs are wonderful. I have been reading your blog continuously for the past few hours :)

    Coming to Android, reading your posts made me realize how tough it has been (and is) for Google. Some of your posts during early days of Android (Like, Android is sure to fail, Samsung won’t go with Android, Google wont succeed because of execution skills is not unique to Google) gives a good idea of how well Android has done over the years relatively.

    Ofcourse future growth and success is not guaranteed, but given the recent history, I would bet on Google success rather than failure.

    Now that Google has bought Motorola, everyone is professing that Google will surely fail since it does not have hardware experience… Again, Google may turn around the moto business

    Personally, I (and many millions in emerging countries) have benefited immensely from Android.

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

      Android has expanded the availability of smartphones to a very large degree. It’s a market expansion similar to what Windows allowed for personal computing but much faster. Many changes are still to come however.