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Third to a billion

Android is the third platform to reach a billion users[1] .  The first was Windows and the second was Facebook. Apple sold around 650 to 700 million iOS and is expected to be the fourth to a billion sometime next year.[2]

If we define the Race To a Billion to be bounded by a time limit of 10 years, then Windows does not qualify and Android is actually second. The race is shown in the following graphs (the one on the left is logarithmic scaled, the one to the right includes only a few contenders for illustrative reasons).

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 9-6-4.06.29 PM

Android’s activations as reported are shown in the following graph:

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 9-4-1.15.38 PM

Without qualification, Android has been a viral success story. It reached one billion activations in about five years, almost half the time it took FaceBook and far faster than Windows.

However, Android growth can be qualified. I added another set of data which is the number of US Android phone users as deduced from measurements by ComScore.[3]

One way to read the two graphs is: Between March and August, of the 250 million Android devices activated, 4 million were to new Android consumers in the US. In other words, In the last six months, 1.6% of Android activations went toward new usage in the US. The equivalent figure for iOS is about 6%. Note that these are new users, not included are upgrades. It’s likely that more of the US buying goes toward upgrades because iOS has been in use longer.

So whereas Android is growing very rapidly, there is a question of reliability of that audience. Engagement is one thing, but in the market which shows highest penetration (and deepest distribution of an alternative) Android is peaking.

 

Notes:
  1. Although activations are not users, I’m assuming that usage is not far behind and the cumulative sales figures I gather are roughly comparable. []
  2. Separately, iTunes reports 575 million account holders. []
  3. ComScore surveys users on their primary phone. Survey includes only those aged over 13 years and excludes phones issued by businesses. []
  • obarthelemy

    The US are not 1st, but only 13th, in smartphone penetration. The 12 other countries show both a much higher Android share, and no peaking. Maybe the two are linked (subsidies, home turf, Apple Stores…)

    • vatdoro

      I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.

      I don’t have the time right now to add up the population of those 12 countries, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the US has a higher population then the rest of those countries combined.

      • obarthelemy

        By granting it “most penetration” status, Horace is trying (again !) to position the US as a predictor of an Apple-colored future. That’s very contentious on 2 fronts:
        1- the US are not the “most penetration” market
        2- they’re an extremely atypical market

        size is irrelevant to both issues.

      • StevenDrost

        The price parity which subsidies bring is the interesting thing about the US market and why it CAN effectively show what will happen when price parity is reached in Europe and China.

      • obarthelemy

        Subsidies don’t mostly bring price parity: they mostly bring a hammer to the mid and low end.

      • Lun Esex

        Hmm. “iPhone 5C: The lower-cost iPhone hammer to the mid and low end in non-U.S. markets.”

        Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but…

      • macyourday

        Does the C stand for China?

      • DarwinPhish

        I think Horace quotes US number a lot because, well, there are a lot of usable US numbers and the US is a large market. I don’t know if there is equivalent comScore or similar data for other countries/regions.

        Also, the US is, I believe, the largest market in which Android and iOS devices are pretty much equally available (i.e. offered by all major carriers/distributors). This is not the case in Japan, China, India, Russia, Brazil and many other markets.

      • obarthelemy

        2 things:
        1- the EU numbers are also widely available to, and the market is of equivalent size (I seem to remember it’s actually a bit bigger). The Asian market seems well-covered too.
        2- Apple is perfectly distributed in Europe too. Not so sure about Asia, plus we wouldn’t want to bias the analysis by using Samsung’s home turf. Oh, wait…

        The issue is not with quoting the numbers, it is with positioning the US as the harbinger of things to come to all other markets. Again, the US is neither a more advanced, nor a very representative market. At all. It’s actually very different from everywhere else.

      • DarwinPhish

        If there are comparable stats from other markets which contradict Horace’s points, please share them.

      • poke

        The US market is most important for platforms because it has large, mature software market.

      • Jessica Darko

        Funny how you would dare say anything about iOS success when you have ZERO actual sales for android and are just pushing a completely frabricated story about android penetration.

        Until you have actual audited sales numbers, you’re just another lying android zealot.

      • obarthelemy

        Wow. Just wow.

      • mieswall

        According world bank data, population of those countries is 602m. Smartphones, with % given in obart’s chart, would be 361m. USA alone 175m, almost half of the total. Where, according to comScore, in 2012-2013 IOS grew from 29.5 to 40.4%, while android from 50.8 to 51.8%… and that is: with just one new phone in all that time (against zillions of android), production yield issues, and no big screens.

        If in that half of the total grows at 1.6%, how does android manages to get the other 98.4%…? Even more, given the fact that in most of those countries (as in most of the developed ones) IOS is growing much faster (even in Spain, according last data). Android is vaporware, as the usage patterns makes clear. Millions and millions of dumb phones in underdeveloped countries mapped as smarts.

      • mieswall

        But the math gets worse: Discounting those countries, and counting only those with a per capita of over $5000 (do you agree that people with less income is not thinking in smartphones, but instead in how to feed themselves?), the number of people is 2800m, in some 80 other countries. If penetration, that starts from 55% may approach, say, 30%, we would have about 840m smartphones in use there.
        In the last 3 months android grew 2.2m in USA. That accounts for 1.6%. The other 98.4%, about 140m phones, would have been covering basically those 840m phones. So, Android, all of the sudden, in 3 months, sold more than 15% of all of the smartphones available in those countries? Ergo: Google lies blatantly about android penetration.

    • Jeff g

      Yes, although no one should be surprised that the lower cost product has higher market share. We also know that market share does NOT necessarily translate to:

      1) Higher profits margins
      2) Higher overall profit
      3) Enduring brand loyalty
      4) Prorata Web traffic
      5) More mobile ad impressions http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/06/with-tablets-and-ipods-added-apple-takes-3-of-top-4-mobile-device-spots-ranked-by-ad-impressions-says-millennial/
      6) Higher relative sales of Apps, music, movies
      7) Higher stock price
      8) Innovation
      9) A bunch of other other stuff.

      • obarthelemy

        indeed, but that invalidates the US as harbinger of things to come. It is NOT the most advanced market, nor is it typical (if such a thing exists)

      • StevenDrost

        These things move in cycles, its our turn now. Still waiting for the great French tech revolution. ;)

      • obarthelemy

        Minitel !

        Seriously, if they’d been smart enough to adapt the built-in micropayments, the Web would be different (and probably much better: actual money for content !). Minitel had a very instinctive billing system: by duration, depending on which number you accessed the servers trough, from free to a la carte pricing, with 5-6 predefined levels. It was per duration, not per amount of content, but they could probably have adapted that. Also it was secure, and somewhat managed (egregious rip-offs got dereferenced).

        Think about it: Google probably couldn’t function in that environment :-p There were a few ads though.

      • StevenDrost

        I just had to Google that. Thanks for the laugh.

      • obarthelemy

        Seriously though, we were doing online banking, booking taxis trains and hotels, and hooking up online in the eighties ;-p
        All on (free) 80-columns monochrome terminals @1,200bps

        That pic is barely a fake, only the name changed:

      • obarthelemy

        ..

      • obarthelemy

        Also, isn’t $20/mo unlimited mobile with interoperable networks and anti-lock-in laws a kind of revolution ? :-p

    • Datsond

      It maybe that the populations of the preceding 13 nations in the chart, when summed, equal less than half the US population as does the sum of all 14 non-US nations on the list.

      iOS market share is growing in the, large US population, iOS retains more users when time to upgrade, and attracts more users to switch from android than android can attracts from iOS.

      As someone mentioned Android is replacing Symbian but Andriod very well may be peaking when it comes to consumption and use of “Real” smartphones with “real” data plans.

      • obarthelemy

        At 75%-80% share wwide, Android *must* peak anyway.

        As to what defines “real”… I’m sure everyone has a definition that pushes their agenda. For homebound types, a smartphone with no data plan actually makes a lot of sense… just not a $600 one that’s only marginally better than a $200 one.

      • Jessica Darko

        You can’t prove that more than 10 M android phones have ever been sold… so when you say “%75 market share, you’re telling a blatant lie.

        Sad you can’t be honest.

      • obarthelemy

        Yes. Indeed.

      • willo

        You are one persistent troll. Sure, there aren´t any solid data on sold handsets, but 10 million? Give me a break. Stop coming up with numbers.

      • StevenDrost

        I disagree, previously only the highend Android phones were even usable for searching the web, now they are much improved. Android market share might peak, but its usage will likely climb as a result of the improved handsets. The unknown variable is how low Apple will go with pricing the 5C which will have dramatic effects on their market share and therefore usage.

      • obarthelemy

        Again, that’s looking only at the US figures, which is very Apple-biased (and thus popular here). The EU5 are a bigger market, with more sales, more penetration. They also have a much higher Android share, and no peaking.

        What is the reason to always use the US as THE example and forerunner, if not because it supports preconceived Apple bias ? And is the only big market doing so ?

    • TheBasicMind

      Actually ComTech have recently published evidence showing Android is peaking in the UK as well. iOS market share is increasing over Android there well now, backing up the earlier post Horace made on this topic. So that’s now two relatively wealthy mature markets where the trend has reversed. The reversing of the trend is beginning to become a trend.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/03/iphone_rises_android_slips_in_us_uk/

      • obarthelemy

        That’s 2 out of 13. Pick and choose much ?

      • StevenDrost

        2 of the most valuable. That counts. I will trade you East Asia, South America and the Middle East for North America and U.K., where platforms are concerned. Also what would happen if IPhones were sold at similar prices around the world like U.K and America?

      • obarthelemy

        gain, re-read the post, Horace is using the US as harbingers of things to come. How are they more representative than the others ?
        We’re not talking monetary value here, but example/forecast value. Is that so hard to understand ?

      • StevenDrost

        I’m using your own logic here. Subsidies are the reason the phone sells so well in America. Subsidies put IPhone on price parity with Android. Its hard to admit, but people prefer IPhones if they are priced the same as Android phones. If/when the phone comes down in price then it will reach price parity with many Android phones and steal market share in the places that don’t have subsidies. Making the US a great predictor for when it happens in the rest of the world.

      • obarthelemy

        No you’re not, or only partly.
        - subsidies are only part of the reason for the iPhone’s success in the US. Apple Stores density, culture, history, “designed in California” (for californians) also have an impact.
        - subsidies main effect is to kill the low and mid range. Prices coming down will lessen the differences, but not annihilate them the way subsidies do in the US, were phones below $450 ($0 on contract) don’t have a raison d’être.
        - people don’t prefer iPhones wwide. the 2 high-end Samsung models sold broadly as much outside of the US, and you’ve got to add the other Android high-end models to that.
        - The phone won’t come down in price per se, there’ll be a cheaper model. That has a very complicated impact (plastic iPhones -> brand image, margins, cannibalization…)

      • Jessica Darko

        So disingenuous, from someone whose using a made up “activations” number to support your claim that android is winning… in the face of audited ACTUAL SALES numbers for iOS.

        Lie much?

      • obarthelemy

        Someone hurt your kitty ?

      • Shameer Mulji

        Sounds like someone hasn’t played with it in awhile.

      • macyourday

        Seriously?

  • The Gnome

    When messing around testing an Android phone I activated and re-activated that thing many times… then sold the POS to someone else who did it at least once. Guess we count as over a dozen activations.

    Useless stat, useless number…

    • HR

      Not sure what agenda you’re pushing here exactly.

      Google has repeatedly stated that the reported activations number are unique.

      http://goo.gl/kQ1CS

      • Flexxer

        And yet the huge “activation” numbers are never reflected in real-world stats such as web browsing or e-commerce share…

      • HR

        Did I ever state that is was?

        The topic of the post is 1 billion activations.
        I didn’t take about active user base, engagement, monetization or any other metrics.

        It seems like there is a rabid desire to avoid giving Android credit for its rise.

        Deep breaths people.

      • Jessica Darko

        There are no one billion activations.

        There is a rabid desire for the truth, and a great tiredness at the kinds of lies you’re telling here.

      • 1sthand

        Web browsing stats? How is that being monitored? I set my browser on my phone to display the desktop page, not mobile version.

      • Tatil_S

        I’d feel more comfortable if the data came from an audited official source, rather than a tech blog rephrasing somebody’s words. In any case, I presume the activation numbers reflect, at least roughly, what they purport to show. Otherwise, somebody clever could compare smartphone hardware sales with activation numbers and notice a big discrepancy. In the early days, the numbers were small compared to the total phone market, but now a substantial discrepancy would not get lost in the rounding.

      • HR

        Do you have the same standards for Apple’s iOS activation data?

        There is no official audited source. Gartner, Forrester, IDC, all these companies use estimations based on partners and sources.

      • Jessica Darko

        Again, you’re lying. Apple reports numbers EVERY QUARTER in AUDITED filings with the SEC. So, don’t you pretend like there’s no sales data for Apple. Apple reports actual sales.

        Gartner, Forrester, IDC are all PAID by “partners” like Google to spread LIES. It’s propaganda, and if you believe it, you’re a fool.

        Apple’s numbers are audited. To pretend like expecting audited numbers is unreasonable is just dishonest… google doesn’t give real numbers because the real numbers are pathetic.

      • Walt French

        You might want to scan Horace’s site rules. Repeatedly accusing somebody of lying is way different than engaging in a discussion for everybody’s mutual benefit.

      • Tatil_S

        Yes. Shipment and carrier activation numbers are audited by one of the big four accounting firms. Those “written” announcements are also filed with SEC, where any lie leads to painful litigation and prosecution. You cannot lie on SEC disclosures and blame it on a misunderstanding during a conversation between the speaker and journalists or paper over it by saying one executive has regrettably misspoken in haste or some such.

      • Jessica Darko

        Yes, every time phone is activated, each time, it is a “unique” activation. 1 phone activated 1,000 times is 1,000 activations.

        It’s sad google has to lie about the situation, but it’s even more pathetic that you repeat the lie.

        these are not audited numbers, they are totally fabricated, fraudulent numbers.

        the agenda being pushed is liars want to spew made up numbers to pretend like android is “Winning”.

    • obarthelemy

      That’s false:

      1- “For those wondering, we count each device only once (i.e., we don’t count re-sold devices), and “activations” means you go into a store, buy a device [and] put it on the network by subscribing to a wireless service.” (Andy Rubin)

      2- Technically: devices have a unique ID, independent of their ROMs (think of it as an IMEI number), thus even flashing ROMs and reactivating, or even simply reactivating under a different Google account / username, doesn’t impact Google’s activations count. I’ve got an old Nook Color, on which I don’t do much but flash ROMs (12+ of them by now). It still shows up as only one device under my PlayStore account.

      • Jessica Darko

        No, you’re lying. Every time an android device is activated, it is counted. Google’s activation count is a bullshit statistic, and android fans like you try to rationalize it by telling lies like this.

      • melci

        Jessica. Please stop.

        I am the first to challenge the relevance of Google’s magic “Activations” figure, but you are going too far and destroy your argument.

        Flurry’s figure of 564 million Android devices actively using apps is a far more important number (compared to the 510 million iOS devices actively using apps) but this is far higher than your 10 million devices.

    • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

      About 2 years back I had a chance to stand in a very long line with a former member of the server side activation Android activation team. At that time the definition of an activation was: for a given Google ID when the device unique ID differed than the previous activated ID on that account. This would allow a user to reactivated a phone but have it counted once. If the phone was gifted, it would allow the new user to be counted that being the stat Google was interested in at the time. He cautioned treating Activations as unique units.

      That was about 2 years back and the logic may be very different now.

  • anon_coward

    most of these seem to be devices in third world countries sold on razor margins to people with limited data plans. almost like android is a replacement for qualcomm BREW OS

    • Jessica Darko

      none of them are devices sold. It’s just google with a room with a couple thousand devices in it going thru a constant cycle of re-activating themselves every couple of minutes.

      It’s a totally made up, bullshit number.

      Android sales numbers are not reported because they are pitiful. By not reporting them, gullible people like Horace repeat the propaganda of “analysts”.

      If horace keeps this up, he will become as much of a liar as Gartner and IDC and the other companies paid to spread this kind of propaganda.

      • macyourday

        Whoa there Jess. I thought I was a bit rabid about the roid bs but you’re taking it a bit personally. Just because the type of people that use roids are taking us back to,the dark ages (witness the election result in Australia where the stupid, greedy, mouth breathing, flip flop wearing, spiteful, ignorant masses have given license to the con men and car salesmen to finish selling off the country, mainly to Murdoch) because they’re happy to give away all their rights if they reckon they can save a bit of money, and buy knock-off garbage from Walmart that never actually does the job and goes to land fill and think its ok to support macdonalds, well think again.
        Horace can only use available information, but I don’t imagine the numbers are entirely fictional. Most of these users would be replacing dumb phones because there’s not much else available and they sort of look like the real thing. They have screen, hardly any buttons, what’s the difference? They’ve just saved $50-$100 bucks….bingo. Just because it’s cost them the rest of their privacy, what of it? They’re now on facespace spreading the stoopid.
        I bet the tracking information they provide is just icing on the cake. Can you imagine buying your own tracking device so that your location could be constantly monitored and recorded, never mind being overlaid with your call information. That would be crazy.

      • macyourday

        Damn those typos….editing isn’t working

    • obarthelemy

      So what ? Is that not a valid market, with jobs to be done as important as hipsters watching Youtube ?

      • macyourday

        So it’s hipsters that watch youtoob. I wondered who they were.

        Actually I didn’t, but good to know….or not

  • bitjokey

    It’s good that Android has 1 Billion activations, but what’s the meaning of it. Majority of the users of Android devices are not buying these devices because it has Android or they prefer Android over any other OS, they just want a cheap ‘smartphone’. because everybody else around them is using one. So number of activations as a stand alone metric does not say much.Looking at the 3rd graph tells us most of these are not in US and it’s known fact most of Android users are not smartphone users and use them as feature phones.

    • handleym

      This really is the point. The relevance of the number of activations depends on why you care about the number.

      If your goal is “rah rah, team Android”, well have fun.
      If your goal is “I can make money selling Android devices”, good luck…
      If your goal is “I can make money selling Android SW”, likewise good luck…
      If you goal is “I have a good idea for SW/a service, and maybe should support Android”, now we’re a little closer to reality.
      If your goal is “I want to buy into an ecosystem that will remain thriving”, again now we’re talking.

      However the last two goals (the only ones I consider sensible) no longer say “Android uber alles”, they say instead “Android is probably a viable choice” which is a substantially weaker statement (though still a statement that is true for Android, not so much for Win Phone, not at all for Blackberry).

      The latter two goals also are tempered by the question of WHICH Android ecosystem you support/adopt. We already have the Google/Amazon split, with a Samsung split likely, and a bunch of Chinese splits. These splits may not matter to you — but they may also matter a great deal.
      The closest analogy seems to be something like UNIX in the 80s and 90s. Yes, you could be buying into/developing for the UNIX world — but when the rubber meets the road, you were actually part of the SUN world, or the SGI world, or the AIX world, or …; and moving from one to the other was actually a whole lot more hassle than you might have imagined before you had to do it.

      • Jessica Darko

        Android is a failure in the marketplace. That’s why they won’t release sales numbers.

        Time for the mindless android fascists to put up or shut up.

      • doge

        What should be measured are the revenues from Android to Google, that define the willing to invest and continue in developing. Google want traffic on its sites…

    • obarthelemy

      Actually, more people with an Android phone get an Android tablet than people with an iPhone get iPads: goo.gl/4i3UJn page 27 vs 39

      • Kizedek

        Right, because iPhones are more useful and usable, and thus used …as smartphones.

  • obarthelemy

    Would it be totally invalid to also put dumbphones, TVs, radios, and landlines in there ? And Internet ?

    Apps apart, they’re also communication and content delivery platforms.

    I’ll stop at carrier pigeons though.

    • Walt French

      I’ve seen an adoption chart for the US in terms of percentage of households, (maybe, at Asymco?) and they are indeed interesting as a measure of the importance of a tech to the whole society.

      I think the one of most interest is the dumb-phone. I don’t think that dumb-phones are in the same market as smartphones, but that the border between the two markets is very porous. Probably very few people buck the trend of nonconsumption ⇒ dumbphone-user ⇒ smartphone-user.

    • DarwinPhish

      For what its worth, a little more than 1 billion TVs have been sold and there are well over 1 billion non-cellular phone lines. I think the winner from the last century is the FM radio with over 2 billion, though I could be remembering that wrong. Obviosly none of these meets Horace’s additional 10 year criteria.

  • http://coolchaser.com chaodoze

    What do you consider a platform? What about YouTube or Google Search?

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

      A platform is defined as a place where developers can build applications which ideally generate income.

      • melci

        Horace, I would argue that total Devices ever sold (activations) does NOT equal platform.

        Surely no-one argues that all of those Android devices sold up to 5 years ago are still in use particularly when such a large number are purchased as cheap glorified feature phones that are thrown away at end of contract as all the usage stats demonstrate.

        In fact Flurry reports that only 564 million Android devices are actively running apps compared to around 510 million iOS devices.

        In my books, this active installed base figure is far more important and is the figure that tells developers exactly how big each respective app platform actually is.

        Developer and ad revenue, browsing stats, e-commerce revenue etc then fine-tune exactly how lucrative each respective app platform actually is for a developer, advertiser or content provider – figures which still overwhelmingly favour iOS.

      • Walt French

        @melci wrote, “no-one would argue that all of those Android devices sold as long as 5 years ago are still in use…”

        OK, take away all of the ~50mm Androids sold more than 3 years ago — before Froyo made Android a competitive platform in my book — and push the 1 billion target back by 6 weeks or so. Ho hum.

        Yes, different people buy Androids to do different things than people buy iOS devices. (Heck, some people buy different iOS devices to do different things on them, amirite?) But what’s important to developers is very different than what’s important to a carrier, a web-based news service, etc. So also, different measures for different Jobs To Be Done. Wouldn’t think that one size fits all.

      • Space Gorilla

        I think the more interesting number is when (if?) iTunes hits a billion users.

      • melci

        Hi Walt, I would argue that a significant proportion of the 200 million Android devices sold up till two years ago were thrown away at the end of contract being as they were cheap and nasty glorified featurephones like my Huwaei X1 which I purchased for $79 only 18 months ago.

        Although it runs Froyo, it is so anaemic in the processing, RAM and screen size departments (2.8″) that I gave up trying to use it for apps, email or web and just used it as a dumbphone.

        Also, Horace is the one who stated “A platform is defined as a place where developers can build applications which ideally generate income.” I was pointing out that even amongst those Android devices that haven’t been thrown away at end of contract, their ability to contribute to the Android platform is severely constrained by their low-end “glorified feature phone” nature. Flurry’s figures provide stark evidence of this.

      • Walt French

        I don’t dispute your logic. But how does it read on the hundreds of millions of recent Android sales?

        I had fun combining the following quasi-facts: 30% of Apple’s iPhones go to the US. Iphone and Android split the US market 50/50. And Androids are outselling iOS globally, 80/20.

        With apologies for the possible distortions of approximations: for every 100 phones, 6 iPhones and 6 (mostly, higher-end) Androids are sold in the US. 14 iPhones and 74 Androids are sold in other nations. Unless I’ve made some error, those numbers are consistent with the starting assumptions.

        We know that in lower-income markets, and those with worse infrastructure (which tend to be correlated but are not absolutely), people buy lower-cost phones. China, India and Indonesia are three nations with relatively low per-capita income. (India’s is half China’s.) The have a relatively smaller fraction of the population who can afford a $100 phone; the majority do without, get a feature phone for $25 or get the least expensive possible Android. Only a tiny slice of the population can get iPhones or similar expensive devices, and they don’t have the data plans or lifestyle to browse eBay.

        This strikes me as the big difference globally: I count roughly three tiers: US-level income, Japan/Europe-level and China level. “Engagement” and throwing away “nasty” old phones can only happen in the US; the devices will get recycled in middle-income areas but low-income areas will not see the type of internet economy we are used to for some time.

        PS: many areas such as Spain and some oil economies have huge disparities between average income and young individuals’ incomes; this encourages usage in those countries to look more like featurephone usage than you’d think from looking at average GDP per capita.

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

        The active usage data is far better than activations but the measurement of cumulative sales/activations is something that can be obtained for many platforms from a primary source (the companies). Usage data depends on analytics from companies which come and go and whose reports are not always easy to obtain and whose data itself may have biases which we are unable to measure.

      • melci

        I didn’t say it was going to be easy! :-)

        I think this is the problem with analysing Android. Too many readily accessible big numbers that in terms of app platform and ecosystem are in fact red herrings and not nearly as useful as we’d like them to be.

      • obarthelemy

        I’m still not clear as to how most “applications” are that different from “content”.
        How is Angry Birds different from The Daily Show or the latest Lady Gaga ?
        Granted, there’s a quite small sub-category of apps that are used to actually produce output (Office, music…), but games and media apps fall into the Entertainment category. Maybe social/communications falls into a 3rd category, competing with phones and mail. But I think there’s more difference between productivity vs entertainment vs communication apps that between a Youtube app and TV.

  • Jessica Darko

    Horace–

    Bullshit. Activations are not users and your assumption makes you an ass. Android has sold no more than 10 million devices worldwide. Think I’m wrong? Fucking prove it.

    Seriously, you lose all credibility when you repeat bullshit propaganda stats as if they were factual.

    At some point, this starts to impinge your integrity.

    If you don’t have real numbers, that’s fine, just don’t make them up.

    Seriously.

    • melci

      Jessica, the number of active app-using Android devices worldwide is certainly not 1 billion (almost no-one would keep using a phone for 5 years – particularly if it is for using apps – ie part of the “platform”) but it is not 10 million either.

      Flurry reports they are measuring 564 million active app-using Android devices worldwide – the real platform – compared to round 510 million active app-using iOS devices. This is the far more important figure one where the iOS “platform” is pretty much equivalent to Android.

      However, when you then take the next step and compare developer revenue, ad impressions, ad revenue, content revenue, e-commerce revenue for each platform, iOS well and truly shows its supremacy.

      • Scott Sterling

        Jessica is not saying that Android activations are 10 million. She’s purposely using inflammatory language to make a point that Android numbers are 100% made up and unverified. She’s frustrated that everyone quotes them as though they were fact.

      • melci

        Yes, I realise Jessica’s 10 million is sarcastic, but I am calling her on the claim that “no-one knows the real numbers”, by pointing out that Flurry has an analytics platform that actually measures active app-using devices and they indicate that 568 million Android devices are in fact real and being used.

        How many of that remaining half billion devices that Google has theoretically activated are actually still in use and/or actually contributing to the Android “platform” is however a contentious issue.

      • Jessica Darko

        You make a good point, but I’m bowing out because my original comment has been deleted. Apparently the position of this board is that Android has sold a billion units and pointing out that this is a lie is simply not tolerated.

        Which means the truth is not allowed to be discussed.

      • Space Gorilla

        It’s not that the truth isn’t allowed, it was your inflammatory language, your tone. Dial it down a notch, make the same points, and I’m sure your comments will not be deleted. Look at some of the nonsense obarthelemy writes, none of it gets deleted, and it’s mostly gibberish. I’m sure you’ve made this fake Android numbers point on another Asymco post, and as far as I know nothing was deleted.

      • Jessica Darko

        I’m vary familiar with Flurry and the methods they use.

        To be succinct, this is not an accurate number for either platform. That roughtly 500 million number could, in reality, represent an installed base from 100 million to 800 million– for either platform, given the way they collect their stats.

        So, flurry lends credence to the SPECULATION that there are more than 100 million androids sold. I’ll accept that.

        So the point remains- nobody can prove that there are more than 100 million androids sold. (Nobody can prove there are more than 10 million, but flurry gives us some evidence there are over 100million.)

        All of the android numbers are made up when people assert sales, and Horace, having been called on this lie, deleted the comment that pointed out that it is a lie.

        Which tells us what kind of person horace is.

  • Michael

    No self-respecting woman would ever date a guy who doesn’t use an iPhone. Ergo, one generation from now, Android market share will be exactly zero.

  • The Silver Fox

    Android “activations” are not defined in Google’s SEC filings. Horace’s article refers to “Google reported” numbers; however “Google” does not formally and systematically report ongoing Android activation numbers. The 1billion Android activation number is an ad hoc posting on Sundar Pichai’s Google+ page. Google’s SEC filings include metrics such as “Paid Clicks” and “Cost-Per-Click”, but not Android activations. The SEC filings can be reasonably relied on because inaccurate reporting on an SEC filing would be a very serious matter.

    My point here is that there is no reliable, consistent and ongoing source for Android activation numbers and therefore they should be tested with caution.

    • obarthelemy

      They have been publicly defined by a Google officer though, isn’t that the same ?

      • The Silver Fox

        There is a huge difference between metrics reported in an SEC filing and those “defined” or otherwise “reported” outside an SEC filing. A metric defined and reported in an SEC filing is generally subject to the full legal requirements for external audits (typically by the firm’s auditor) and securities laws. Any inaccurate reporting in an SEC filing could result in fines or even prison time for the directors and would certainly result in the firm being sued by investors.

        By comparison, anything reported or “defined” outside an SEC filing is not subject to the same strict legal requirements.

        As an example, take a look at Google’s SEC filings and you will find legal definitions for their SEC reported metrics of “Paid Clicks” and “Cost-Per-Click”, but not Android activations.

        My point is that ad hoc, non SEC-filed metrics such as “Android activations” should be interpreted with caution.

        A good example of law applicable to SEC filings is the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarbanes%E2%80%93Oxley_Act

  • Scott Sterling

    In addition to the fact that Android activations are 100% unverifiable, there is also this question: Why on earth would you compare iOS activations ranging from $450 to $850 against Android “activations” ranging from $100 to about $450. What meaningful information can you glean from that?

    • Scott Sterling

      Let’s just say that 2/3 of Android devices cost from under $100 up to $200 (who knows?). By what definition are these devices considered comparable to iOS devices?

      And if they are not actually an appropriate comparison, why do tech writers waste everyone’s time by including them in comparisons?

      • Space Gorilla

        The key point I think is that a billion users on Android is/will be very different from a billion users on iOS, when viewed as a computing platform. Is a $100 Android device that is primarily used as a feature phone really part of a computing platform? I would say no. Usage defines the device.

      • obarthelemy

        Example of a $150 phone: http://www.geekbuying.com/item/Cubot-GT99-4-5-Inch-HD-Screen-MTK6589-Quad-Core-Smartphone-1GB-4GB-12-0MP-Camera-Android-4-2-OS-with-3G-GPS-Black-316504.html

        1GB RAM. Android 4.2. GPS+BT, SD Slot, 2xSIM, IPS 4.5″@720p, quadcore… From personal experience, I know everything (screen, camera, sound) is 1 or 2 steps below 1st-tier, but it is perfectly usable as a smartphone.

        Ditto for tablets. I have a $100 Ainol Venus, it plays all my video files and apps… the screen is a bit dim and reflective, but it’s perfectly serviceable.

        These devices sure don’t provide a “I got best of class” ego boost. But they do the job just fine.

      • melci

        You’re forgetting all those sub-$100 Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy Y with it’s 3 inch 320×240 resolution screen or the Tecno D3 which lacks 3G, has no GPU, etc which are very popular in developing nations and which swell Android’s total numbers.

        Like my $79 Huawei X1 with it’s 2.8 inch screen and 512MB of RAM, these cheap and nasty Android phones do not “do the job just fine” and are at best just glorified feature phone replacements.

      • Space Gorilla

        Pointless to reply to obart really, oy, a spec list in 2013, talk about *not getting it*.

      • obarthelemy

        Well, the OP mentioned cheap smartphones being unusable… Do you think he was not referring to specs ?

      • Sprewell

        I disagree. When I finally dipped my toes into the smartphone waters early last year and bought my first- yes, yes, I know, late to the game- it was a 3.14″ 240×320, 384 MB RAM Froyo device that I got for $100 without a contract, the Samsung Dart, a phone that was released a couple months before the Galaxy Y and is even less powerful.

        I used it to check webmail, listen to podcasts, look up good places to eat on food review sites, and for maps/directions mostly, not to mention an occasional call or two. ;) The camera was horrible so it got no use, while there was no point in watching video on such a low-res screen. Other than not having those two features, it was a perfectly serviceable smartphone, ie I would actually use it for internet and other uses on the go that you’d never do on a dumbphone.

        However, while Android is a viable computing platform, I’m not sure it’s a viable app platform, as the app store numbers bear out. Also, there’s little stickiness to the Android platform, as users can and do switch to other platforms fairly easily, though that’s mostly true for other smartphone platforms also, including iOS. So this whole platform concept doesn’t seem very useful for mobile, though it is interesting to see numbers on platform growth generally, which is all I think Horace was doing, plus he pointed out the potential weakness of the Android numbers in his conclusion.

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        Your “best of class” has little to do with ego boost. For example, a poor quality screen makes accurate editing of photos not serviceable.

      • obarthelemy

        indeed. So the 0.5% of users who color-correct photos on mobile should stay well away. As for other editing tasks, the dpi is actually higher than on an iPad mini.

      • Kizedek

        Your problem is that you treat everything in isolation and argue one thing at a time. Of course, with “Android”, that is about all you can do. But integration brings greater benefits.

        For example, we can combine your above comment, with one from further up, to get a better picture:

        “Yes. But there’s about 6x more of them, and app/content publishing is a fixed-cost business, so spend/customer is almost irrelevant, it’s total ecosystem spend that counts. Apple certainly still make more counting that way, but not nearly by as much.”

        What we find is a combination of factors that make it highly unlikely that great apps that reward the developer will ever come to Android.

        So, there are more 6x Android users out there? Hasn’t helped. So, Android users only spend a little less than iOS users and it is “total ecosystem spend that counts”? Hasn’t helped. So, some Android devices have higher DPI than the iPad mini? Hasn’t helped. So, there only 0.5% of users color-correct photos? Hasn’t helped.

        Hasn’t helped what? What all these things (among others) in aggregation haven’t helped Android achieve, and perhaps never will, is this:

        Developers producing a vibrant array of easy to use but powerful iOS apps in any number of different specialized and creative areas (including color-correction of photos, video editing, audio production, drawing and painting tools, mind mapping apps, etc.); all of which can command from 5 – 25 dollars per app with a significant user base, to help the developer more than eke out a living.

        This doesn’t appear to be happening on Android, and for a combination of factors: some of which have to do with how Android is just a placeholder of an OS at the low end of mobile markets; partly due to the robustness of iOS itself and the quality of its APIs; and partly due to the integration Apple has achieved whereby power, for example, is eked out of every part such as the GPU.

        You keep arguing each point in isolation (even admitting Apple has some advantages or successes here and there); but, the big picture is that all these alleged “advantages” of Android in aggregation are doing little; and if anything it may actually hinder future successes of the type that iOS has already achieved (by forming, for example, insurmountable barriers for the developer who must face the totality of various issues such as fragmentation, lack of engagement, poor market, testing and support, diminishing returns, etc.).

        Bringing us back to another point I made to you above: though you find the different metrics we can use to judge the various successes of platforms “interesting” (rather than just profits), Apple can yet make far more interesting and strategic changes to address each and every one of the supposed issues it faces; while, having thrown Android all out there already as a dog’s dinner for everyone to fight over the scraps, Google will have far more difficulty in meeting just the one issue of profitability. Tomorrow the 5C will be announced.

      • obarthelemy

        My problem is that I don’t think one can be wrong on individual items and then right when meshing those wrongs together. I won’t re-hash the individual points, but as for your conclusion: there are great apps on Android, and devs living off them.
        The peaking of the platform is a funny talking point, because at 75-80% share, peaking is a foregone conclusion.
        Android’s 5C was years ago. And iOS 7 doesn’t come close to 4.x.

      • Kizedek

        Futility seems to breed contempt in the Android camp.

      • obarthelemy

        Oh, but you can on Android too. And get a better screen, more power, exchange/backup memory cards, even use a mouse.
        But if you’re on a rock-bottom Android device, the screen won’t be good. You kinda need to go top-, or at least mid-range for that.

      • obarthelemy

        Also, I picked a “Best of tablet photo editing apps” article at random (laptopmag, sounds neutral enough). All of them are available on Android, including the Editor’s choice (Snapseed). Except middle-of-the-pack iPhoto .

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        I know lots and lots of people that use Instagram to adjust color and contrast on their mobile phones to target a specific look. The GS IV is the first Galaxy with anything but a very poor display.

      • Scott Sterling

        And yet all these uber cheap phones are lumped together with Galaxy S4s and iPhones. So when Horace says Android has a billion activations and iOS has some lower number, the implication is that it’s a meaningful comparison. First off it may not even be accurate. Second, it’s comparing apples and oranges. Why waste the electrons?

      • Space Gorilla

        You’re right of course. I think for Horace it’s more of a follow up since he’s been tracking when iOS and Android will hit a billion, and there have been a few articles about the billion mark being meaningful. But the truth is *as a platform* Android isn’t at a billion yet. And I don’t think it’s a guarantee that Android gets to a billion engaged users which you can call a robust platform, before iOS does. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m more interested in when iTunes hits a billion users.

      • obarthelemy

        There’s $$ share, profit share, and unit share. All 3 are interesting for different things. High and rising unit share at lower value and even lower profit for Android is a major problem for Apple, for example.

      • tmay

        And yet;

        “also, for a lot of players, making no profits is a better alternative than going the way of Palm, or RIM, or Nokia, or Panasonic, or … in mobile.”

        Lower profit is a problem for Apple, but zero or negative profit is not a problem for Android because it is better for the OEM’s than not being in the business at all?

        This stuff practically writes itself.

      • obarthelemy

        I’m not sure I get your issue ?

        Lower profits is a problem for everybody. Especially when it is not made up (in a sense, that’s a frequent strategic choice) for by increased units or revenue. Yet it is better than death. That’s true for everyone.

        I’m surprised I have to clarify that ?

      • tmay

        I would as a fact like you to clarify.

        I could make a specific case, for example Sony, staying in mobile products, but most of the Android OEM’s are in a death spiral. Not enough IP, not enough cash to get the lowest cost production, not enough marketing support to attempt disruption, and a rapidly maturing market. Wouldn’t it be better to sell any assets before the company is bled dry?

      • why

        Why is that a major problem?

    • Walt French

      Also, there’s a big difference in why people sign up for Facebook versus buying a Wii (which probably serves multiple people per device). So you can easily infer that Horace is interested in something more than the tired Android v Apple rah-rah.

      You seem to be good on ideas. Care to tell us what meaning you CAN find in these numbers?

      • Scott Sterling

        Sorry to disappoint Walt. I don’t find anything meaningful in the comparison. To state the problem a different way, what do we learn when we say that Ford is absolutely killing BMW? Nothing. What we ought to learn is to quit comparing apples and oranges.

        Here’s a statistic that we COULD learn from: Why does the Samsung Galaxy phone sell as much as it does compared to the iPhone? I would be interested in that.

      • Space Gorilla

        First we have to get real sales numbers for the Samsung Galaxy, rather than estimates of shipped units. And even then you would have to decide how to deal with two-for-one deals, free Galaxy phones with X, Y, and Z promotion, or buying a Samsung fridge or TV and getting a free Galaxy, which I assume Samsung can book as a sale but is it really?

      • charly

        Doesn’t Samsung sell more S4 that Apple sells iphone 5

      • http://policydiary.com/ John S. Wilson

        Actually there is a lot to glean from looking at platforms that are at 1 billion users and still growing. I’m sure Horace will go into more detail in the future.

    • obarthelemy

      Same as for every market where there’s a wide range of prices ?

      Also, top-end Android devices cost more than $450. And low-end, less that $100. $100 actually buy a “good” tablet (http://www.digitalversus.com/tablet/ainol-novo7-venus-p15664/test.html)

      • Scott Sterling

        “Same as for every market where there’s a wide range of prices”

        And what is that? You don’t say. Surely we, and Apple, already know that there are people who can only afford cheaper products. So I repeat my question: What meaningful information can we glean from comparing sub-$200 phones purchases to over-$600 phone purchases?

      • obarthelemy

        1- that a lot of people can’t afford $600 phones
        2- that another lot of people who could choose to spend extra $$ elsewhere instead
        3- that the sum of these 2 categories is much bigger then that of the “above $600″ category, and growing
        4- that an ecosystem can be built mostly upon those, with viable OEMs, devices, cloud services, and apps
        5- that not addressing that market may lead to marginalization.

        You may subsitute “phones” with cars, holidays, clothes, … above, adjusting the $600… .4- might have to go away :-p

        I know some people, knowing that Apple makes a lot of profits, want to use profits as the sole yardstick to judge performance. This would be a very partial, lacking, point of view.

      • Kizedek

        I know some people, knowing that Android is on a lot of phones, want to use marketshare as the sole yardstick to judge performance. This would be a very partial, lacking, point of view.

        The interesting thing, is that you want to focus on some areas in which Apple is weak. Like segments of the market that Apple doesn’t really compete in at all. Thing is, Apple has started by limiting itself to more constricted parts of the market. It is strong (the strongest) in economic performance, and now it will spread its wings.

        Android has been “wide open” from the start; it’s everywhere, on everything. Hence, we see it peaking in some mature markets.

        Where’s it going to go now? Onto the handsets that will replace the last few Blackberry and WinPhone handsets (and any other survivors)? It’s destiny now is to be forked by growing Asian OEMs.

        In other words, Apple has had strong performance despite all the areas where you have observed that it is weaker. You have constantly critiqued Apple for this, but now it is doing something about it, in three days. With more to come.

        It’s not about current performance (high market share for Android vs high profit share for Apple). It’s about where they can go from here. You and all the pundits seem to think Apple has nowhere to go: “look at all the areas in which Android OEMs are beating iPhones!”; “look how Apple needs to get a hit every time or their whole business will tank!”

        But this view fails to see what a strong position Apple is in before it even begins to address some of the areas it is weaker in. “A lot of profits”? Apple makes most of the profits in the whole industry despite its weaknesses in other areas that you may care to measure.

        But only Samsung makes any real profit on the Android side even with all Android’s supposed strengths in numerous areas! Apple shouldn’t be, and Google + OEMs as a group should be. That’s why it’s such a great yardstick! We wouldn’t keep talking about it if that wasn’t the case.

      • Space Gorilla

        I applaud your effort, but it isn’t going to get through to obbie.

      • Kizedek

        Thanks. I know.

      • claimchowder

        Why is anybody even still trying….?

      • obarthelemy

        as I said below: “There’s $$ share, profit share, and unit share. All 3 are interesting for different things. High and rising unit share at lower value and even lower profit for Android is a major problem for Apple, for example.”

        also, for a lot of players, making no profits is a better alternative than going the way of Palm, or RIM, or Nokia, or Panasonic, or … in mobile.

      • charly

        But how profitable you are is not important for companies. It only matters if you are profitable or not. If you make a profit you will keep doing what you are doing

      • afford

        Seems difficult to build a viable ecosystem on the back of a userbase that can’t afford to pay for anything.

      • obarthelemy

        Indeed. Not a single of the billion Android users can afford to pay a single cent.

      • afford

        By all data points they’re significantly less valuable as a source of app revenue and ad revenue, yes.

      • obarthelemy

        Yes. But there’s about 6x more of them, and app/content publishing is a fixed-cost business, so spend/customer is almost irrelevant, it’s total ecosystem spend that counts. Apple certainly still make more counting that way, but not nearly as much.

      • afford

        “and app/content publishing is a fixed-cost business”

        Not solely, no.

    • DarwinPhish

      I don’t think anyone is arguing that 1 billion Android users is the same as 1 billion iOS users, just as no one would say y1 billion Facebook users is the same as 1 billion Windows users. A billion users/cumulative sales is just a fraternity and Android is now a member.

      • Space Gorilla

        Yes, but which is it? A billion users or a billion in cumulative sales. They aren’t the same thing.

  • Ari

    Horace, How about Nokia NOS on S40 and S30. Should be somewhere there?

    • Ari

      ….since Nokia 1100 alone (just one phone model) sold 200 million …

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

      Not sure if they constitute a unique platform as such.

      • obarthelemy

        “A platform is defined as a place where developers can build applications which ideally generate income.” Isn’t it the case for S30/40 ?

  • Walt French

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say Horace is trying to provide aid & comfort to the “Law of Large Numbers” crowd by presenting a chart with virtually every line having a negative second derivative (increasing at a decreasing rate).

    I find it interesting that our economy allows for the FlashMob Corporation Effect® that allows a company to go from zero to a few hundred million users in a few quarters. Sometimes by violently disrupting incumbent businesses, sometimes by creating a whole new category of activity.

    There are strong economic incentives to achieve critical mass and to reinvest in a business before another entrant can compete effectively. The PC line is a reminder that Microsoft’s paradigm of “getting it right by version 3” used to work well, but would likely fail today for mass consumer products.

    Some of this is the incredible tech advances. In the 80s, Microsoft was contending with 80X25 screens and a programmer needed to select the character for each corner of the box that you put user information in; today a smartphone developer has deep, robust libraries built into the OS to handle screen transitions in the same number of keystrokes as the number of weeks that an 80s programmer would’ve required. Some of it is the productivity of the internet, the ability to find solutions or toolboxes, so that a team can learn a new language over a week and have a prototype in another couple of weeks. And some of it is the US venture capital environment.

    I sure hope that Horace tries to parse out how our brave new world will impact the way that companies organize around core competencies, what semi-competencies (and especially, what mostly-incompetencies) get chosen to be bundled to make an market-capable package of “a company.”

    • obarthelemy

      And yet we still mostly use screens to look at text.I was reflecting recently that deep down I’m not doing much different with computers than what I was doing in the early 90s under DOS and DesqView….

      Back to the point, I guess Windows Phone and Surface will let us see if MS’s iterative, brilliance-free way still works. It is far from a success right now, but not a certain failure either.

      Also, I’m not so sure there’s a brave new world. there have been 2 disruptions: mobile, and IT going consumer. These disruptions have favoured the nimble, as all disruptions do. I think we can’t assume we now live in a world of constant disruption though… which kinda segues into us maybe being in more of a consolidation phase… Chasing yesterday’s prize might well be worse than sticking to one’s formerly-outdated guns.

    • poke

      I think it’s actually kind of fascinating that by most accounts Google got it right on version 4. They iterated very quickly, though, which lends credence to the idea that software development has gotten faster. They did in 4 years what Microsoft did in 10. (Although consider that Android, Inc was founded in 2003 and acquired by Google in 2005. They had very lucky timing with that.)

      • Walt French

        “…what Microsoft did in 10.”

        I’d love to know the history of WP8 development. Wikipedia is a bit less than enlightening:

        Work on a major Windows Mobile update may have begun as early as 2004 under the codename “Photon”, but work moved slowly and the project was ultimately cancelled. In 2008, Microsoft reorganized the Windows Mobile group and started work on a new mobile operating system. The product was to be released in 2009 as Windows Phone, but several delays prompted Microsoft to develop Windows Mobile 6.5 as an interim release.

        .

        The first external leaks of WP8—and its NT foundation, not WinCE—seem to have hit after work was well along, in early 2012.

        So discarding the “Photon” false start, Microsoft first responded to the iPhone in 2008, a year or two after they would’ve known of the iPhone project. That’s a bit astonishing, no?

        Then they took ~4 years to deliver WP8, a technically capable phone OS, certainly more complete/polished than iOS was in version 1.0 after a reported 5 years (although iOS itself has hardly stood still).

        Methinks Jobs was just a bit optimistic in saying iPhone was 5 years ahead of its competition—or maybe he knew it’d take Microsoft a couple years to suit up and get into the starting blocks.

      • poke

        I was referring to how long it took them to get to a successful version of Windows out after the Mac was released (“getting it right by version 3″). That said, I think Microsoft got to see the Mac before release, and presumably Google knew Apple was working on a phone before 2007. Perhaps they had seen the Maps and YouTube apps, for example.

        With Windows Phone they basically “shipped the demo.” That’s why WP7 wasn’t using native APIs for apps. Note that the Windows 8 “Metro” environment is still somewhat limited in this sense, so it’s not clear that Microsoft has fully caught up. Palm did the same thing with WebOS; they used “web technologies” for apps and their inbuilt apps weren’t using APIs available to developers (apparently they were all built from scratch, so to speak). These are clear examples of reactionary development.

        Google’s approach was more sustainable: they simply shipped a sort of “hybrid” UI for versions 1-2, gradually adding iPhone-esque features. They also had the benefit of the manufacturers covering over the rough edges by changing the default apps, building their own launchers, etc. In a sense, it was a joint effort. I think Google was being pragmatic and was likely hoping to head off Microsoft rather than compete with Apple.

  • DarwinPhish

    If you are counting cummulative sales then Windows is well over 3 billion, the last billion of which were over the last 13 or so quarters. Also, if you are only using Ggogle’s activation numbers for Android, I believe you are missing a few hundred million Chinese users.

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

      The data is indexed from the point in time when a platform is launched.

  • Jessica Darko

    Horace,

    Your claim of a billion android devices is not supported. It is a made up stat.

    I point this out and you delete my comment.

    Therefore, your integrity has been impeached because you will not tolerate people pointing out that you’re using dishonest numbers.

    I imagine that now, you will ban me for refusing to be silenced.

    Shame on you.

    • obarthelemy

      Actually, the billion figure is conservative and partial.

      Conservative, because it is everybody’s (but you) assessment.

      Partial, because it excludes non-Google versions/forks of Android (Amazon and some in China, probably around 200m). Going forward, I think it might be worth trying to include those, while still differentiating Android-the-OS and Android-the-ecosystem (might be called the Google Play ecosystem).

      As for your posts being deleted, I think it’s possible to make a point w/o going into hysterics and insulting the world. Your tone actually discredits your point.

      • Jessica Darko

        Ok, then by those numbers Apple has activated 4.3 Billion iOS devices, making it 4 times the market of Android. You can rationalize and make stuff up all you want, and you constantly, do, and then you go an attack me, because I point out that this is what you are doing.

        You have no credibility because you’re a liar. Of course, only people who don’t care about the truth would see pointing out your dishonesty as “discrediting” me.

        As to your claim that “Everyone” believes it, no amount of astrotrufing by dishonest android zealots will make something true.

        Even Horace admits it is a lie.

        And since you feel the need to lie, this is as good as an admission by you that you can’t make the argument on honest grounds.

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

      Sorry, the rules for deleting comments are only a function of tone, not of content. The rule is that people need to show civility towards each other.
      I am very skeptical of the activation numbers from Google. However, all I can do is point out where the source is and what they say. We are always short of data and even suspicious data needs to be considered. If the numbers can be proven wrong then the credibility of the source can be discounted.

      • Jessica Darko

        Horace-
        You need to put yourself in the penalty box because you have been uncivil to me. Of course, the problem is, since you’re the moderator, you have a double standard, and you’ll never be able to see uncivility in yourself. Frankly, nothing is more uncivil than deleting a post because it disagrees with you! (notice that I didn’t attack anyone or be “uncivill” to anyone…)

        In fact, your use of the word “uncivil” shows that you are pretending to be reasonable when in fact you’re being dishonest.

        “civility”, like beauty, is not an objective standard.

        When you report a number that you now admit is not honest as if it were true, are you being civil? You admit you’re telling a lie, is it ok to lie, but “uncivil” to point out that you are lying?

      • Bruno Chami

        Horace’s numbers are correct ! Google did activate 1 billion units

  • GuruFlower

    I would be interested to see OS activations compared with data usage by OS. This metric would give an indication of how the consumer values the device once he owns it. My guess is that these Android activations are mainly by consumers using them to make phone calls/texting rather than the value added use of web browsing. The smart devices are designed to do something intelligent by using a “smart” network rather than replicating what can be done over a common carrier.

    • obarthelemy

      I’m of two minds about that.

      Sure, connected things, and cloudy things, are useful.

      But also, I used a smartphone for the longest time w/o a data contract, as I didn’t see much value. Apart from wifi at home, at work and pretty much everywhere in between (I actually find that 90+% of the time I have 3G, I also have wifi… that extra 10% isn’t worth a lot, but I digress), one of the dicstinctions between smart (computer) and dumb (terminal) is tha

      • GuruFlower

        Exactly my point. One can buy a cheap smartphone without a data contract or with a very limited one. That user isn’t going to be downloading a lot of music or movies or likely buying much of anything with his device. The user of that device is not a value added customer for the OS.

        Apple is surely delighted when a customer buys content from iTunes, but that’s value added at the margin; Cupertino made their big profit when the user bought the device. Samsung, et. al, probably don’t care what the user does after the purchase. They really have little or no stake in the after market that I can see. But the raison d’être for Android is driving eyeballs to ads and fingers to clicks.

        If users aren’t browsing the web or using web enabled apps because they have a limited plan (which suggests that one isn’t available or, more importantly, they can’t afford one) then it doesn’t matter how many activations Android may have, the concept behind the OS is a business failure. This should show up in the data usage stats. It would be helpful to see an accurate presentation of that information compared to activations.

      • obarthelemy

        Nope, your point was that a device needs to use a lot of data to be “intelligent”: “The smart devices are designed to do something intelligent by using a “smart” network rather than replicating what can be done over a common carrier.”; “My guess is that these Android activations are mainly by consumers using them to make phone calls/texting rather than the value added use of web browsing”
        My point is that *because* devices are smart, they can do off-line stuff. That’s the whole defintion of “smart”, in that sense. There’s a lot more value-added uses other than “web browsing”.

      • GuruFlower

        Google shareholders might take issue with that.

      • Grimmjow

        Shareholders are well aware of Google playing the long term game.

      • GuruFlower

        Exactly my point. One can buy a cheap smartphone without a data contract or with a very limited one. That user isn’t going to be downloading a lot of music or movies or likely buying much of anything with his device. The user of that device is not a value added customer for the OS.

        Apple is surely delighted when a customer buys content from iTunes, but that’s value added at the margin; Cupertino made their big profit when the user bought the device. Samsung, et. al, probably don’t care what the user does after the purchase. They really have little or no stake in the after market that I can see. But the raison d’être for Android is driving eyeballs to ads and fingers to clicks.

        If users aren’t browsing the web or using web enabled apps because they have a limited plan (which suggests that one isn’t available or, more importantly, they can’t afford one) then it doesn’t matter how many activations Android may have, the concept behind the OS is a business failure. This should show up in the data usage stats. It would be helpful to see an accurate presentation of that information compared to activations.

      • Ittiam

        Your point is very valid.
        My wife has an Android smartphone without data plan. She uses it over our home wifi just like Tablet for FB / youtube / browsing etc.
        Actually, we have an Android tablet as well, but its difficult to snatch it from kids :-)

  • Jeff G

    Sure would be cool to see an update of the chart, “Apple share price as a function of cash & marketable securities.”

    Another interesting perspective would be “Share Price as a function of cash Rate of Change”

  • Mark

    J2ME had a billion users. Billions actually, and the other half of all phones shipped today still have J2ME on them.

    • Mehul

      Going by that, so does C, and so on.

  • Ittiam

    Thanks Android. Thanks Google.

    Android has made it possible to exponentially increase reach of internet in places like India. Today we get $2 /month unlimited internet plans over 2G. The speed is slow, but that does not matter.
    Think of a poor graduate from a rural area looking for a job. Before Android she had limited access to the world outside of her place. Now the entire world is open.
    Going by some comments, its sad to see so much hatred for Android. Billion activations means a lot. It means hundreds of millions now have internet and level playing field.