November 18, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
At Wednesday’s Google Music event, Google shared that it has activated more than 200 million Android devices, with more than 550,000 devices added to that count each day. Some people took that to mean that Android has exactly 200 million. Some people took that to mean that Android has peaked and might be in trouble. Oh, you silly gillies.
Before we get into the lunacy about saying Android is in trouble because it activates only 550,000 devices each day, let’s get a clearer picture on the numbers. Last month, Google CEO Larry Page said that the company had activated more than 190 million devices, adding 550k each day. At the time, we noted that Google must have been conservative because based on the numbers Page had given just a few months prior (135 million), it was activating 611,000 devices per day. Why give a lower number? I can’t say, but my guess is that when Google says “more than X,” it’s just giving ball park figures and not exact numbers. Or perhaps the speakers just fall back on the last number given rather than redoing the math.
I reached out to a Google spokesperson because Google once again touted the 550,000 daily activations and said it had activated more than 200 million devices. It was mathematically impossible to have that many activations and only add 10 million more devices 34 days later. Sure enough, the Google spokesperson clarified that Google simply said “more than 200 million.” That was the last major threshold that it crossed, and that was all Google was sharing; it was not giving an exact count. (For what’ it’s worth, at 550k daily activations, there should be more than 210 million devices right now.)
And that’s precisely why the “Is Android in trouble?” talk is silly. Android saw ridiculously high growth this year. Remember, Google’s public count was more than 100 million in May. The number of Android devices has since doubled in six months. Doubled.
Android is definitely not growing as fast as it did in the first half of the year, but it’s still adding almost 4 million devices per week. It’s foolish to think Google is in trouble just because numbers haven’t climbed as rapidly as people thought. We expected Android to reach the million daily activations threshold next month, but even we believed the growth rate would slow. (There are only so many smartphone buyers to go around.) Still, the numbers are climbing at an incredible pace. Android and iOS activation totals are likely to be neck and neck in 2012, even with the massive success of the iPhone 4S, Android’s only real competition at the moment. Doesn’t sound like trouble to me.