updated 11:45 pm EST, Tue December 20, 2011
Rubin provides long due update on Android rate
After months of silence, Google's mobile VP Andy Rubin posted word that Android device activations were now up to 700,000 each day. The rate comes after months of the company claiming a flat 550,000 per day. He had no update on the activation growth rate or whether Google had moved significantly beyond the 200 million total devices switched on since Android launched in October 2008.
The figure includes only genuinely new devices, not resets or upgrades. These also only include cellular devices, he said, implying that all Wi-Fi tablets and phones without service may boost the real count higher. Google has never broken out activations by device type, but it's known that phones vastly outnumber slow-selling tablets, MP3 players, and Google TV.
Apple hasn't updated its activation figures for roughly a year and can't be directly compared without more information. It still has a larger user base of 250 million or more iOS users. iPhone activations have lately grown at a considerably slower rate, although new traffic data from Millennial Media has suggested Apple might have grown at Android's expense in November instead of poaching mostly from the BlackBerry or users finally replacing Symbian and Windows Mobile phones.
While the US is still a key market, more and more of Android's growth depends on Asia. The greater willingness to allow low-end hardware has meant the rapid rise of companies like Huawei and ZTE that sell briskly. Although increasingly popular in China, Apple doesn't compete in the same price space, even with its two-year-old iPhone 3GS.