Google's Android platform has reached a new adoption milestone, says chief architect Andy Rubin. How long before it reaches 1 million?
Android's chief architect, Andy Rubin, took to Twitter over the weekend to share the news that Google's mobile platform is being activated on 900,000 devices each and every day. Google doesn't provide a breakdown of those activations, so that massive number includes smartphones, tablets, Kindles, and other devices running Android.
It would appear that Google is on the cusp of reaching one million devices activated each day. But can it? Android's adoption rate has slowed in recent months. Let's take a look at the numbers.
The last time we heard from Google about the Android daily activation rate was in February. The number at the point was 850,000 daily activations. It took four months (February to June) to grow by 50,000 activations.
Prior to that, Google announced 700,000 daily activations in December 2011. The time to jump 150,000 activations--from 700,000 to 850,000--took only two months. Of course, that included the holiday shopping season. Two months for 150,000 (between December and February), followed by four months to climb 50,000 (between February and June) shows a huge slowdown in the growth rate. This has been backed up by reports from the likes of IDC, Nielsen, and others that say Android's growth is throttling down a bit.
In October 2011, the activation rate was 550,000 per day. The daily activation rate climbed by 150,000 between October and December, a two-month stretch. Nearly a year ago, in July 2011, the activation rate was 500,000 per day.
Looking at the data, it's clear that the holiday season was a boon to Android's activation rate. At its current rate of growth--50,000 new daily activations over a four-month period--Google won't reach 1,000,000 daily activations until February 2013. Is there anything that can help speed up the adoption rate?
Sure, compelling new hardware and software.
Samsung will certainly do its part in the coming weeks and months with the availability of the Galaxy S III. It lands at five major U.S. carriers in the next four weeks, and is already available for sale in markets around the globe. It's the Korean firm's flagship device for the year, and based on initial reactions, it will be a big seller.
Google is also prepping a new, lower-cost tablet for release in the next month or so. The Asus-made Nexus tablet is expected to make its first appearance at the Google I/O conference in several weeks. Based on the price point and specs of this device, it could help bolster flagging Android tablet sales.
Perhaps more important, however, will be Android 5.0 Jelly Bean. Jelly Bean is expected to show up at I/O along with the Nexus tablet. It needs to be more successful than the previous version of Android. Eight months after its release, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has been installed on fewer than 8% of Android devices. That's miserable. Despite Google's promise to make device system upgrades easier and faster, it simply hasn't happened. Can Jelly Bean improve that rate at which smartphone and tablet buyers install the latest version of the software--and the rate at which buyers snap up Android devices?
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