Call it momentum, a robot invasion, or a force of nature, the one thing you can't say about Android's proliferation is that it's insignificant. Andy Rubin took the opportunity during MWC to let slip some new Android activation figures. Chief among them, Android is now activating more than 850,000 devices daily, and Google has activated a lifetime total of 300 million devices.


This number is absolutely astonishing. To put that in perspective, at the current rate of activation, roughly every ten days Google activates more devices than there are people in New York City. By mid-march, there will be more Android devices in the world than there are people in the entire United States. Rubin also let on that there are over 450,000 apps in the Android Marketplace, seeing over a billion downloads every month. The little green bot has come a long way since the G1.

According to Rubin, there's also still a long ways to go. While there may be over 300 million Android "devices" in the wild, only around 12 million of them are tablets. Speaking to reporters at MWC, Andy Rubin said that the 12m tablets are "not insignificant, but less than I'd expect it to be if you really want to win." Google knows they're not winning the tablet wars, and the company intends to do something about it.

While Rubin was adamant that Android is the only platform that runs all of its apps on all of its devices (a fair point), he also conceded that tablets require a different interface design and, sometimes, app developers don't do the work to optimize their UIs for tablets. Rubin sees Google's role as evangelist and educator in getting app developers to adopt Google's tablet OS.

Google's been getting better about steering its developer community in the direction it wants Android to go, though. From the Nexus series of devices to Android's style guide, Google's been trying to engage users and developers alike. We're eager to see what Google unveils over the course of the year to guide their tablet OS. Ice Cream Sandwich was all about unifying the platform, so we've gone nearly a year without any new innovations in the tablet space from Google.

Alright, Mr. Rubin. Let's see what you've got.

Sources: Google Mobile Blog, The Verge

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • John

    Hard to even fathom that many devices activated per day. Awesome stats!

  • odd

    I would trade those 450 000 apps on the market against 5000 good ones.

    Boasting about the amount of supported apps is ridiculous when most of them are crap.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

      Have you checked the Apple AppStore or Windows Phone ...thing (whatever it's called)... or even Blackberry's App World (terrible name)? They all have a ton of crap, on average none of them have more than about 1% truly quality apps. It's just the nature of the game.

      • odd

        Just because others do it is no reason to do it too. The more garbage apps you got, the harder it is to find the same one.

        So yeah, all apps store are garbage, but companies should watch out. Too much offer with too little quality can lead to disastrous result. Check the video game crash of 83 for example. I'm not saying we'll get there, but I am setting having no quality standards it -not- a good thing and does not profit the customers in the long run.

        • odd

          By "same one" I meant "good one", sorry for the stupid typo.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

          Bad comparison, the models are completely different as are the customers and interests. This is the first time in history that a large number of independent developers have been able to deliver a product on a large scale (leading to some great things like the stuff we've seen from Chainfire). The Android Market is focused on being open to all people without being curated; that, by definition, cannot avoid having a poor signal-to-noise ratio (though I think people were expecting Google to solve that via Search). Apple has done better with heavy curation, but even they are really bad. Windows Phone was way better, but mostly because it only recently attracted the joker developers in just the last month.

        • odd

          Yeah, good point Cody, I'll admit, the comparison isn't very good. I guess my point was mainly that more isn't better, regardless of how the competition acts.

          I just wish the average amount of downloads per app (or something along those lines) would be used as a meaningful metric. The current metric means nothing and is feels deceptive to the consumers to me.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

          Agreed, simply counting the number of apps is a useless metric, unfortunately it's one of the few easily consumable numbers that can be publicized. There's just no number that can be tweeted to communicate how much/many people like their android phone/tablet.

    • Jon Garrett

      I don't really care about the garbage ones but what Id like to see is some sort of filter.

      Why is it impossible to find the newest apps in the Market Place? 100% of the time, I find new apps on this site and others, never in the market because the market has no What's New which is insane.

  • gogakhan

    Agree with Cody Toombs...

    You won't find more than 1% better apps on any of the app markets. However, I do believe that Android has better variety (because more control) than App Store; which does have better quality (less devices to worry about).

    Both markets have their pros & cons but one this is for sure that both of them have a ton of crap. :(

  • Mike

    that # doesn't matter either, it's a simpler search/ranking problem than the web (imagine the percent of useless websites). app store searches are pretty good.

  • L boogie

    If Google was worried about the tablet universe, help initiate a price point with OEMs to boost the tablet game (take a cue from Amazon) & marketing (take cues and only this please, from Apple) and while we're at it, help get apps optimized to ICS if planning on unifying the phone/ tablet os, ability to use google apps on a global scale i.e music, voice etc and mandate timely updates. Patience and steadiness always pay off