Influential tech personality, and sometimes well-meaning rumormonger Robert Scoble kicked up some controversy earlier today when he reported via Google+ that Google's Andy Rubin was preparing to make an exit. Rubin, Scoble claimed, was planning to leave Google to take charge of a new startup called CloudCar. Andy Rubin has always been in charge of Android, so his departure would have cast an undeniable pallor over the upcoming Google I/O.

rubin tweet

Just a few hours after Scoble posted his thoughts on the matter, Andy Rubin came out of the woodwork on Twitter to make it clear he was not leaving Google. Rubin was the founder of Android, which was bought by Google back in 2005. In the intervening years, the search giant has provided Rubin with the resources to take over the mobile industry. Rubin also further expanded on the situation via his own Google+ page. Apparently, CloudCar is run by some friends of Rubin, and he was good enough to give them office space in his Los Altos startup incubator. That's the extent of it, but it's interesting to see how the rumor got started.

In squashing these rumors, Rubin also pointed out that Android activations have reached a whopping 900,000 per-day. Late last year that number was in the 700,000 device range, so it's clear Android is continuing its meteoric rise. 900,000 devices each day works out to 625 new devices being powered-on every single minute. Over 1000 devices have probably been added to the pile while you've been reading this. These are staggeringly big numbers, and they don't even include non-Google certified devices.

[Twitter, Robert Scoble, Google+]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Curious

    Say I have a HTC Sensation. Every time I wipe/ flash a ROM I have to sign to my Google account. Do these number count just my initial T-Mobile contract activation, or is each new ROM sign-in included?

    • Bla

      No, because it is related to the IMEI number.

    • RyanWhitwam

      It's my understanding that the numbers are only for new devices. Tracked by unique hardware identifiers. 

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

      I could post this in two spots, I'll just hit the original comment.

      This subject was covered back in December.  Here's the link: http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/12/21/boom-baby-over-700000-android-devices-being-activated-every-day/

      First, this is confirmed, it does not count wipes or flashes.  It's relying purely on a unique device ID.  Everybody is saying it's the IMEI number (unique to phones), but I haven't found confirmation that is the number used...  I actually believe that is wrong, as Wifi-only tablets do not have an IMEI yet the market does uniquely recognize them, so they are relying on something else.

      It was also clearly stated that the count of activations he's referring to is specifically phones being activated with cellular service, so it's not counting tablets or phones bought outside of a service provider.  It's also not counting devices as they are shipped, only when they've been sold.

      Finally, it expressly doesn't count devices that aren't Google certified.  All of those off-brand devices that don't have the Play Store installed out of the box are not counted (including that crapload of Amazon Kindles, they're a missing number as well).

      Basically, they are counting very strictly, nobody can say they are falsely inflating numbers as people have said about Samsung.  Even Apple inflates their numbers a little bit.

      • cellabonez

        hey cody from the future dont every device has a uniqie mac address for wifi too

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

          There are about a half-dozen unique numbers that could be in use. For example, every processor has a unique identifier, as well. It's even possible that a combination of multiple numbers is used.

          Most people presume that it's a MAC address, but I'm not sure if that has ever been confirmed by Google or anybody hacking around in the code. There are also two fairly logical counter-arguments against MAC addresses: 1) some chipsets allow for the address to be modified, which Google would want to avoid, and 2) some devices have multiple interfaces, each with a MAC address of its own, and the method for enumerating them would have to be consistent to avoid miscounting. I'm not saying it can't (or shouldn't) be a MAC address, I just don't know for sure, and there are other explanations. It might not even be as simple as a single type of number, but it could be different types of numbers for different types of devices.

          • cellabonez

            ok thanks for reply

  • emperor43

    and that's not easy(or legal) to change

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

    Sorry to be a dick, but Scoble needs to shut up once in a while.  He's turning into John Gruber.  Isn't this the 2nd time he's predicted Rubin leaving?  He's predicted Android to die a couple of times.  He's spammed tons of pretty absurd claims about all kinds of stuff over the years.  I know he's got a lot of connections, but it's starting to look like their batting at him like a cat toy.

    Alright Scoble fans, feel free to flame me, I know I've got it coming...

    • ScottColbert

      When I want unsubstantiated predictions I go to Scoble or Dvorak. 

    • http://twitter.com/stalkbrandon Brandon V. Fletcher

      you should probably read his post first before being angry. He acknowledges it as a rumor and ask googlers to weigh in 

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

        I'm not angry about it, I'm just speaking an opinion about the stuff he writes on a regular basis.  That's why I gave other examples.  I admit, I'm a bit biased because a guy I've known for years (who's become pretty stuck up and self-important himself) has started linking to and talking up Scoble articles really frequently on G+, and most of those articles are of the nature I described.

        In this particular case, it's a rumor he manufactured, he just admits he's manufacturing it.  It would be like telling everybody in school that Suzy is pregnant, but admitting that you're not sure, you just know that she kissed Kevin.  He's still making stuff up to get attention, he's just prefixing it with a way out in case anybody wants to call him out for starting the rumor...  He even admits that he's writing it this way for that purpose.

  • skynet11

    Some of those are existing devices re-activated after a factory reset. Just ask Google Music :p

  • skynet11

    Some of those are existing devices re-activated after a factory reset. Just ask Google Music :p

    • Thracks

      No, because initial activations are tracked by IMEI or ESN.

    • TheWhiteLotus

      They already explained this is incorrect.

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_BG Dave Bg

    Just to mention for those asking below these are FIRST time activations ONLY.

  • Bloody Tampon

    Apple can suck it!

  • Sven Enterlein

    I wonder how many de-activations there are since it sounds like a lot of phones out in the wild...