More than half a million Android phones are activated every day, according to Google's Andy Rubin, head of the Android platform. Rubin tweeted about the activations today.
The tweet shows how much of a numbers game Google and the other smartphone makers are engaged in. Rubin had tweeted in December that Android hit 300,000 activations a day, and then tweeted in May about reaching 400,000 per day. The growth rate is actually 4.4% worldwide every week, Rubin said.
Analysts believe Android has already secured the top smartphone position. IDC said Android, running on devices from several manufacturers, hit the top position globally in the fourth quarter of 2010, and is expected to stay there through 2015. By then, IDC said, Android will have nearly 44% of the smartphone market, which will be nearly 1 billion smartphones shipped that year.
Perhaps the only number where Android falls down is with the number of available Android apps, which is now over 200,000. That's still behind the iPhone's 425,000, according to Apple's iPhone website.
While Rubin boasted about the number of Android phone activations, many analysts focus on the number of applications available to a platform. It's not that any one user would ever buy and download more than a few dozen apps -- much less tens of thousands -- but the volume of apps in an application storefront shows where small independent developers are spending their time. It's also probably where they're making the most money, analysts have noted.
Some have criticized Apple for counting a single app that is translated into various languages by the number of language versions, but Apple is clearly still ahead on apps and had a big head start.
Still, for manufacturers like Samsung and HTC that benefit from the open Android platform, it is important to know that the Android devices will have a big edge in numbers of devices sold for years to come.
In all, there are more than 300 different Android phones from several manufacturers and hundreds of wireless carriers globally, boosting Android's ability to grow. By comparison, there are still only four basic iPhone generation devices built during the last four years. The latest expectation is that an iPhone 5 and and an iPhone 4s for Sprint and other carriers will be released in September.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.