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300,000 Android phones activated a day, claims Google

Google engineering VP Rubin delivers figures over Twitter

By Brad Reed, Network World
December 09, 2010 11:46 AM ET

Network World - While Android's success has been well-documented, it's still hard to wrap your head around the idea that 300,000 Android phones are being activated every day.

Also read: How Android conquered the mobile world in just three years

And yet that's just what Andy Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering, claimed last night on his Twitter account. As Andrew Gomez of AndroidGuys notes, this number is significant because it bests Apple's claim to activate 270,000 iPhones per day.

"Does this mean that more Android phones are currently being purchased than iPhones?" asks Gomez. "Generally, iPhone activations are always brought up at Apple events and keynotes. It's going to be interesting to see how Apple will react to or counter Rubin's statement."

Given that the Android platform is used by multiple manufacturers on multiple devices while Apple only releases one new version of the iPhone per year, it's not hard to believe that Android phones as a whole are selling more than just the iPhone by itself. Even so, the rise in Android's popularity has been very rapid, as Google claimed at the end of the first quarter that Android activations were averaging a mere 65,000 per day. By the middle of the year, that number had jumped to 200,000, Google claimed.

Of course, as PC World's Daniel Ionescu points out, it's difficult to take these numbers at face value when neither Google nor Apple provides data for how they're calculated. For example, Nokia has claimed that its phones are activated to the tune of 260,000 per day but it doesn't say whether it's counting only smartphones or all cellular phones in its catalog.

Still, Google's projections don't seem too outlandish given other recent numbers. Since January alone, Android has doubled its total market share in the mobile operating system market, and devices based on Android accounted for a 44% of smartphones purchased in the third quarter of 2010, according to research firm ChangeWave. Additionally, the Nielsen Company said this fall that Android had become the popular operating system among recent smartphone buyers, with RIM's BlackBerry OS and the iPhone OS trailing behind in a second-place tie. Research firm Gartner has projected that by the end of the year sales of Android devices will exceed those based on the BlackBerry OS and the iPhone OS, meaning that Android will trail only Symbian as the world's most-used mobile operating system.

Ever since its debut in the fall of 2007, Android has appeared on numerous popular smartphones for several carriers including Verizon's Motorola Droid and Sprint's HTC Evo 4G. Next year Google plans on releasing a new version of the Android OS that is catered specifically to tablet computers.

Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.

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