back to article Android activations near a million a day

Almost a million Android devices are activated every 24 hours, according to Google's Andy Rubin. The company's senior VP of mobile stuff revealed the statistics through Twitter where, after insisting he had no plans to leave Google, claimed "there are over 900,000 Android devices activated each day". Androids on skateboards …


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  1. mikeyboosh

    900,000 does seem an awful lot, That would cover every man, woman and child within the UK in less than 3 months. I'd love to see an actual breakdown of these numbers.

    1. Richard 116

      Rubin also went on to say that everyone on the planet should have an Android handset by this Friday afternoon and that Apple are rubbish.

    2. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Consider the mathematics:

      3 months to supply everyone in one country with a single device. That device may not last two years (Galaxy S2 was announced Feb 2011, Galaxy S3 was announced May 2012) before it breaks, someone replaces it, it's obsolete, people get an upgrade from their contract supplier, etc.

      That's actually not that much, because in two year's time you'll only take another 3 months to "supply" everyone in that country all over again. The people who never upgrade will be balanced by those with 2-3 phones, upgrade-frenzy, used devices, broken devices, lost devices, stolen devices etc.

      Multiple that up by the 900,000 being *worldwide-sales* and having world-wide amounts of buyers and it's extremely plausible for a popular device. The question is not the number of activations, but the number of active accounts and/or the number of new, unique accounts CREATED only for the activation of an Android device. I'm sure Google know exactly how many people have an Android phone tied to their Google accounts, but they choose to quote *activations* instead. What about deactivations, for instance?

      I think the number is very plausible, especially given the amount of people I've seen with an Android phone who don't even know it and a quick glance through even high-street stores like Argos or Carphone Warehouse show that most of their phones are actually Android nowadays. That's not counting things like tablets either (my mum has an Android tablet, for goodness sake).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Metro Make Benefit Glorious Windows Phone 8

        as you correctly note this 900k number is bogus because it doesn't include people getting fed up with their android phones and switching to windows phone which i have on reliable inside authority is now more than 100k/day and will be 500k/day by the end of august i use metro every day and am delighted every morning at its speed fluid operation and shiny shiny coloured tiles

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: reliable inside authority

          Inside what?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Metro Make Benefit Glorious Windows Phone 8

          LOL, funniest thing I read... Be careful, as it might all of the sudden find this crap as headline news on

        3. GoGlen

          Re: Metro Make Benefit Glorious Windows Phone 8

          "reliable information" throwing out absolutely bizarre numbers that are multiple times MS's own numbers... by an anonymous coward.

          Yeah. OK.

      2. frank ly

        @Lee Dowling

        " mum has an Android tablet, for goodness sake." Right, there goes the coolness and street cred.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Clearly it's only a small part

      This is just the Google approved phones. (Basically any Android phone that has access to the Android Marketplace).

      In addition there are:

      All Android tablets

      Unapproved Android phones

    4. Dazed and Confused

      900K isn't that many

      Nokia used to knock out 450M phones a year on their own.

      900K/day is still only 320M/year, so no where near the sort of numbers Nokia used to achieve.

    5. ThomH

      900,000 isn't unrealistic. According to the best figures I can find quickly, during Q1 2011 Apple sold about 378,000 iPhones a day and 157,000 iPads. I've no idea about iPods, but presumably if we were to assume that in Google's terms each device gets counted as a single activation then we can conclude that Apple — then already behind Android in shipment totals — were doing at least 525,000 per day a year ago.

      So for the OS that outsells Apple in a rapidly expanding market to be doing 900,000 a day a year later seems entirely realistic.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Why not wait until it's actually 1m rather than 'more than 900,000'? WWDC is the only obvious explanation.

    So I guess they're trying to get some developer attention away from iOS. Well Mr. Rubin, maybe you should tell us that the android app store is making more money for devs than iOS instead? I'd be a lot more interested in porting to android if it didn't mean 25% of the income for 4x the support cost and 4x the testing work.

    1. Mike Judge

      Re: Odd...

      The usual crybaby excuse. from iOS devs happy in the paid-for-cartel of iOS world.

      With Android, there are already many good FREE alternatives to whatever app or game you sell on iOS. It upto YOU to make people want to pay for it (and if it's good enough, they will, I have plenty of paid for Android apps, when the cost is justified).

      Just because your app or game is no better than free alternatives, don't come crying to us.

      1. Afflicted.John

        Re: Odd...

        Now why cannot there be more of you helping me out with a Twitter argument with @GuardianTech? There's a FUDathon over there today... ;-)

        Yes. I am a troll.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Odd...

        Lol, what? :D I don't get what you're actually trying to say, but it made me laugh.

        I have a few popular iOS apps. Some free, some paid. I don't care too much which platform I write for, so long as it's possible to make something cool, and so long as it pays the bills. I don't see much point in writing for a platform that doesn't pay the bills - and therefore I'm not supporting WP7, blackberry or symbian.

        Android I'd only consider in exceptional circumstances at the moment, because it does generally make only 1/4 of the money that the same app on iOS does. If you don't believe this, fine, but it's well documented, and it's why most devs still target iOS first and android second (again, go look it up - it's well documented).

        Besides that, a lot of my work is highly performance critical. That's OK on iOS where there's only a few devices to consider, but on android? It's near impossible. I'd have to limit it to just the most popular devices, and certain OS versions - which limits the potential market massively, and is STILL a huge headache as I have to buy maybe 20 phones to test against. The fact that ICS uptake is so slow really hurts too, most devices are still on 2.x.

        1. Anomynous Coward

          Re: Odd...

          "The fact that ICS uptake is so slow really hurts too, most devices are still on 2.x."

          Then develop for 'most devices', surely?

          Or develop for ICS under the fair assumption that devices running that can meet a set of minimum specs.

          I can see why anyone who has to make a living would go for the more profitable option but some of the gripes about Android seem a little shallow.

          Not to mention the fact that getting in early to a more rapidly growing market might be the smarter, less short-termist move.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Odd...

            If I develop for "most devices" then I can't write cutting-edge stuff, which is what I do. So if I wrote for android, I'd have to limit it to devices with reasonable CPU + GPU specs (mainly GPU) and a recent android build (I think the APIs I'd require as a minimum weren't added until 3.x). That limits it a whole lot - and the 4:1 iOS:android income figures I've mentioned are from devs that are targeting a fairly wide range of devices, so I suspect it'd go from disappointing to outright painful for me :/

            As to the 'getting in early' argument - maybe. Guess it depends on what you're building mainly. If I was building some new social game or something like that I'd definitely agree. I'm kind of wondering if the getting in early argument actually works better for WP7 though? I'm not convinced on the platforms future, but it could work out. (My own work would actually be outright impossible on that platform though, i've checked!)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Odd...


          "Android I'd only consider in exceptional circumstances at the moment, because it does generally make only 1/4 of the money that the same app on iOS does. If you don't believe this, fine, but it's well documented, and it's why most devs still target iOS first and android second (again, go look it up - it's well documented)."

          Yeah, that seems about right, it seems a "crybaby excuse" is the new cool freetard way to describe a well considered commercial decision. I don't see many fewer free applications on iOS than on android in terms of variety, but I'd agree there's a hell of lot more v0.1 fodder on droid.

          So sir, I applaud your rational commercial decision in the wake of the "crybaby" nonsense, because like you, unfortunately, when my Children are hungry all the hubris and vitriol in the world doesn't fill their bellies...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Odd...

          Sounds like you need some Android traning... Why would ICS takeup determine how you write your apps or games?

          For games, screen resolution, yes.. GPU/CPU performance, yes, but OS??? Come on you have nicely demonstrated to the world how much you simply don't get Android... There is VERY little changed in the API between Android 2.3 and 4. Pretty much everything that has can be added using the support libraries (Fragments being the big one).

          I think they do Android training course here:

  3. Don Jefe

    What Now?

    What a bunch of bunk. Those numbers simply don't make good sense. That's waaaaay too many new activations daily. If you take the existing base into account there can't be many people in Europe who don't use Android.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What Now?

      1. In europe a lot of people are buying android phones instead of a feature phone, because it looks so much better than the feature phones. They then mostly use it as a feature phone. This is why you see iOS usage figures (and app store profit) so much higher despite there being so many android devices.

      2. All the 'developing markets'. This accounts for a huge chunk of android sales from what I've heard.

      1. peredur

        Re: What Now?

        And, as somebody else has already pointed out further up the list, the number includes upgrades. I activated a new Android phone yesterday. But it was just my free upgrade.

        So the figure seems OK to me.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: What Now?

          And does that include simple OS upgrades? Verizon upgraded my Xoom to ICS last weekend, and according to Android Market, it was a new device. Does that count in the numbers, I wonder?

        2. Alain

          My cheap chinese GB tablet must count for nearly a dozen activations ...

          ...because I've spent hours hacking into build.props, faking other device IDs to make it seen as compatible with more apps in the Play Store. At least Play Store certainly sees it as multiple different activated devices devices now :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What Now?

      Errm, not it's not bunk, it's fact. Sorry.. has it ruined your day?

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: What Now?

        Nope. My day has been quite nice. The fact you had such a silly response simply illuminates my earlier points that some of the worst qualities of nerds are entitlement, lack of social skills and narcissism. Looks like you nailed them all.

  4. Bob Vistakin

    Yet the iSheep still insist on the one with the wifi's and bigger geebee's

    Some things never change:

  5. jai

    i wonder

    how many of those activations are on ICS though and how many are on older versions of Android because people are buying the older, yet cheaper, phones

  6. Neil 38

    I trust what I see more, and when I look around in public I see more people using iPhones than Android phones.

    1. Some Beggar

      ... and the world is flat and the sun flies daily through the heavens.

    2. Drem

      Confirmation Bias?

      I wonder how much of this can be put down to a form of confirmation bias?

      iPhones are fairly recognisable. There are only a certain number of shapes and sizes that they come in. The orignal iPhone, the very simular 3G, which was identical (case wise) to the 3GS, the iPhone 4, which again looks the same as the 4S. I make that 3 body shapes variations, 2 of which are dificult to tell apart.

      Therefore it's easy to spot the iPhones, but not so easy to spot Androids. My San Franisco looks very different to my wife's Galaxy II, which is different to my bosses Sony something, which is different to...

      The reason that you see more iPhones is because you know what you are looking for, not because there are more of them. 3 body shapes to spot, rather than hundreds of them, some of which are not what you expect.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe that's because people with iPhones tend to like to take them out of their pocket and leave them on the table as a *cough* status symbol.

      Not realising that they have gone the way of Burberry and Ben Sherman's...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I know!

      What a shame for them eh? Fancy being seen with last decades tech. Tisk.

      A design that looks like a kitchen circa 2000 (glass and stainless steel), and a UI that looks as attractive as 80's wallpaper.

      Still, I suppose they will get with the times, eventually. They'll wait for the next incarnation of the behind the times idevice or switch to their competitors. After all Winows Phone UI looks like it was designed in 2012 (never mind what the hardware looks like) or 'Droid (which looks like it was deisgned in 2009).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        metro is indeed the future of computing

        far from looking as if it was designed in 2012 it is so wonderful to use that it seems as if it were gifted to modern day man through a time portal from 20 years in the future. by 2015 users will have forgotten that apple ever existed such will be the overwhelming response to microsoft's gift to all

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It may just be

      You really are noticing the little horns sticking out of the back of their head (go ahead, take a feel - you have them too!).


    6. Anomynous Coward


      I suspect that says a lot more about where you go than about how many Android phones are being activated.

  7. El Bertle

    Look into my eyes, look deep into my eyes

    So my wife bought herself a shiny new Android to upgrade her old dropped-in-the-sink-once-too-often Android which has gone in the bin. I helped her get it set up, and logged in under my ID for various reasons. We then wiped it, started over, and logged it in under hers.

    So I am guessing the stats now show total activations: 3, and total devices: 2, when the numbers are actually 1 and 1.

    1. Jim Coleman

      Re: Look into my eyes, look deep into my eyes

      "... I helped her get it set up..."

      Oh THAT's a user-friendly OS. Setting it up is a two-person job. Who'd-a-thunk-it.

    2. Anomynous Coward

      @Ed Bertle

      Do you think your experience is common enough to make a significant difference to the figures?

      I've had two android phones and made dozens of activations but I realise I am in a tiny minority - a much more significant minority with Android than any other phone OS, I am sure, but still an aberration that I doubt would emerge from the background noise of the bigger picture.

      1. El Bertle

        Re: @Ed Bertle

        Dunno. It was more really a question around whether an activation is counted every time a freshly wiped device logs in to a new gmail account, or whether it's keyed to the IMEI in some way and each IMEI is counted once only.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Ed Bertle

          It's per device - your scenario only one activation.

          @Jim "careful what you say or you'll be reported" Coleman - I helped my dad set up his contacts and access them on his 'dumbphone' Nokia 6510. Does that make it a complicated OS?

          Hopefully you won't report me for questioning your logic.

  8. Dorro

    You see more people showing off their iDevices. Others prefer to keep their trench coats on rather than flashing their feeble manhoods.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What a girly thing to say!

      I dont think about men flashing. Suppose iDevice owners are somewhat different.

    2. Some Beggar

      Do people really show off with smartphones these days?

      I mean ... they're hardly a status symbol. Tweenagers and grandmothers have them.

      The only phone I've seen being waved around recently was the samsung s3. And that was mainly because it had the biggest screen to watch a _hilarious_ interweb video.

  9. Mike Judge

    I'm guessing Apple are rewriting their slides as we speak.

    "change the word activations to shipment averages*"

    *Sequence shortened, numbers quoted are fictional, actual figures will be wildly different at end of year audit, but by which time, everyone will have forgotten.

    1. ThomH

      Re: I'm guessing Apple are rewriting their slides as we speak.

      Apple's figures have so far always matched between public announcements and those required by law to be accurate (earnings calls, audits, etc).

  10. Joe Harrison

    Do they know what they are doing?

    I switched on my unbranded (imported from Chinese website) tablet and the next day I got a welcome on-board e-mail from Google saying thank you for "activating" your Galaxy Nexus product.

    1. arrbee

      Re: Do they know what they are doing?

      I got much the same thing from the itvplayer app ; tvcatchup was ok though

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do they know what they are doing?

      Because your Chinese tablet was using a Nexus ROM.... Not really Google's fault....

    3. Alain

      Re: Do they know what they are doing?

      Look at the /system/build.prop file on your tablet. Chances are that the chinese manufacturer has faked the device ID there in an attempt to make it able to download more apps from the Google Play Store.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's no doubt about it. Android is what the sheep are buying now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You do know

      That Android isn't a end-user product?

      Yon are free to choose whatever Android phone you like, and the beauty is your apps will work on whatever Android phone you pick next time.... No hardware lock-in...

      1. Fibbles

        If android is for sheep then I'll happily chew grass and baa. Popular doesn't equate to bad, despite what hipsters like to believe.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lies, damn lies and statistics

    Gotta love those statiticians on how they manipulate numbers in their favor. Android activations are not small, but how do they arrive at those numbers? Does everytime someone do a factor reinstall and sign-in count as an activation? Is it those who have a Google Play account? How many of us have more than one GP account?

    As far as upgrading a phone goes? We've seen a considerable increase in Android over the last two years simply because Apple can't get their heads out of the arse in realizing that when it comes to screen size, bigger is definitely better. The "not even" modest upgrade coming to the iPhone5 in the fall is virtually insignificant. It's a mere 0.5 inch upgrade. I do predict iPhone5 sales will be much higher because most people are brainwashed (by Apple) and their fan-base to believe they don't need a larger screen. If they want larger, they can then buy one of their iPads.

    Most people (outside of North America) don't upgrade every 2 years. Their contracts are for 3 years like in Canada. Many people buy hacked, grey market, or "clonded" smartphones which for the most part run Android.

    Whenever stats are shoved into our faces, people need to take a few steps back and really analyze the numbers instead of taking them at face value. Unfortunately, like those in the medical profession, most people are either too lazy or don't have the time to research the data presented to them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lies, damn lies and statistics

      > How many of us have more than one GP account?

      How many of us have purchased more than one phone from the same manufacturer or running the same OS?

      I've had at least 8 Nokias, 2 Motorolas and 1 err Trium (Yuck)

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