If the success of Android is determined by device activations, Google is certainly the market leader. According to Andy Rubin, Google’s Director of Mobile Platforms, there are 700,000 unique Android activations every day.
That means, “we count each device only once (ie, we don’t count re-sold devices), and “activations” means you go into a store, buy a device, put it on the network by subscribing to a wireless service,” according to Rubin, who posted the short message on his newly-updated Google+ page.
There is a lot of speculation over whether Android is making Google any money. It’s one thing to be turning people onto Android devices, but a completely different argument to state that Android is good business. Sure, there are the increased number of ad impressions, but there is proof that the vast majority of Google’s mobile ad revenue comes from iOS users. And since they’re giving away Android’s source code for free to OEMs, who turn around and enter into licensing agreements with software providers to pre-install bloatware on its various locked-down skins, we’re curious to know what Google gets out of all this. We know it’s not app revenue.
Nevertheless, the number itself is quite impressive, and certainly higher than Apple. If the goal is quantitative superiority, Google’s got it made. But with the recent release of Android 4.0, Google owes it to itself to heed a few of the lessons that Apple has learned: tighten down development of the OS; make it more usable; make it more beautiful; attract better developers. That is where the real money is.