Google activating 300,000 Android devices per day, for free

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Google's vice president of engineering Andy Rubin sent out his second tweet, this time announcing the company is now activating 300,000 Android phones each day. That's unlikely to have passed Apple's current activation rate for iOS devices, and Google is making no direct revenues from the widespread distribution of its software.



"There are over 300,000 Android phones activated each day," Rubin tweeted from his little used Twitter account. The tweet appeared to be a response to reports that Android activations were plateauing.



In August, Google reported activations of 200,000 Android devices per day, while just days ago, the company reported a weekly activation number of 1.5 million, or just over 214,000 activations per day. If the company is actually activating 300,000 devices per day, it should have reported a weekly figure of 2.1 million.



If Rubin's latest figure is the correct number, it indicates that Android's 50 percent growth has continued at nearly the same pace as this summer, when it added a whopping 60 percent more activations across a single month.



Rubin's new figure is higher than the 270,000 iOS device daily average Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs provided back in October, a point at which the company was only hitting 300,000 daily activations on occasional peak sales days.



Google almost certainly still behind Apple's iOS activations figure



However, given the growth in activations Apple reported between the beginning of September at its iPod Event, and mid October during the company's quarterly earnings conference call, a rise of 40,000 new activations per day on average across just a month and a half, it seems likely that Apple has continued to experience growth of its own in the past two months. If the holidays haven't boosted Apple's sales rate at all, it should now be activating at least 310,000 iOS devices per day, with peak days likely exceeding at least 340,000 activations.



Android may still catch up and surpass Apple's iOS activations at some point next year, unless the iPhone's debut on Verizon Wireless results in a rapid burst of new sales at Android's expense. Verizon has been activating a large number of Android phones in "buy one, get one" deals intended to push its subscribers toward more lucrative data contracts.



The primary difference between Apple's activations and Google's is that Apple earns billions of dollars per quarter on those device activations as it inhales the largest chunk of hardware profits of the mobile phone industry, the vast majority of the profits in media players with the iPod, and nearly all profits related to the tablet market with the iPad, while Google is giving away its software just to gain market share it hopes to use to sell advertising space.



If Google could charge a $10 licensing fee per Android device, it could be earning $3 million per day, or over a $1 billion per year in software revenues at the current pace of activations. Of course, charging anything for licensing would make Android that much less attractive compared to Nokia's Symbian or Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, both of which have conceded severe cuts in their licensing fees just to get phone makers to use their software.



Google does earn revenues from mobile ads on Android, but it recently reported that it projected just $1 billion in total mobile revenue from ads across all mobile platforms. Apple also earns advertising revenues from its own iAd program, which is restricted to iOS devices. Both have been assigned identical 21 percent shares of the mobile ad market.







A little light tweeting



Rubin's only other public tweet was a geeky retort to Steve Jobs' October comments, when the chief executive of Apple complained that "Google loves to characterize Android as open and iPhone as closed. We see this disingenuous and clouding the difference."



Rubin replied via Twitter, "the definition of open: 'mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make." That's the command to create a new directory, download the Android source code, and then compile it into usable software.



Rubin's tweet didn't really answer the issue Jobs raised however, which was that "unlike Windows, where PCs have the same interface, Android is very fragmented. HTC and Motorola install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves. The user left to figure it out."



Jobs had also noted that, "many Android apps work only on selected handsets, or selected Android versions. This is for handsets that shipped 12 months ago. Compare with iPhone, where are two versions to test against, the current and most recent predecessor."



While Google does indeed offer the core distribution of Android code for free, it does not provide free, open source distribution of its own "with Google" apps, which offer a large portion of the value present on Android phones, nor does the company release upcoming software builds in the same manner as other open source projects such as Apple's WebKit, where anyone can download the latest nightly builds as the software is developed, and contribute toward development as a member of the community.



Google frequently closes Android development to work in secret with one hardware maker per release. For example, the company debuted Android with HTC, then exclusively shipped Android OS 2.0 first on Motorola hardware, Android 2.2 Froyo on its own Nexus One (built by HTC), and most recently Android 2.3 Gingerbread in a secret partnership with Samsung's new Nexus S.



As of December 1, 17 percent of Android phones accessing Android Market continue to use a 1.x version of Android dating back to 2009, while nearly 40 percent use a 2.x version prior to the most recent 2.2 Froyo release, according to Google.



This fragmentation complicates the deployment and testing of Android apps, which is part of the reason why Google makes very little from Android Market compared to the revenues Apple earns from the iOS App Store. Apple says it intends to run the App Store at break even, allowing its profit share from app sales to be invested back into the iTunes experience for iOS users and developers, something Google does not provide for Android users at all.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 175
    You can just imagine the bitter fanboys tears streaming from your face...





    300,000 Android phones a day comes out to about 110 million a year 27 million a quarter.



    Google is now outselling Nokia's 26.5 million for last quarter.



    Apple only sold 14 million phones last quarter. Android is almost doubling iPhone sales. That is some epic ownage of Apple by Google.
  • Reply 2 of 175
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaiZuri View Post


    You can just imagine the bitter fanboys tears streaming from your face...





    300,000 Android phones a day comes out to about 110 million a year 27 million a quarter.



    Google is now outselling Nokia's 26.5 million for last quarter.



    Apple only sold 14 million phones last quarter. Android is almost doubling iPhone sales. That is some epic ownage of Apple by Google.



    Google(android) isn't "outselling" anyone. They are GIVING it away.



    Also, completely agree about not being open. The core android code is not OPEN in the open software sense(eg Linux). Yes, the platform is open, slight big difference. That said, the competition is good for users.
  • Reply 3 of 175
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,608member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaiZuri View Post


    You can just imagine the bitter fanboys tears streaming from your face...





    300,000 Android phones a day comes out to about 110 million a year 27 million a quarter.



    Google is now outselling Nokia's 26.5 million for last quarter.



    Apple only sold 14 million phones last quarter. Android is almost doubling iPhone sales. That is some epic ownage of Apple by Google.



    You are mixing stats. This isn't all phones, for either camp. What it doesn't show (yet) is Android dominating the market. What it doesn't show at all is profit comparisons between companies. Apple is way ahead there, and as a stock holder that is my main concern.
  • Reply 4 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaiZuri View Post


    You can just imagine the bitter fanboys tears streaming from your face...





    300,000 Android phones a day comes out to about 110 million a year 27 million a quarter.



    Google is now outselling Nokia's 26.5 million for last quarter.



    Apple only sold 14 million phones last quarter. Android is almost doubling iPhone sales. That is some epic ownage of Apple by Google.



    Did you actually read the article? The part where it said that it's estimated that there are 340,000 iOS devices activated a day.





    The other part, that's 300,000 free Android devices, which makes Google a whopping $0/unit. Whereas Apple's making money on every device.
  • Reply 5 of 175
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,031member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by skottichan View Post


    Did you actually read the article? The part where it said that it's estimated that there are 340,000 iOS devices activated a day.





    The other part, that's 300,000 free Android devices, which makes Google a whopping $0/unit. Whereas Apple's making money on every device.



    I'm sure it was only yesterday people were triumphantly crowing about unit share. The numbers change, and so does the line of argument.
  • Reply 6 of 175
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,083member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by skottichan View Post


    Did you actually read the article? The part where it said that it's estimated that there are 340,000 iOS devices activated a day.



    Well, it's stimated, not a fact and it includes iPhones, iPods and iPads. Google numbers only includes devices wichch can access Android Market: phones and Galaxy Tab
  • Reply 7 of 175
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post


    Also, completely agree about not being open. The core android code is not OPEN in the open software sense(eg Linux). Yes, the platform is open, slight big difference. That said, the competition is good for users.



    Yes, it is open. It's fully open source, in fact. You can find the source code here.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by skottichan


    The other part, that's 300,000 free Android devices, which makes Google a whopping $0/unit. Whereas Apple's making money on every device.



    Apple are a hardware company. Everything they do is designed to drive hardware sales. Google are an advertising company. Everything they do is designed to drive advertising revenue. Two very different business models competing in the same space.
  • Reply 8 of 175
    Clarification;

    iOS devices = iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads

    Android devices = Android phones and Android tablets



    So this is not just a mobile phone market share piece.



    However, I do believe that these numbers must be including upgrades and re-activations following device resets, otherwise you would see in the real world that there are almost as many people with Android devices as iOS devices.



    I live in London, and on a daily commute will spot a large proportion of people travelling on public transport on IPhones, listening to or playing with iPod Touches and a few times a week I see people with iPads.



    For those who don't have iPhones, the majority of others are Nokia and Blackberry phones and I've never see anyone on trains / public transport here with any other type of tablet device.



    Then when I look at my cirle of friends and work colleagues, I would say that 90% have either iPhones, Nokia Symbian and Blackberry devices. Only a handful of people I know have jumped onto the Android platform.



    I personally see no complelling reason to opt for an Android device other than the price. Yes, there are a few features that would be nice to have, but nothing outstanding.



    What concerns me more are getting software upgrades as they are released. My previous device was a Vodafone branded Nokia N95 8GB. It frustrated me that;

    1. Vodafone would drag they feet at getting the latest release of firmware to the phone.

    2. Even if I opted to re-code the phone to take the UK generic firmware, it was still often months behind other international releases.



    What I see with Android is even worse. Each Android handset manufacturer seems to take an age to get updates to the phone. Just look at how many devices are 1.x, 2.1, etc.



    As for Google not making any money from the platform, well, which company would invest so much resource, money and time into a platform if they didn't have a revenue stream coming from it.



    If it is not from selling the platform to the handset manufacturers, then I suspect it will come in the form of direct advertising (possible Geo-ads) or other getting you tied into the Google eco-system so that you are then going to use Google more on your computer, where they can target you with ads. Neither is something I want.



    Phil
  • Reply 9 of 175
    nkhmnkhm Posts: 928member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaiZuri View Post


    You can just imagine the bitter fanboys tears streaming from your face...





    300,000 Android phones a day comes out to about 110 million a year 27 million a quarter.



    Google is now outselling Nokia's 26.5 million for last quarter.



    Apple only sold 14 million phones last quarter. Android is almost doubling iPhone sales. That is some epic ownage of Apple by Google.



    Except for Android is installed on most phones given away for free, on two for one offers or on $10 handsets - greater market share != success.



    Android should be outselling iOS by massive margins - that it is only just keeping up is appalling - they're giving this OS away and it can still only just keep ahead?



    As a businessman, I'd rather sell three units at $300 than nine units at $10 and give even more away for free...
  • Reply 10 of 175
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,083member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by womble2k2 View Post


    Clarification;

    Android devices = Android phones and Android tablets



    So this is not just a mobile phone market share piece.



    However, I do believe that these numbers must be including upgrades and re-activations following device resets, otherwise you would see in the real world that there are almost as many people with Android devices as iOS devices.

    Phil



    No, it doesn't include reactivations and upgrades.



    And the only tablet which has access to market is Galaxy Tab.



    for people in USA, here in Spain Android phones costs almost the same as iPhone subsidized.
  • Reply 11 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nkhm View Post


    Except for Android is installed on most phones given away for free, on two for one offers or on $10 handsets - greater market share != success.



    Neither does any other arbitrary metric you wish to measure "success" by



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nkhm View Post


    As a businessman, I'd rather sell three units at $300 than nine units at $10 and give even more away for free...



    Yes, I'm sure you know much more than either Google or Apple regarding this. I hope you realize Google also "gives away" their search engine; the very one which earns them billions of dollars annually.
  • Reply 12 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by skottichan View Post


    The other part, that's 300,000 free Android devices, which makes Google a whopping $0/unit. Whereas Apple's making money on every device.



    Google do (or will) make revenue from each handset. Whether it is;

    - selling you additional services

    - getting you locked into the Google eco-system, where they can analyse your emails, documents, etc for key words to target advertising at you

    - tracking your Geographic location to enhance it's knowledge profile of you, again to improve the relevance of advertising targeted at you.



    No company on the planet would invest so much time, effort and resources if it didn't have a good business plan to recoup their investment and make a profit. The problem is that it is not clear what Google's business plan is for these devices and as a consumer, that makes me uncomfortable.



    However, if you look at Google's history, you can see it is very good at turning a profit from alleged 'free' services. That is to say, the vast majority of the population don't really care about how Google makes money, they just want (and expect) free Internet searches, free web based email, free mapping with satellite and street views, free document editing, .... They don't care about the advertising on the webpages they access to get these services.



    I've been wondering for a while whether a business plan could be formed for paid internet searches, where users subscribe to the service but get results that are fairly ranked, no skewing of placings based on how much a website is paying per click or any sponsored listings. The answer I sadly keep on coming to is 'no', as who would pay for something that they believe they can get for free.



    Google and Apple have very different overall business models, each of which has advantages and disadvantages, but at the end of the day, if they work, then that is all that matters. What all of these analysts struggle with though, is getting an understanding of how successful these business models are against what the companies, that their customers (investors) have invested their money in, were expecting. Gone are are days when every company followed almost identical business models.



    Apple's model is about making money at the point a device is sold, and including revenue in that sale to support the device through it's expected lifecycle.



    Google's model is about making money throughout the devices (or services) expected lifecycle, fronting the costs upfront. In the case of mobile devices, the cost is broadly the same if 100,000 handsets are sold, or 100 trillion as they only develop and then licence the software.



    Google's plan is more risky but driving a high volume of devices is key, as you then only need a small percentage of devices (and their users) to 'pay up' to make a good profit.



    Phil
  • Reply 13 of 175
    Why is it always apple against the other guys?
  • Reply 14 of 175
    Quote:

    Google activating 300,000 Android devices per day, for free





    Apple is a hardware company



    Google is a advertising company





    Easiest way to gain market share is to give your product for free.





    Advertising companies collect data on everyone and everything to sell for marketing purposes which incidentally, can be used for any reason after that if enough money, criminality or poor security is involved.



    Apple can utilize the advantage they have over Google by insuring the safety and privacy of purchasers of their hardware. That means standing up against the wishes of advertising and marketing companies. That means no web bugs, trackers, history sniffing, click pings and other missuses of technology.



    What Microsoft was to the old Apple Computer Inc., Google is to the new Apple Inc.
  • Reply 15 of 175
    From that 300,000, only 10% is comparable to iPhone 3GS, the rest are craps. Is it fair comparison?
  • Reply 16 of 175
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,083member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fuwafuwa View Post


    From that 300,000, only 10% is comparable to iPhone 3GS, the rest are craps. Is it fair comparison?



    LOL
  • Reply 17 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDIOWarrior View Post


    Why is it always apple against the other guys?



    The original versus the copycats. It's always been that way. It always will be.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MarkJones View Post


    What Microsoft was to the old Apple Computer Inc., Google is to the new Apple Inc.



    The two situations aren't even remotely similar. I don't understand why people keep repeating this meme. Most significantly, the Mac never had the market share in computers that the iPhone has in smart phones, but there are numerous other differences too. It doesn't take a whole lot of thinking and even a casual acquaintance with computing history to see how that comparison doesn't really work. In fact, you can make a far more compelling argument that in this case, Apple is more like Microsoft of yesteryear and Google is the mid-80s Apple, but even that comparison is not entirely without flaws.
  • Reply 18 of 175
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,083member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by inkswamp View Post


    The original versus the copycats. It's always been that way. It always will be.



    Do you really believe those things?
  • Reply 19 of 175
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


    Yes, it is open. It's fully open source, in fact. You can find the source code here.







    Apple are a hardware company. Everything they do is designed to drive hardware sales. Google are an advertising company. Everything they do is designed to drive advertising revenue. Two very different business models competing in the same space.



    Actually, no. You've fallen into the Google trap. That downloads the core OS and the frameworks, but it does not include the source to most of the Apps that are typically found on an Android device. Those are help back by Google to force licensing from Google. Without those, you have an OS and a launcher, but not the app experience customers would expect.



    As a person involved in developing an Android-based platform, I have lived this discovery.
  • Reply 20 of 175
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,083member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cwoloszynski View Post


    Actually, no.



    Actually yes, GMail, Google Maps or Android Market aren't part of Android
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