One Billion Androids, Here’s What It Means


Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, recently made a projection that more than 1 billion Android devices will have been activated by this time next year.

Yes. Billion. With a “B”.

That’s an awfully big number! Last month Eric went on the record that there are currently more than 480 million active Android devices around the world, and an additional 1.3 million being added every day. Both are staggering numbers.

As much as I think that’s fabulous news for Android, it’s got me wondering…

What is an “activation”?

I looked and looked, and wasn’t able to find a definitive answer to the question “What is an activation?” Sources seemed to contradict themselves, and various articles cancelled each other out. To me, an “activation” should be a single user connecting a single Android device to their Google Account for the first time. Would you agree?

If so, what if I re-image my Android-powered phone or tablet and have to set it up all over again? Does that count as a new activation, even though it’s the same device?

I’ve activated a whole bunch of Android’s in the last couple years. Probably a dozen or more. I’m only using a few of them presently. Is Google counting each one of my previously activated devices as an “activation”? What about people who’ve activated the same device after me? Review units could be “activated” dozens of times. My phones, as I hand them down to my children or resell them are activated at least one more time. Do all of those activations could toward the 480 million number?

Are “activations” and “active devices” the same?

The better metric would be “active devices”. If that’s the case, Google should have only “four active devices” accredited to me: a Galaxy Nexus, a Nexus 7, a Nexus Q, and a Logitech Google TV box. I have several other devices sitting around that I activated months ago, but haven’t used for quite some time. Is Google counting “active” devices, or are they lumping everything together?

One in seven?

There are around 7 billion people on the planet today. That means roughly one in 15 of us has an Android. Well, unless they’re like me and have “four active devices”.

By this time next year, assuming that Google continues activating 1.3 million Androids each day, the number of active Android devices should double, meaning we’ll have over one billion Android devices around the globe. That will be one in seven people in the world.

Even to “Joe the Android Guy”, that number seems unrealistically high. Perhaps I’m more realist than optimist.

So here’s my plan! Everyone who has an Android-powered device, come over to this article and leave a comment. Make sure you tell your friends who may have missed this article that they need to stand up and be counted. One comment per person per device. We’ll add up all the comments and have the real number.

Okay, that method isn’t any more scientific than some of the others, but I’d really like to know a few things about each of you:

1. How many Android-powered devices have you activated?

2. How many times have you activated each device?

3. Of those, how many would you consider currently “active”?

4. How many devices do you currently use (phone, tablet, Q, TV, etc.)?

Let me know in the comments!


Source: BGR, All Things D

Image Credit: Dr. Evil from Austin Powers

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.