One Billion Androids? Later This Year!


One billion is a large number. If you had a billion one dollar bills and lined them up end-to-end, you could give them to me and I’d retire tomorrow.  Seriously though, you could wrap them around the Earth at the equator — almost four times. One billion is a very large number.

Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, is pretty optimistic about Android. One would imagine that any CEO of any company would be relatively optimistic about whatever their employer produced. In this case, it’s a little more than simple optimism. Eric Schmidt thinks that Android is on track to surpass one billion units soon.

How did he come up with those numbers? Looking at the state of Android today…

  • There are over 750 million Android phones in use — this doesn’t include Android-powered tablets, Google TV set top boxes, fobs that you plug into a monitor, or Google Glass.
  • There are over 320 carriers that support Android
  • … in over 160 countries, and
  • There are 1.5 million sales or activations every day

Carrying those numbers forward, Schmidt thinks that crossing the momentous 1 billion mark will happen later this year.

How does Google intend on reaching that very ambitious target? According to Schmidt, their “goal is to reach everybody”. One way to do that is by helping reduce the cost of handsets below the US$600 threshold that today’s high-end smartphones demand. Google is leading the charge by offering their very nicely spec’d Nexus 4 for less than $300. They still have a way to go.

Unfortunately, as many of my friends and readers in other countries will be quick to point out, Google’s flagship phone isn’t available in every country, and in some countries it costs much, much more than the list price in the Americas. Patience, my friends: your inexpensive Android can’t be far off.

How many iPhones has Apple sold? Given that the more “fruity” company got a head-start by somewhere around a year, some would say the comparison between Android and iPhone “isn’t fair”. The numbers, however, point to Android outnumbering iPhone by a significant margin. So significant, in fact, that it brings Schmidt’s “one billion” remark into question. Was he including all Android-powered devices to-date? Could he have meant the number of activations (and not having taken into account when a single device may be activated multiple times)?

Who knows. I have to trust that words coming from a company’s CEO are accurate. When numbers are cited by an Executive of a publicly traded company, they’d better be right, or shareholders and the FTC will soon be knocking down his door.

Assuming his figure is correct, what do you think Android’s dominance means for the state of the mobile environment? What must Apple do to catch up? Do you think they will? We’re eager to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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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.