Google exec Andy Rubin announced that 300,000 Android phones are activated every day – an enormous number of phones, no matter which way you slice it, and a sizable increase over the 200,000 daily Android activations Google trumpeted just four months ago. So yes, Android is gathering steam. But how does Google's mobile OS stack up against its competitors?
Well, for now, Apple and Google seem to be running more or less neck-in-neck, although Android has a slight edge. According to PC World, Steve Jobs said in October that "Apple was activating 270,000 iOS devices per day on average, with occasional daily peaks of 300,000." But as Daniel Ionescu of PC World notes, the proliferation of Android phones and tablets give Google a whole lot of momentum.
"Android's strength lies in the number of devices running the mobile OS, whose combined numbers are now probably overtaking Apple's numbers," Ionescu wrote. He included a caveat: "The difference is that not a single Android phone managed to pull in the sort of sales figures of any iteration of the iPhone: 1.7 million iPhone 4 were sold in just three days after launch, and 14.1 million units through September."
In other words, Android OS is a force to be reckoned with, but no Android phone has yet demonstrated the blockbuster power of an Apple device.
Back in August, the analytics firm iSuppli predicted that, by 2012, the Android operating system will be on 75 million smartphones around the world. By comparison, iSuppli reps said, Apple's iOS will be used on a still-sizable 62 million iPhone handsets. (It's important to note we're talking about an operating system, and not just a phone – Apple's iOS is used on the iPad and the iPhone, just like Android is used on the Galaxy Tab and the Droid.)
"People are finally beginning to figure out how successful Android is," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said at the Techonomy conference earlier this summer, not long after Google had confirmed it was activating 200,000 Android phones a day. "The number was about 100,000 (a day) about two months ago. It looks like Android is not just phenomenal but incredibly phenomenal in its growth rate. God knows how long that will continue."