Over 700,000 Android devices are being activated every day, but that’s not exactly good news

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Andy Rubin (pictured above, left), the father of Google’s mobile operating system, just posted this status update on his Google+ account: “There are now over 700,000 Android devices activated every day.” At first glance it comes off as a hugely impressive number, that’s almost 5 million devices per week, but according to our estimates Android growth is slowing down. Back in May Google was saying they were activating over 400,000 devices per day. In June that number was raised to over 500,000 per day, but more importantly Andy Rubin, via Twitter, said that the activation rate was increasing at a rate of 4.4% week over week. Using Andy’s growth rate we calculated that by the end of October 2011 Android activations should be in the over 1,000,000 per day range. So what happened? It would be foolish to blame the iPhone, Windows Phone, or any other platform for this slow down. We think what we’re witnessing is the inability for smartphones to scale down to feature phone prices without sacrificing a significant amount of functionality.

There are sub $150 Android smartphones out on the market, but you don’t really want to be caught using one. Build quality is typically nonexistent, you can forget about having a responsive interface, and most applications in the Android market refuse to run on what’s usually a 320 x 240 pixel display. Earlier this year we had a conversation with Eldar Murtazin, the Editor in Chief of Mobile-Review, about the future of Android. He said that many folks are going to be let down by where Android is going to go in 2012, that Google is going to focus on enabling the creation of $100 smartphones. At the time we thought that Google aiming for the low end seemed a bit off, but now it makes an incredible amount of sense.

As Nokia likes to say, “the next billion” is where the market potential is.

Update 01: Here’s a chart from Twitter user @ThembeK (here’s his LinkedIn profile) that illustrates (in red) where Google Android activations would be if Andy Rubin’s 4.4% week over week growth was actually true. The reality is in green, at just 1.4%.

Update 02: To those of you who think the point we’re trying to make about Android growth slowing down is incorrect, read what this analyst has to say. Hint: He agrees with us.

  • http://techspalace.blogspot.com Technical Fun

    Approaching threshold.

  • http://briefmobile.com/ Korey Nicholson

    They can only activate so many a day before you reach everyone…

  • Alberto Zaragoza Comendador

    The guy who wrote this obviously has no idea. Could he name a specific phone that sells for $150, has QVGA resolution and a non-responsive interface?

    For $110 you get the Huawei Fusion which is quite responsive, has HVGA and excellent build quality (I now cause I have one). Hell, for $200 you get the ZTE Blade which has a massive WVGA screen. Really, what are you talking about?

    • http://www.intomobile.com/ Stefan Constantinescu

      My local gadget store has low cost Android devices out for people to play with. I was there just yesterday in fact and was playing with a few of the ZTE units. Compared to my iPhone 4 and my Nexus One, the 200 EUR ZTE Blade was a steaming pile of … well, you know.

      • Seq1

        Serious? What do you expect? These low cost devices of course do not offer all the specs you want when spending more than € 500 on a phone. However, they do the trick.

        These low cost phones  for € 100 – 2000 are offered e.g. at discount supermarkets here in Germany already and are for those people who have not even thought about buying a smartphone in the past. This is a total different story. I think of giving one of them to my sister for Christmas, she is currently using an old N97 I had in my drawer. And I would assume she will be very happy with it. One tends to think that the rest of the folks is just like us, always searching for the latest gadgets, but for the broader public this simply is not the case.

        And for google it does not make any difference if Android is run on an SGS2 or a Huawei device. Insofar I agree, the next billion will be a very interesting market. And I would assume that these low smartphones will have a big piece of this cake.

        • http://www.intomobile.com/ Stefan Constantinescu

          Let me clarify. It doesn’t make sense to put Android, as it currently is, on a low end device and expect it to run well or be built properly. Nokia builds fantastic feature phones in the 100 EUR to 200 EUR price category, both in terms of performance and build quality.

          What I’m saying is that Google needs to focus on creating a version of Android that runs extremely well on devices that are in the 100 EUR to 200 EUR price range, instead of expecting Chinese handset vendors like Huawei and ZTE to shove Android on the cheapest possible hardware in the world and expect it to be buttery.

          • Marin

            I think that the price of components coming down will help a lot. A 1 GHz processor is relatively cheap now, and a dual-core one will be by this point next year. If future versions of Android can’t run well on a dual-core 1+ GHz processor, then Google is doing something wrong. 

          • http://www.intomobile.com/ Stefan Constantinescu

            Agreed, but how will Google enter the sub $100 market? They really need to make a version of Android specifically for low end devices that doesn’t mean handset vendors have to sacrifice material and build quality.

      • Jaime Ramirez

        ITS NOT GOOD NEWS!!???? hey APPLE fan boy u telling me u were at 500,000 activation a couple of months and now 700,000 and its not good? its the CUSTOMER that make there choice of phone to choose from!!! THAT A REAL ACCOMPLISHMENT GIVE CREDIT WHEN ITS DO!!!

      • Jaime Ramirez

        ITS NOT GOOD NEWS!!???? hey APPLE fan boy u telling me u were at 500,000 activation a couple of months and now 700,000 and its not good? its the CUSTOMER that make there choice of phone to choose from!!! THAT A REAL ACCOMPLISHMENT GIVE CREDIT WHEN ITS DO!!!

      • Jaime Ramirez

        ITS NOT GOOD NEWS!!???? hey APPLE fan boy u telling me u were at 500,000 activation a couple of months and now 700,000 and its not good? its the CUSTOMER that make there choice of phone to choose from!!! THAT A REAL ACCOMPLISHMENT GIVE CREDIT WHEN ITS DO!!!

        • http://www.intomobile.com/ Stefan Constantinescu

          What part of “compared to my iPhone 4 and my Nexus One” did you miss?

          • Jaime Ramirez

            WHY DONT U JUST GIVE ANDROID AND GOOGLE CREDIT AND NOT TRY TO ADD SOMETHING BAD ABOUT IT!!!

          • http://www.intomobile.com/ Stefan Constantinescu

            It’s called perspective. I’d tell you to get some, but right now your priority should be to fix the broken caps lock key on your keyboard.

      • Drew Nusser

        I hope you’re talking about off-contract prices…

        • http://www.intomobile.com/ Stefan Constantinescu

          No one does contracts in Finland.

          • Drew Nusser

            Oh, gotcha.

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