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Google activates 900,000 Android devices a day, but where are the tablets?

Android market share peaking

Android’s chief architect Andy Rubin has revealed that Android mobile device activations have now reached 900,000 devices per day, marking a new milestone for the platform that’s already by far the top-selling smartphone platform on the planet. Back in February, Rubin indicated Android had reached a milestone of 850,000 device activations per day.

For Google, the 900,000-devices-a-day benchmark also indicates a slowdown in the growth of Android adoption. To be sure, Android is still growing — just not as quickly as it was in 2011. Rubin indicated some 700,000 devices a day were being activated in December 2011, meaning the platform saw a boost of 150,000 additional activations per day in the two months leading to February 2012 — a period that conveniently covers the results of the end-of-year holiday buying season. Since then, it’s taken Google four months to increase that number by 50,000 units a day.

Android new device activations (chart June 2012)

If Android’s current rate of new device activation continues, Android likely won’t hit its next major milestone — a million new devices activated every day — until the first quarter of 2013 — although Android could see a significant boost around that time from 2012 holiday sales.

Rubin’s report of new Android device activates meshes well with figures from market analysis firms Gartner, IDC, and Nielsen, which have all reported a slowdown in Android’s overall growth rate.

What’s perhaps most troubling for the Android platform is that, in the wake of the Kindle Fire’s fizzle, the vast majority of Android devices being activated are smartphones, rather than tablets. That means, more than two years after the Apple iPad went on sale, the Android platform has yet to mount a compelling alternative. And time may be running out for Google on tablets, since Microsoft is on the verge of unleashing its own tablet ecosystem with Windows RT. Google has been rumored to be working up to its own Nexus-flavored tablet offering for months, but if the company isn’t careful, they may find themselves stuck between the rock and hard place of Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows RT.