Over 500,000 new Android devices are activated daily, according to Android chief Andy Rubin, signaling remarkable growth for the platform that is cementing Google’s foothold in the burgeoning mobile space.
Just last month, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced that 400,000 Android devices came online each day. Rubin made the latest announcement in a tweet, adding that the platform was growing at a week-over-week rate of 4.4 percent.
Apple’s most recently reported activation figure was 366,000 iOS devices daily in January. Before that, the company said it saw 230,000 daily activations on September 1. That translates to growth of about 60 percent over the four-month period, which is dwarfed by Android’s rate of 200 percent over roughly the same span.
Google gives Android away to device makers to ensure that its search service and applications remain front and center in the mobile ecosystem. That strategy has seen the platform’s market share surge from near-zero at the end of 2008 to around 36 percent of the U.S. smartphone market today.
Its explosive growth, driven by handsets from a range of manufactures, has pushed Android past RIM’s BlackBerry and Apple’s iOS to hold the top spot in the smartphone platform wars.
The company’s Android strategy appears to have been well founded, as a recent study found that Americans now spend more time using mobile apps than accessing the web. Mobile has clearly transitioned from being a specialized corner of the way people interact with technology and the Internet to being a major, if not dominant, mode.
By contrast, Microsoft, which was a smartphone pioneer, let its leadership slip so far that, though it rebooted its ailing mobile platform last year, it barely hits single-digit market share in the U.S. now. Former smartphone champions Nokia and RIM have also seen their positions deeply eroded by upstarts Apple and Google.
Android could be set for another growth spurt soon as tablets based on the platform begin to pose a credible threat to Apple’s wildly-popular iPad.