It seems a safe to assume that Android Activations have or very, very soon will pass 1 billion. Yes, that's a big number, but what does it really mean?

Although smartphone sales have slowed recently, it seems a fairly safe assumption that Android Activations have or very, very soon will pass 1 billion. Yes, that’s a big number, but what does it really mean?

It’s simple math. Back on May 15, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said Android activations were running at 1.5 million a day and the total had surpassed 900 million.

That said, Android activations have or soon will hit 1 billion. Considering that Android stood at a “mere” 400 million in May 2012, it’s more than impressive that activations have doubled in a bit more than a year.

Kudos.

Nevertheless, all isn’t well in Android land. Getting better, yes, but deep issues still loom large.

Quantity, Quality and Don Quixote

It seems a safe to assume that Android Activations have or very, very soon will pass 1 billion. Yes, that's a big number, but what does it really mean?

And, it all comes down to this — Android security and developer support is only as good as the most recent update.

For example, everyone not running the most recent version of Android — or 94.4 percent or more of the active installed base (above) — is vulnerable to known exploits. This has resulted in a 614 percent spike in Android malware infections.

Further, with each new infection averaging a $10 return, there is a huge incentive for developers/hackers to keep cashing that check. Seriously, is it more intelligent to a.) create a “clean” app that has little chance of success or b.) farm known opportunities (a.k.a. vulnerabilities) for a bankable return?

If you think about the problem any other way, you are naive. Treating the out-of-control Android security problem as a moral issue is quixotic at best.

Supporting “Real” Developers

And, Android security/malware issues are closely related to the support of real developers — people making money the hard way.

Fundamentally, as far as developers are concerned, they should be developing apps to run on Android 4.0 and the baseline, most-common version of that, v4.0.3 (table above), shipped in December 2011. That’s bad news in terms of potential market, features and security.

If a developer chooses to only write Jelly Bean apps, he’s still stuck back in July 2012, constrained to creating v4.1 compatible apps.

Although it’s possible to create apps only for the most-recent version(s) of Android, the tiny target market — 5.6 percent or about 56 million users spread across the planet — makes the probability of success absurdly low.

All the more absurd when you can write iOS 6.x compatible apps with a potential audience of likely 400 million or – this can’t be repeated enough — 600 million plus Android devices with known, exploitable security issues.

So, congratulations on hitting 1 billion Android activations. Still, Google, Samsung, the other Android OEMs, and carriers have a long, long, long way to go before they can proclaim victory on security let alone over Apple and its iPhone…

What’s your take?

Image: Deviant Art

Source: iDownloadBlog

5 COMMENTS
  1. There may have been 1 billion Android devices activated over the last 5 years, but Flurry reports that only 568 million of them are actually active around the world.

    In contrast, a far higher proportion of Apple’s iOS platform are still active – around 510 million, which makes this figure of 1 billion Android devices pretty meaningless.

    The fact of the matter is that far too many Android devices are just cheap glorified feature phones which are not used for apps or web browsing and add zero value to the Android platform.

    Even more importantly, those Android devices are used 50% less than iOS devices and generate only a quarter the amount of developer revenue, a third the in-app ad impressions, a third the web browser share etc etc.

    In terms of malware, there were 32.8 million Android devices infected with 65,227 different pieces of malware in 2012 alone compared to close to zero malicious exploits for iOS according to NQ Mobile.

    Android’s large smartphone marketshare figures turn out to be not just a hollow accomplishment – they are a downright liability.

  2. Most Android users have no knowledge of exploits and couldn’t care less. The Droid-heads don’t care either because they just consider malware and stuff the labor of love. If Android is open, then it comes with the territory. Most early users are still on Gingerbread because their two-year carrier contracts haven’t expired yet. Once that bunch starts getting new smartphones then the change to a later OS should happen rather quickly. I love the way Google is always boasting about how many activations they have a day. I wonder what they’re going to say when the activations start to drop. I’m just guessing at some point they will as the limited number of humans on the planet cause some sort of saturation point.

    Wall Street believes that Android is a far better OS than iOS because of the greater numbers. It’s all about market share and Android has it all. Apple iOS is being relegated as next to nothing in future growth as its market share slides towards zero. As Apple loses market share to Android, Apple’s shareholder value becomes far less valuable. It’s been happening for almost a year with no signs of a turnaround. Android has cemented itself as the Numero Uno mobile OS and Apple’s iOS is a distant, distant second. Google got what it wanted and was able to destroy Apple’s iPhone empire. Android turned Apple into a has-been company as far as investors are concerned.

  3. 40 percent of the activiations have either been put in a drawer or have been landfilled already — brilliant!

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