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Does Anyone Really Know How Successful Android Is?

by Sean P. Aune | July 18, 2010July 18, 2010 8:00 am PDT

I think we have reached a point where we can safely say that no one has any clue how successful the Android OS from Google really is.

Last week we told you how AndroiLib was claiming the Android Market would surpass 100,000 apps this month.  They even produced a pretty graph and everything.  Now Google has come out and said the number currently sits at 70,000 apps in the Android Market.  Admittedly, AndroLib is a third-party entity trying to count the apps, and Google’s number is probably the more trustworthy one, but all of this could be solved if Google would just bluntly number the app count as Apple does in the App Store.  For whatever reason, Google doesn’t, and that leads to wild speculation and uncertainty.

However, going by the official numbers, the market grew from 30,000 apps in April to 70,000 now.  The growth is definitely impressive, but the 100,000 benchmark by the end of this month definitely seems to not be a possibility.

android osSo, AndroLib vs. Google is an easy fight to choose a side in, but what about when Google comes out with its own contradictory numbers?  Back in Feb.,  Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that phone manufacturers were shipping 60,000 Android phones a day.  According to the earnings call this past week, Google is now seeing 160,000 Android phones activated daily.  That is a heck of a jump in five months, and it is possible, but still a bit surprising.

My biggest problem with going by “activation” numbers is trying to figure out how many of those are new customers compared to existing customers upgrading.  There are so many Android phones on the market now, and it seems like there are more each week, that surely a chunk of those numbers are people moving from one Android handset to another.  Using that as any sort of barometer of success is pretty much out the window also.

I am sure Android is successful, and it is capturing a goodly sized portion of the marketplace, but until Google decides to talk to us in plain English, we’ll never know just how successful it really is.  Despite Apple’s history of being secretive, it is pretty upfront about the number of apps and the number of handsets sold.  Why isn’t Google being as upfront about information?

This is certainly not coming from an iPhone “fanboy”, I actually use an HTC Hero, but I am sure a lot of people would like to see Google be as open with its information as it claims it is with its operating system.

What say you?  How successful do you think Android really is?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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