Google’s Android boss, Andy Rubin, just said that an astounding 500,000 new Android-powered phones and tablets are now being activated each day worldwide.More amazing, this number is growing at 4% per week.
This leaves Apple in the dust.
Last quarter, Apple sold about 19 million iPhones, for a daily activation rate of about 210,000.
If one includes iPads and iPod touches in the calculation, Apple’s activation rate was about 325,000. Apple’s activation rate has probably gone up significantly since then, especially with the company having stronger iPad sales, but it’s likely nowhere close to 500,000 a day.
Why does this matter?
Photo: Dan Frommer, Business Insider
Because mobile is becoming a platform game. Now that developers are building applications that run on top of mobile devices–applications that make those devices more valuable to their users–market share is critical. If Android grabs a dominant share of the market, as Microsoft’s Windows did in the 1990s, Apple will get increasingly marginalized, and eventually iOS’s value as a platform will plummet.Apple has clearly learned several lessons from its failure in the 1990s, one of which is the need to be competitive on price. iPhones and iPads cost the same or less than Android counterparts, which is helping Apple maintain its market share (even as Android extends its global lead).
Apple also has another advantage that it didn’t have in the 1990s: Android is still a “fragmented” platform, with many different versions and customisations. Google is moving to restrict the amount of customisation that its hardware providers can do, but the fragmentation of different versions of the platform is still a problem for developers (who want ubiquity–write once, run everywhere).
Yesterday, an analyst reported that Apple plans to sell a “cheap” iPhone to better compete against the Android threat. This would be a smart move.
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