Google's (News - Alert) chairman Eric Schmidt recently staged an interview with AllThingsD, and while plenty of interesting bits of information came out in the interview, perhaps one of the biggest was the revelation that, if the current pace holds up, by this time next year there would be one billion active Android (News - Alert) devices operating on the face of the Earth.
Schmidt made the numbers very clear indeed: as of last month, the actual total was nearly halfway to the projected number, at 480 million Android devices up and operating, fully activated, across the planet. Additionally, the company was activating new devices at the rate of, on average, 1.3 million per day. If that rate holds into next year--and there's not much of a reason to assume that it won't--that means that Android would cross the one billion device threshold probably before the first cry of "trick or treat" goes up in 2013.
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Though the scope is somewhat surprising, it also should come as little surprise given the sheer number of different devices that fall under the umbrella--though at this point it's more of a tent--of "Android devices." Dozens of different smartphones, including several lesser models that are largely unheard of outside of specialist circles like the Elysium or the FortisX, as well as a panoply of tablets make up the wide array of "Android devices" out there. Activating a billion of them may not be so difficult as some might think, given the huge array of devices, and the huge number of countries that use those devices.
Additionally, given the sheer number of services Google can offer for those devices--media like Google Play and YouTube (News - Alert), Google Apps for applications, Google Docs, the wide array of applications on the Android App Store and the steadily mounting numbers of applications running under the HTML5 platform that will make themselves much more amenable to most any device--it makes Android devices a plan worth considering for many users.
However, it's safe to say that Android devices will have stiff competition in their quest for a billion; after all, iOS devices account for essentially three devices total--the iPad, the iPod Touch and the iPhone (News - Alert), with some wiggle room left in there for earlier versions of each--and yet they control a substantial portion of the market. Add to that the destabilizing element known as Windows Phone (News - Alert)--along with, of course, the laptop, desktop and tablets running some variant of Windows--and the market looks a whole lot less clear than it did even at the outset.
The end result, of course, is a market filled with challenges and uncertainty alike. But it's also a market in which Google is likely to achieve its goal of one billion devices active by next year. Only time will tell if they can ultimately pull it off, but they've certainly got every chance to do so.
Edited by Brooke Neuman