2.5 Billion

Posted on May 7, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 12 Comments

Google announced today that there are now over 2.5 billion monthly active Android devices worldwide, up from 2 billion in 2017.

I heard about the new milestone during the Google I/O 2019 keynote address today. But the Android team tweeted about it as well, noting, “10 years and now over 2.5 billion active devices. Thanks for joining us on this journey.”

That’s strong growth, given the overall size of the platform and its market dominance. But growth has slowed a lot since 2017, as you might expect. During Google I/O 2017, Google was able to boast that Android usage had experienced 100 percent growth over the previous two years. This time around, Android usage has grown just 25 percent.

Still, 2.5 billion is 2.5 billion. And Android is, by far, the most popular personal computing platform on earth.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “2.5 Billion”

  1. bart

    Not surprised to see this growth with all those Windows Phone users now switched to Android.

    Oh, wait....

  2. rocwurst

    So Google has 2.5 billion Android smartphones and tablets. Are they also counting AndroidTVs, smartwatches and any other Android devices?

    Interesting that Apple also recently announced there are 1.4 billion active Apple devices out of which about 1.2 billion are iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) and the rest Macs, AppleTVs and Apple Watches.

    So that puts Apple's iOS platform near 50% the size of Google's Android platform which is far higher than the quarterly smartphone market share figures all the analysts continuously trumpet.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Rocwurst:

      Sure it does include everything. They want that number as large as possible so developers spend their energy developing for the platform.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to Rocwurst:

      And Apple's revenue from iOS is much greater. Margins for Android's OEMs are not very good with the average transaction price for a new Android phone running at $200 and possibly just below. Samsung's average transaction price is about $250, so non-Samsung OEMs don't do very well nor do retailers.

      Apple's average iPhone transaction price is in the $800 range.

      A larger question as well is if this includes forked versions of the OS, even if they were forked long ago. Amazon Kindle tablets and possibly Echo speakers could all be lumped into the Android device category. Hard to really know.

      Apple and Microsoft's reports are much cleaner overall.

      The other issue is that you cannot write once and run everywhere on all those Android devices. There are a lot of underlying problems in the ecosystem. Building apps for Android can be a headache because it does not always behave as predictably as ecosystems like iOS, Mac, and Windows do. That's the hardest part for developing in my work - we do Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. Android is ALWAYS the biggest headache.

      • wright_is

        In reply to jrickel96:

        Kindle etc. don't use the Google Play Store, so I would guess they don't count as active Android devices. If they are active and Google know about them, they are phoning home somehow and Play is the most obvious vector.

    • Chris Payne

      In reply to Rocwurst:

      Well, those may be overall deployed device numbers, but that doesn't necessarily translate into market share or sales share.

      • rocwurst

        In reply to unkinected:

        It doesn't have to when Apple is already dominating Android in all the metrics that unit sales market share is *supposed* to result in.

        High unit sales market share normally results in high revenue, but with the Average selling price (ASP) of Android phones barely making it over 200 dollars, Apple’s 800 dollar ASP means Apple generates the lion’s share of revenue in the Phone industry.

        However, even more importantly Android’s razor-thin margins (or losses in all too many cases) means that Apple regularly capture 90% or more of the profits in the ENTIRE Mobile industry.

        The other thing that high unit sales market share is supposed to result in is high active user base, but Google can only boast of 2.5 Billion active Android devices barely 2x larger than Apple’s ~1.2 Billion active iOS devices. Obviously, Android devices are thrown away far sooner than Apple’s expensive iPhones and iPads which command resale prices and hand-me-down figures vastly in excess of cheap plastic Androids.

        And lastly, high unit sales market share is supposed to result in larger revenue for 3rd party developers giving that platform all the best software. However, the opposite is true with App Annie reporting that the Apple App Store generates 90% more revenue for third party developers than Google’s Play Store.

        Higher unit sales market share and larger user base is also supposed to generate more advertising and services revenue but again, the opposite is true. Apple's platform generates an enormous 75% of Google's worldwide Search revenues according to Goldman Sachs.

        Likewise, Nanigans reports that iOS users generate an absolutely gob-smacking 1,790 percent more return on investment (ROI) for retail advertisers compared to Android users.

        Not to mention this corker from Nanigans: "It’s not just that Android monetizes worse than iOS — it actually offers negative return on investment. In other words, while advertising on iOS brings retailers 162 percent more cash than they spend on the ads, advertising on Android returns 10 percent less than the cost of the ads."

        As you can see, Apple doesn’t need to capture the majority of the unit sales market share in the world when they already dominate Android in the metrics that actually matter.

  3. wright_is

    Once you start reaching those sorts of numbers, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the growth curve starts to level off.

    I always find the market expectations of continued exponential growth, even when a product category has matured and reached commodity status, to be hilarious.

  4. rocwurst

    The trouble for Google though is that despite the Android installed base of 2.5 billion being a bit over twice the size of Apple's 1.2 billion active iOS devices, Apple's mobile platform generates 90% more revenue for third party developers than Android according to App Annie. No wonder apps still generally come out first and all too often exclusively for iOS.

    And poor old Google can't make up the difference in advertising as iOS users generate 75% of Google's mobile search revenue according to Goldman Sachs.