By the Numbers: A History of the Android Invasion

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Love it or hate it, Google’s Android platform continues to storm the mobile market and is now seeing 350,000 device activations per day. The company shared this datapoint on its quarterly earnings call last night, which puts the annual activation rate of Android smartphones, tablets and other devices at a staggering 127.75 million Androids in a year’s time. That assumes sales won’t slow down, and in fact, they’ve recently been growing faster than any other mobile platform even though the first Android phone debuted in October 2008.

To put that in perspective: last September, Apple claimed it shipped 120 million iOS devices over the prior three years. Google is on pace to surpass that number in the next 12 months alone, if not sooner, staking its flag at the top of “Mount Mobile” in a shorter time than competitors. Given the quick rise of Android in 2.5 years and the fact that as of the final quarter of 2010, it was the top-selling smartphone platform, here’s a brief historical timeline of how Google’s, and its hardware partners’, journey to top-dog has progressed to date:

If the timeline doesn’t impress, perhaps this visualization of Android activations over time, put together by Google in February, will help.
While there are other factors that are arguably more important to some — developer revenues on other platforms, Android fragmentation, and malicious applications getting installed — Google has come from nowhere in mobile to surpass the sales of everyone else. No, it’s not the most important number or metric at all, but it’s no less impressive, either.
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