Is Android’s growth a myth?

Android hardware outsells iOS hardware. That’s not debatable, it’s a fact. At Google I/O 2013, the all knowing all seeing search engine revealed that they’ve activated 900 million Android devices, but it’s one thing to activate a device and another thing altogether for that device to be in use.

According to the chart above from Flurry Analytics, the number of Android devices in people’s hands exceeded the number of iOS devices late last year, but then look what happened to the growth rate. That steep curve hit a brick wall and it’s been limping along ever since.

Never heard of Flurry Analytics? They claim to have “the world’s largest data set on app usage”, and I believe them. Not all developers use Flurry’s tracking service, which is a given, but enough do that their data can’t be ignored. And they say 564 million Android devices were picked up by their servers as of April of this year. That’s far less impressive than 900 million, isn’t it?

When Apple reported their fiscal Q1 2013 (calendar Q4 2012) financial results, they said that they’ve sold over 500 million iOS devices. Similar to what I just said for Android, not all of those are currently in use, at least I hope not. Can’t imagine what life would be like if I had to use a 2007 iPhone in 2013.

Anyway, my point is that it took Android a while to catch up with iOS, and now that it has it appears to be growing at roughly the same rate as iOS, despite all the crazy hyperbole you read about Android owning 70% or more of the smartphone market. That number obviously doesn’t include tablets, which Apple ships more of in a quarter than ASUS or Acer or Samsung ship in any given year.