Thinking Differently About Android Numbers

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John Kirk took a look at Android numbers from IDC and a new approach to measuring Android activations by Google.  Neither data set was found to be satisfactory, and Mr. Kirk's opinion is that Google’s New Android Math Doesn’t Add Up. He also called for firms like IDC to stop counting all Android sales as "Android" sales, and instead to count only those sales that contribute to the platform as a whole, and to divide out Android variants in China, Kindle Fire sales, and perhaps even Android devices running Facebook Home. It's a very good read.


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Many thanks, Bryan.

I think John Kirk’s is only the most recent voice of what appears to be an emerging trend amongst tech bloggers and analysts in the past few weeks. I think the announcement of FB Home brought this to a head for many analysts, as what FB have done effectively carves off Google’s data and revenue stream and diverts these into FB’s. I believe the word being thrown around most regarding what FB did to Google’s Android OS is ‘pwn’. Whether pwned or poached, it brings to a head that this is not one single, happy and unified system. Amazon have already forked Android and Samsung show every sign of preparing to do the same thing.

In a nod to NASA’s approach to looking for signs of past life on Mars, It thus makes sense to follow the water, in this case, the money or the data or both data and money, because that is what defines the ecosystem and its ownership.

It will be interesting to see if analysts begin to break these markets out, but in order to them to do so in meaningful ways, Google will need to be more forthcoming on those numbers for its own Play store. That could be a tight race with the onset of the next ice age.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Divide out Facebook Home? This is just a phenomenal misunderstanding of what Android is and how it works and what Facebook did. Many of these analysts seem to think that Android is just an iOS knock-off, therefore it has to be evaluated like iOS, where one company is in control. Not so. The thing that made Android such a force was that nobody was in total control of it, so companies could come along, leverage and contribute, and have something to sell, even without permission.

The analyst reaction to Facebook Home is a huge disconnect. Is anyone old enough to remember Steve Jobs at WWDC inviting developers to write their own Finders and Docks for a nascent Mac OS X? It’s the same deal. Home screen and Launcher on Android are just apps. Facebook looked at the popularity of home screen replacements on the platform (tens of millions of downloads) and threw the dice on extending the metaphor.


Google has always played loose with Android numbers to the point they blatantly lie about them.
Of course Android IS under Google’s control as it is the most closed “open source” project in history.  They can, will, and have sued people for suing it in ways they don’t like.
Google does not allow contributions to Android source making it effectively not open source.
Google does not allow access to Android code that interacts with hardware.  You can only use the api.
Goggle will sue you if your for Android and allow any Google services on it.
Amazing how many people who should know better have bought into google fairy tale about Android being open source.  I guess thats what happens when you buy an Android phone.  You become invested in the malarkey Google spews while they are doing everything possible to capture your personal data and sell it.
Android phones are not a product.  You are the product.

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