Google’s Android Market Share Explodes As It Expands Its Reach To Cars, Toys, Home Automation, Music & Movies – All In The Cloud

Reggie Middleton's picture

In continuing our ongoing observations of the “Androidifcation” of the mobile computing market, I bring you Comscore’s latest Q1 2011 tally. As you can see, Apple has pulled away from its handset competitors for the first quarter of 2011, and turned in amazing quarterly results as well. The smartphone edge was largely due to the iPhone launch on Verizon’s network:

Amazingly enough, despite Apple’s stellar performance, Google’s Android still managed to pull ahead significantly in market share.

Because Apple reaped the benefit of a 2nd major carrier, it appears that
the bulk of Google’s gains came at the expense of RIM, EXACTLY as we
told subscribers it would over the past year. Reference Blackberries Getting Blacked Out, Imitate Amateur Base Jumpers Sans Parachute!
I would like to put this into perspective for those who do not yet
fully grasp the value to Android to any tech, telecomm or media firm.
Google just started selling Android devices a tad over two years ago. As
of today, Google reached its 100 millionth Android activation, with 400,000 Android devices activated daily. That, my friends, is a truly impressive number – particularly when considering that there are only 1 billion personal computers
in use in the entire world. Android is the new personal computer OS of
choice, and it is already the equivalent of 10% of the entire universe
of PCs (that includes Windows & Mac). In addition, Android’s growth
and adoption rate is actually INCREASING despite this enormous base from
which to calculate from.  It one thing to feature 900% growth from 1%
market share, but to pull triple digit growth as the market share leader
is downright scary! Think about Google adding something as powerful as
the Windows franchise to its arsenal.  We certainly did – reference Google’s Q1 2011 Review: Part 2 Of My Comments On The Gross Misvaluation of Google and for subscribers, the Google forensic report (63 pg Google Forensic Valuation, to plug in your own assumptions see Google Valuation Model (pro and institutional)).

Android metrics as spouted at the Google I/O conference:

  • 36 OEMs,
  • 215 carriers,
  • 450,000 Android developers
  • Android has recently crossed its 100 millionth activation milestone, and is also growing at its fastest pace yet;
  • 400,000 devices activated each and every day.
  • There are now 200,000 Android applications in the Market,
  • which have accumulated a total of 4.5 billion installs,
  • at a rate which Google actually says is accelerating.

A few months ago, I stated that developers are losing out on a once in a lifetime opportunity by not taking advantage of the nascent ascent of Google:

  1. One Reason Why Software Developers & Tech Firms Should Pay Close Attention To Research Boutiques Such As BoomBustBlog
  2. Shorting Apple and Why Software Developers Can Make More Money On Android

Any developer or media concern that does NOT want access to 100 million customers and 400,000+ extra (and growing) EVERY day is literally out of their damn mind. That’s the scientific way of putting it. On a separate note, let’s discuss DISRUPTION!

A single OS for all touch screen devices, beating all competitors to market?

Meanwhile, Google is announcing another major update to its mobile OS, from Endgadget: Google Ice Cream Sandwich coming in Q4 2011 to smartphones and tablets alike

“One OS that runs everywhere.” There you have it, folks! Google intends to meld its Honeycomb tablet wares and Gingerbread smartphone software into one delicious Ice Cream Sandwich. Maybe that’s why the “sandwich” bit is in the name? Either way, it’ll be a universal OS that runs on everything from teeny tiny Android phones to 10-inch tablets and will intelligently adapt to each form factor with things like a resizable status bar. Some other fancy new additions were demonstrated during Google’s I/O 2011 keynote, including face-tracking and camera focus shifting based on voice recognition, but most of the salient details remain under lock and key for now. We’ll be sure to dig around Mountain View campus fridges in search for more clues about the next major iteration of Android.

This iteration will probably be released right after Apple releases iOS 5, which is its attempt to catch up with the current Android OS capabilities. 450,000 developers, with probably a quarter million churning out highly desirable and quite free code/beta testing at XDA Developers alone, is very, very difficult to compete against – not to mention Google’s army of 10,000 or so developers paid on the books.

Google is also using Android to displace the desktop bound (but hopefully soon to be freed to the clouds) iTunes ecosystem with a totally cloud-based, device independent, app/movie/music ecosystem of its own. This is not vaporware, its all running live right now!

Shaking up the movie industry in a way that could make Netflix investors nervous…

Android Market launches movie rentals, thousands of titles available to your PC, phone or tablet

Google just announced movie rentals in the Android Market at its I/O conference. Chris from the Android services team just hit the stage at Moscone and demonstrated renting movies on the Android Market from your phone, tablet or PC with a single click. “Pinning” mirrors the experience with apps and books, you can select it on your PC and download to the device in the background for offline viewing. Movies are live in the market right now, support on all Android 2.2 or higher devices is expected “in a couple of weeks” and tablets will get support bundled with their upgrade to Android 3.1. On the PC, it ties back to the recently expanded YouTube rental service with the same restrictions (30 days to watch, 24 hour window once you start watching) and pricing, making that per-movie VOD price a bit easier to swallow with its cross-platform support and we even spied a few HD selections for $4.99.

Threatening to disprupt the TV industry, once again. Will they succeed? Google TV getting Android 3.1 and Market this summer; Sony, Vizio, Samsung and Logitech onboard

As expected, Google just announced at I/O that the Google TV will be upgraded to Android 3.1 this summer (existing devices will get an OTA upgrade) with access to the Market coming “soon.” According to Mike Cleron from the Android Development team, developers will be able to use the vanilla Honeycomb SDK to build apps for Google TV, and also announced hardware partners will include Samsung, Vizio, Logitech and Sony (as seen after the break) — no word on previously mentioned possibles like Toshiba, Sharp or LG. There were also no details on a switch from Intel to ARM even though we heard whispers of that at CES, we’ll check in to the keynote tomorrow to see if there’s any more revealed on hardware changes for the platform.

Not threatening, but actually shaking up the Music Industry! Google Music Beta to stream 20,000 songs for free, official!

Google launches a free (for now) cloud based music storage, streaming and download service that will

… essentially mimic the music locker functionality of Amazon’s Cloud service, albeit without the ability to sell songs direct to consumers.

Interestingly enough

… Google’s plans to launch a more feature-complete service were derailed when discussions with the labels broke down. According to Rosenberg, “A couple of the major labels were less focused on the innovative vision that we put forward, and more interested in an unreasonable and unsustainable set of business terms.” So, rather than putting the service on hold, Google [launched] its music service with the ability to store up to 20,000 of your own uploaded songs for free which you can then stream over the web to your desktop or Android phone or tablet — any device that supports Flash (don’t worry iOS users, your time will come). Amazon’s service, by comparison, offers just 5GB of free storage for about 1,200 songs stored at a mediocre bitrate. Google will also best Amazon with a feature that automatically creates playlists. Google expects to roll out the service to its US users within “weeks” with Music Beta invites going out later today to Verizon Xoom owners (others will be able to sign up at Keep it right here because we’ll be bringing you the announcement live. There’s a simple presentation with artists, albums, and easy playlist creation. You can manually create them, or there’s a feature called “Instant Mix” that will make you a playlist based on any single song. It’ll automagically pick 25 different tracks to build a “truly ingenious mix.” You know, kind of like another, similarly intelligent service. All of this syncs to the cloud, which means no wires needed to download anything. But, more importantly, songs can be cached locally. You can pick any song, album, or playlist to download onto storage, at an unknown quality. It’s the same pinning idea that’s in the new movies feature. That and more is demonstrated in the video below. The service is launching in beta today, allowing 20,000 songs, and it’ll be free — “at least while it’s in beta.” Also, the updated music app is available now, which will work with any music on your phone and any phone running Android 2.2 or above.

You can see a comparison chart of leading streaming music vendors at Endgadget, the source for this IO information.

Pushing the Android OS into the home!

Lighting Science demos Android @ Home bulbs, promises dead-simple home automation (hands-on)

Endgadget: Lighting Science is leading the Android @ Home charge… Company representatives noted that this Google-led mesh networking solution — which beams out commands on the 900MHz frequency band — is the first HA solution that’s truly designed to be ultra-low-cost and easy to implement. Compared to Z-Wave and Zigbee, there’s far less technical expertise needed to start automating things in your home, and there’s no need to take out a second mortgage to open your garage door with your handset. Oh, and there’s zero chance anything fails due to congestion on the 2.4GHz band.
We pressed the company on pricing details, and it stated that the wirelessly enabled light shown above would be priced “at parity” with the non-wireless counterpart available today. At last check, that puts a single bulb at around $30. In order to make these kinds of devices compatible with existing Android phones and tablets, a couple of WiFi-to-900MHz adapters will be available. From Lighting Science alone, you’ll soon see a light switch, security lamp and a regular wall wart on sale to handle the transfers. In other words, you can pick up a dirt-cheap plug, toss it in your guest room, and immediately give your Nexus One the ability to dictate Android @ Home products. Not too shabby, but what does this mean for the broader industry?

Hasbro’s experimental Nexus-powered robot toy hands-on at Google I/O (video)

Endgadget: Are you ready to welcome our experimental toy robot overlords? They’re adorable, and they’re taking no prisoners here at Google I/O. Hasbro and Google are collaborating to bring these little critters to life by docking a Nexus S brain to an exoskeleton-like body containing a battery, a Bluetooth radio and a bunch servomotors (the kind you find in RC models). The battery powers the dock and provides additional juice to the phone which in turn controls the servos via Bluetooth. Where things get interesting is that these toy robots don’t just act based on a set of rules programmed into the Nexus S, but actually react to their environment (using the handset’s sensors, front-facing camera, and touchscreen) and communicate with Google’s cloud services over WiFi (for facial and object recognition) in order to enhance their behavior. Shake them and they get dizzy, rub their display and they get happy / angry, show them a Decepticon card and they cower away. They will also take a picture of you, decide if you are friend or foe, and respond accordingly. Predictably, Hasbro is sticking with gender stereotypes by providing basic male and female “personalities,” complete with accessorized docks.

Dual 8 mp cameras brings the 3rd Android phone to sport 720p HD 3D: Sharp Aquos Phone SH-12C has 3D cameras, qHD resolution, Gingerbread filling

The HTC EVO 3D and LG Optimus 3D just got themselves a new buddy in the three-dee picture-taking arena in the shape of Sharp’s Aquos Phone SH-12C. We know, that name just rolls off the tongue. What’s remarkable about the 12C is that the dual cameras on its back go all the way up to 8 megapixels (to the EVO 3D’s 5), which will be creating quite the tasty workload for the 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 chip contained within. A qHD (540 x 960) screen resolution also keeps up with HTC’s latest, though the 4.2-inch, 3D-capable display on the Aquos offers more pixel density and less in absolute real estate. Android 2.3, replete with some evident customizations, will serve as the OS, and 720p video recording in 3D will also be available when Sharp launches the 12C in Japan on May 20th. Rest of the world? Well, we can dream about it right now.

The highest performance chipset to date has been optimized for Android only!

ZiiLabs outs dual-core ZMS-20 and quad-core ZMS-40 for Honeycomb tablets, clocks ‘em at 1.5GHz

For now, the HTC Flyer can console itself for not having a second core (like all the other guys) by noting that its 1.5GHz clock speed is faster than any other tablet. Pretty soon, however, the choice between speed and core count might not have to be made at all, as ZiiLabs has just announced new dual-core and quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 systems-on-chip that run at the same 1500MHz speed as the Flyer. Dubbed ZMS-20 and ZMS-40, respectively, they’re taking the ZMS-08 legacy of focusing on HD video decoding even further, while also throwing in specific optimizations for Android Honeycomb tablets. The earlier-gen SOC was only picked up by parent company Creative, who inserted it in its ZiiO tablets, so let’s hope the new silicon proves compelling enough for us to see it in more manufacturers’ slates.

Disrupting the Automotive market

Google’s Prediction API lets Fords learn all about you, tell you where to go

…Google revealed plans to help Ford automate our automobiles. Android smartphones that drive your car!

You see, our driving habits affect the gas mileage we get, and if our cars could predict our preferred travel patterns they could optimize powertrain performance to max out our MPGs. That’s why the Blue Oval Boys plan to use Google’s Prediction API to learn our driving habits and combine that data with real time traffic info to make its cars increasingly efficient. The system isn’t yet ready for showrooms, as there is work to be done securing the personal data and location awareness information it collects, but hopefully it won’t be long before every new Ford can help us get from here to there with minimal fuel consumption. Here’s hoping William Daniels is the one doling out the directions.

Android-powered watches: Fossil Meta Watch wrists-on at Google I/O (video)

Google tomorrow will announce sales of the new Chrome laptop in a $20 a month “student package” that combines both hardware and online services, according to a senior Google executive.
The product is almost certainly a precursor to an enterprise offering. Google Apps, an online product with features similar to Microsoft Office (word processing, spreadsheets, calendars, and other productivity software) is sold to business for $50 a year. An inexpensive Chrome laptop could be added to that for a small premium, somewhat the way mobile phones are sold below cost when tied to calling plans.
Having students try out the product — at a price cheaper than buying a laptop for school — amounts to a shakedown cruise for the eventual product. If successful, it also seeds the market for future demand, as students move into the workforce with expectations of working in cloud-based systems.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are banging on our doors to get something like this,” the executive said. The browser-based office productivity system may also promise businesses more control over what employees do online. Google offers ways companies can set where employees go, and how they can access internal data.

All of what you see above is what was announced in JUST THE FIRST DAY OF Google I/O. Imagine what the week will bring.

Of course you wouldn’t have to imagine if you’ve been following my
writings, since much of this was written on the wall years ago. See A Realistic Look At The Success Of Google’s Investment History.

Recent commentary on this topic:
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illyia's picture

2 kewl 4 skewl, Reggie!

thx R.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


Letting Google control my cell phone is one thing. But driving my car is an entirely different matter. Yet Google wants preliminary approval to operate self-driving cars in Nevada. Where does it end? And will I need to ask Google for permission to drive to work one morning rather than sit in back and leave the driving to them? :>)

Oh the insanity.

Google, a pioneer of self-driving cars, is quietly lobbying for legislation that would make Nevada the first state where they could be legally operated on public roads.


The two bills, which have received little attention outside Nevada’s Capitol, are being introduced less than a year after the giant search engine company acknowledged that it was developing cars that could be safely driven without human intervention.

Saxxon's picture

Unless travelling in the Empty Quarter, I will never own anything that tracks my location.  You can have your toys.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

Appreciate your work Reggie, but fail to share your enthusiasm for Google as a benign "do no evil", life enhancing corporation.

The system isn’t yet ready for showrooms, as there is work to be done securing the personal data and location awareness information it collects,

Yeah... I'll bet

Reggie Middleton's picture

THERE IS no such thing as a benign corporation. These are inanate shells owned and ran by people for profit.

moneymutt's picture

but I'm worried, their expenses are up :)

Looks like they are going all in and many fronts and likely have the money and talent to do well on most fronts.

MS fell into the role of standard setter, Google had the vision and has done the work and risked the money to be the new standard...sure all kinds of guys will be nipping at their heels, Apple, Windows/Nokia, Bing, Amazon etc....but if 2/3 of this stuff works, they'll be good.

They thing that would nail their success is if they have one person close to power than gets customer service/design detail. Google growth from search makes them a little dull on the retail gadget end, but all their partnering is filling that in for them.

Its likely the Ice Cream Sandwich will incorporate a lot of what they partners did themselves to Android..and the partners won't even complain

falak pema's picture

match of the century is on!