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Google: 500 million Android devices activated

Just before Apple debuts its next-gen iPhone, Google announces that people have activated half a billion Android devices. Also, 1.3 million new ones arrive each day.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland
2 min read
Hugo Bara, Android's director of product management, said the Jelly Bean statue is back on Google's lawn as he announced 500 million device activations.
Hugo Bara, Android's director of product management, said the Jelly Bean statue is back on Google's lawn as he announced 500 million device activations. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google won't be able to compete with the attention lavished on Apple for the launch of the sixth-generation iPhone, but it did announce the notable milestone late tonight of half a billion device activations.

"Today is a big day for Android... 500 million devices activated globally, and over 1.3 million added every single day," said Hugo Bara, Android's director of product management, in a Google+ post. It's not clear how many devices are replacing older ones, though.

Barra said in June at the Google I/O show that 400 million Android devices had been activated and that the rate was 1 million per day.

He also noted that the Jelly Bean statue, which commemorates Android 4.1, is back on the Google sculpture gallery that shows off the various dessert-themed versions of the mobile operating system. The statue had to go back into the shop for repairs shortly after its debut.

Android 4.1 ships with the Galaxy Nexus, a smartphone made by Samsung, and the Nexus 7, a tablet made by Asus, but not on much else yet.

Indeed, the transition to Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich is still grinding along slowly, with the earlier Android 2.3 aka Gingerbread still claiming 57 percent share of usage. Gingerbread is looking more and more like Windows XP: an operating system whose wide use means developers will have to support old technology for a long time. Ice Cream Sandwich has 20.9 percent of usage, now finally increasing steadily after months of little movement following its 2011 debut. Jelly Bean is at 1.2 percent, according to Google's measurements.

Updated at 3:22 a.m. PT to correct that 20.9 percent of Android usage today is with Android 4.0, according to Google's statistics.

Hugo Barra, Google's director of Android product management, announces Jelly Bean at Google I/O.
Hugo Barra, Google's director of Android product management, announces Jelly Bean at Google I/O. Stephen Shankland/CNET