Android by the Numbers: 1.4 Billion Users Worldwide, 300 Million Using Lollipop Devices


It was not all Nexus at yesterday’s Google event. We got to hear some statistics from Google on the state of its mobile platform which just got updated to version 6, codenamed Marshmallow.

Here are the numbers:

  • Android has 1.4 billion users. These are 30-day active users i.e. monthly active users. At Google I/O back in May the figure stood at 1 billion users. This is an increase of 400 million users in just 4 months! Android’s closest competitor in the mobile space, Apple’s iOS is also said to have passed the 1 billion mark not by virtue of users but by the number of iDevices that have been sold since the first generation iPhone went on sale in mid 2007. It may be a few more years before iOS hits the magic billion figure.
  • Of the 1.4 billion, at least 20% are on the recent Android 5 Lollipop flavour. Android’s popularity is mostly because unlike competitors like iOS, it is meant for everyone. It runs on $50 smartphones as well as $900 ones. As a result, there tends to be a gap in how updates are rolled out. Software customizations by device makers and delays by middlemen such as carriers stand in the way of the availability of updates. Then there’s the issue of hardware capabilities. Most low-end smartphones don’t have hardware that can support newer Android releases thus remain stuck on older versions forever. Google is keen on undoing this through programs like Android One, pushing critical updates through the Google Play Services platform and being strict on what its partners can and cannot do but it will be a while before it gets there.
  • Android for Work, Google’s initiative to make Android mainstream at the workplace seems to have started off on a high footing with 10,000 companies signing up. The numbers can only go up. Long time enterprise darling BlackBerry is now releasing Android smartphones and with the Waterloo-based company partnering with Google for Android for Work on all devices, security, which is a key concern is addressed.
  • Google’s portable media streaming device, Chromecast, has surpassed the 20 million mark in unit sales globally. Chromecast just got updated yesterday and since it added support for popular music streaming Spotify, its popularity can only explode.