It appears Google is learning a lesson from Apple: mobility mean big bucks. The search giant told reporters Thursday Android could become “an accelerator” for the business. There are more than 130 million Android devices now, the company says.
“Our emerging high usage products can generate huge new businesses for Google in the long run, just like search,” CEO Larry Page said. Google activated 135 million Android devices — 35 million in just the past two months. Some 550,000 Android devices are activated each day — 50 million in the June quarter, Google claimed.
Although the Mountain, View Internet giant posted a 57 percent increase in Android activations, Apple is expected to announce 29 million iOS activations during the same quarter, for a 2 percent increase. But don’t let that gulf fool you, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told investors Friday.
“Apple’s numbers are deceivingly low given the shift in timing of the iPhone upgrade,” the analyst writes. If the iPhone 5 had shipped in June, iOS activations would have been up by around 20 percent, according to Munster. Instead, many expect Apple to unveil the iPhone 5 in August or September.
Munster also sees an Android-versus-iOS comparison unfair in other ways. First, the jump in Android activations is more a sign of overall growth in smartphone demand, something that will also benefit Apple.
Additionally, Android has the advantage of being available on multiple carriers. That could change later this year, if Apple announces new U.S. partners to supplement AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Reports suggest the Cupertino, Calif. firm could add Sprint, making the iPhone available from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, as well as Sprint-owned Virgin Mobile and AT&T-owned T-Mobile USA.
Finally, another current advantage for Android is its prevalence as a prepaid option in emerging markets. Although Apple hasn’t had much presence there, a deal bringing Virgin Mobile into the mix could suggest the iPhone maker’s wants a part of the valuable prepaid market. Despite that, Munster does not agree with some observers who expect Apple will offer a less-expensive iPhone.
What do you think? Is Android’s current lead over iOS permanent?