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Over 900,000 Android devices activated every day, says Google's Rubin

The popularity of the Android OS continues grow, even though some of its backers are having a difficult time

Android continues to grow, with over 900,000 devices based on the OS now being activated every day, according to Andy Rubin, who heads up development of the smartphone operating system at Google.

That figure compares to around 500,000 devices per day at the end of June last year, and 850,000 per day at the end of February, according to Twitter messages from Rubin, who didn't elaborate on the split between smartphones, tablets and other device types.

First-quarter shipments of Android smartphones were up 145 percent on a year earlier, giving the OS, a global smartphone market share of 59 percent, according to IDC, which keeps track of units sold to the channel as opposed to devices activated by users.

However, all is not well in the Android camp. Last week, High Tech Computer (HTC) lowered its expected revenue for the second quarter due to lower-than-anticipated sales to Europe, and the delayed shipment and launch of certain products in the U.S., the company said.

Along with HTC, Sony Mobile, LG Electronics and Google-owned Motorola Mobility are all trying to find their place in a smartphone world increasingly dominated by Samsung Electronics and Apple.

Most of the growth, though, will happen in the market for cheap smartphones where the likes of ZTE and Huawei Technologies are pushing down prices. These new entrants are expecting lower profit margins, said Richard Kramer, managing partner at Arete Research, in a keynote speech during the recent Open Mobile Summit conference in London.

Smartphone sales will total between 750 million and 800 million units, or over US$230 billion by value during 2012, according to Kramer. However, Apple, Samsung Electronics and HTC are the only vendors making money, he said at the time.

Google's Android will still be the king of smartphone operating system's in 2016, but its market share will erode as Windows Phone takes off, according to a report from market research company IDC.

By the end of 2012, Android's smartphone market share will be 61 percent, but in four years its share will have dropped to about 53 percent, according to IDC.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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