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The Math Behind Google’s New Android

June 13th, 2013 - Posted by admin

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Recent reports from Gartner, Android sold 144,20,300 units in the final quarter of 2012; however, the question is – does it really matter? Samsung are not particularly concerned about how many Android devices sell, they are only concerned about how many of their own Samsung devices are sold. Similarly, Amazon do not care how many Androids are sold, just how many help drive traffic to their website. The same can be said for Android developers, Google Play and a multitude of other  people making money from the Android platform.

The total number of Android units sold is likely not even remotely accurate. It is not really appropriate to lump all Android sales together, all this does is make the platform seem stronger that it actually is. Android does not cover one single entity and so total unit sales do not really mean anything and now it looks like Google agrees with this stance!

A Change In The Calculations

In a recent Google report, it emerged that the total number of Android devices using Android 4.1 to 4.2 increased to 25% from 16%. However, this is not as impressive as it may initially seem because the massive increase is largely down to a change in how Google are calculating those all important numbers. In the past, devices were counted whenever they checked in to any of Google’s servers, but now only visits to Google Play will be counted. Google believes that this will help to establish more accurate data by using only users who are engaged with the Android/Google Play ecosystem rather than every Android activation.

Spotting The Obvious Mistake In The Numbers

However, there are some inconsistencies in Google’s new math process. The previous total numbers of Android activations have not been recalculated using the new system. That means that data regarding total Android activations is calculated based on the old system, while data regarding individual versions of Android uses the new process. This means that the two totals will never balance with each other. In other words, while we might know the size of the slice of Android’s pie each version of the operating system represents, we do not have a clear representation of the overall size of the complete pie itself.

Data Designed To Conceal The Truth

It is impossible to count ‘Android’ as one single entity. This has been likened to considering the entire continent of Europe as one single country! This means that when using numbers as a proxy for operating system strength we really need to be using meaningful numbers. For example, we should compare the number of units running the latest iOS version with the umber running the latest Android system. Or perhaps all of the separate Android entities should be treated differently. What is certain is that all Android sales should not be lumped together, because Android is not one unified platform. This type of data should reveal information about a platform’s strength, but all these inconsistent numbers do is conceal Android’s possible weaknesses.

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