Google I/O: Android stands at one billion active users and counting

Google I/O: Android stands at one billion active users and counting

Summary: Live from San Francisco, it's time to check in to see what Android upgrade or even wacky moonshot Google has prepared for the world this year.


SAN FRANCISCO---With more than one billion phones on track to ship annually, Android took center stage at the start of Google I/O 2014 on Wednesday morning.

Stepping out to a huge applause at Moscone West, Android and Chrome chief Sundar Pichai opened the annual, and now frequently sold-out, developer summit.

Pichai launched into listing loads of big numbers intended to impress attendees within the conference hall and beyond, starting by touting the global reach of the event. He declared at least one million people were watching via live-stream, notably at hosted events at Google offices in London and Lagos, Nigeria as well as at a designated location in Sao Paolo amid the World Cup.

With a subtle nod to recent backlash against Google over workforce gender gap demographics, Pichai also highlighted that "female participation" at Google I/O this year stands at 20 percent, up from eight percent the year prior.

However, despite being a developer conference, it became clear quickly Google had a product-heavy agenda set for event.

Focusing on 30-day active users globally, Pichai outlined that as activations double each year, Google is now at one billion active Android users and counting. He continued this figure translates to the following:

"Developers are delivering profound experiences on top of smartphones," Pichai reflected.

  • 20 billion text messages sent daily worldwide
  • 93 million "selfies" snapped each day
  • 1.5 trillion steps tracked per day
  • Phones are checked at least 100 billion times each day

"Developers are delivering profound experiences on top of smartphones," Pichai remarked.

With a brief nod at tablets, Pichai cited that Android tablets have grown to account for 62 percent of the global market share by June 2014, up from 46 percent in 2013 and 39 percent in 2012.

For the first time since launching Android with an open SDK, Google offered a preview of the upcoming L Developer Release, rolling out to attendees later today. The platform includes 5,000 new APIs, which Pichai suggested is possibly the largest for mobile or even "form factors beyond mobile."

Android developers will now be able to create seamless animations between virtually any activity and apps. The notifications tool set is also on deck for enhancements, specifically on the lockscreen with an emphasis on prioritizing notifications in an effort to give end users a "heads up."

The L Developer Preview should also boast some better runtimes, according to Google reps, designed to support 64-bit architectures and a cross-platform mix of processors. Google Maps on the Nexus 5, for example, should see pauses reduced from 10 milliseconds to just three to four milliseconds.

To take advantage of 64-bit, Google has a new set of APIs ready with no modifications required for apps written in Java.

For graphics and connectivity, Google is preparing an Android Extention Pack, promising "PC gaming graphics in your pocket," and Project Volta.

Google engineering director Dave Burke explained the latter's battery historian and saver functions, quipping how helpful they might be for users who "embark on a long hike or protest," a nod at a demonstrator who made her way to the keynote stage, protesting Google commuter buses and the related housing debate in the Bay Area.

Although Moscone West security might have appeared lax, Pichai argued that less than half a percent of Android users "ever run into any malware issue" while promising that more security and malware patches will continue to be delivered via Google Play Services.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Google Apps, Web development

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  • Does that make it?

    Does that make it the biggest spy network in the world? When has anyone had such direct access to a billion people's personal information along with an expressed intention to use it for profit?
    Buster Friendly
  • Google I/O: Android stands at one billion active users and counting

    One billion people tolerating app freezes and random reboots. Google should stop counting numbers and fix their mobile OS.
    • Not sure what phone or when you last used it...

      But I have had a Note 3 for almost a year and never had a reboot or an app freeze. What phone were you experiencing this on?
      • Bull.

        I find that extremely hard to believe. Android is known for its app freezes and random reboots. Not a day goes by where one of my coworkers aren't complaining about it.
        • Never, not even once have I had a reboot or app freeze.

          I am sorry you are so bitter... Must be tough to live like that.
          • I'm not bitter

            Just calling you out.
          • Great jokes, please continue writing new material!

            I'm so happy that you're here to entertain us with all your jokes! This forum needs them, to balance out the serious posts.
          • Loverock; it's the lies ...

            If you have to lie about Android to promote Windows, don't you think it just makes you - and Windows - look sad?
      • In my immediate circle...

        ...there are 2 iPhone 4s, 1 iPhone 5, 5 iphone5s, 3Samsung S4, 2S5, 2 HTC M7 and an M8.
        Since we all share our usage problems, i observe the following.
        Of the iPhones, the 4s is rock solid and the 5 and 5s suffer some HTML crashes probably memory related. No noticeable slow downs.
        The Samsung S4(s) have been flaky from the start - mine has had 3 new screens due to failures, all three get clogged down and need rebooting, the S5 camera app is flaky and the OS sometimes just goes to sleep for minutes at a time.
        Both HTC models are constantly being rebooted according to their users.
        Anecdotal, different usage patterns, different carriers etc but apart from the iPhone 4s, most seem to suffer various random effects.
        • More scientific study

          Android comes on top - not just in this study.
          • Ahem...

            I did explicitly say 'anecdotal' which means I am aware of the implications. Personally, I think the carriers have a lot to answer for since a visit to Germany recently transformed my phone like steroid abuse. :D
    • But according to most articles iOS crashes far more frequently than android

      Are you sure your coworkers are not on $30 kyocera phones. Sure android flagships are far better, but iOS is certainly far better than a $30 android device. So that may be your confusion

      Don't believe me. Just google "ios android crashes often" (I worded it in a way that the search is not biased as you can see). Or search it on bing also. I do development, and iOS is far less stable than android.
    • Maybe in your part of the world

      A recent study involving 30,000 requests per second in real-time from over 1 billion mobile users found that iOS 6 crashed 2.5% of the time, iOS 7 got better with a 2.1% crash rate, and iOS 7.1 is the most stable at 1.6%.
      Android's Gingerbread (2.3) suffered a mere 1.7% crash rate, whereas all flavours of Android 4.0 and higher had crash rates of a mere 0.7%. Doing the maths, iOS 7.1 crashed more than twice as often as any Android 4.x flavour.
      So, your conclusion is based on anecdotal "evidence" of how many phones, exactly? whilst this is a billion phone user study which shows results completely at odds to your "experience".

      I'll believe the results of the study, thanks. Oh, and my Samsung III has yet to "crash" or freeze or whatever, since I got it. But that's just anecdotal... safe to ignore.
  • To borrow a phrase...

    "Google I/O: Android stands at one billion active users and counting"

    Headline redefined: "One billion lemmings cannot be wrong!"