The growth rate for Android continues to accelerate.
Google says 850,000 new Android devices are now being turned on and activated each day, while the current number of active Android smartphones and tablets has topped 300 million. Also, the Android Market has just crossed the 13 billion apps downloads milestone.
At the Mobile World Congress, Android's Director of Product Development Hugo Barra says he expects hundreds of devices running the 4.0 mobile operating system — nicknamed Ice Cream Sandwich — to show up soon.
Barra dismisses the idea that it is taking a long time for Ice Cream Sandwich to show up across multiple devices. "If you look at the data, it's actually not taking that long," he says. "The first device came out (on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus) only a couple of months ago… The evolution of the operating systems, if you compared Froyo (version 2.2) to Gingerbread (version 2.3) — that was a small incremental change in comparison to the evolution from 2.3 Gingerbread to 4.0, which is Ice Cream Sandwich. It's quite a significant revamp at all levels."
The new operating system unifies the experience on tablets and smartphones. Barra also scoffs at the notion that having multiple versions of Android out there at any one time is confusing to consumers. "I don't think its confusion. I think its choice," he says. "What you'll see happening in 2012 is a new wave of Android experiences where manufacturers are going to focus on certain types of use cases."
By way of example, Barra cited the HTC One devices unveiled in Barcelona that focus on photography. "I don't think that there is a consumer issue with Android devices all being very different."